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Financial executives rate top challenges through 2009

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Competition, supply chain disruption and property-related risks are the three biggest threats that companies face through 2009, according to financial executives who participated in a study commissioned by Factory Mutual Insurance Co.

"Managing Business Risk Through 2009 and Beyond," released last week, found that 62% of the executives expect competition-related risk to increase through 2009, while only 4% expect it to decrease, according to the Johnston, R.I.-based insurer, which does business as FM Global.

Twenty-four percent of the respondents expect supply chain risk to increase through 2009, while only 8% expect it to decrease, the study said. However, when it comes to property-related risks, a higher percentage of respondents--10%--expects such risk to decrease rather than increase--7%--through 2009.

The survey, which was based on the responses of 500 executives in North America and Europe, also found that a majority of the respondents--56%--say that their biggest risk management challenge through 2009 will be getting adequate resources of time, budget and personnel.

"After that, they worry about attaining organizational consistency--being able, that is, to apply the same risk management standards and processes throughout the enterprise," according to the survey. That concern was cited by 43% of the respondents.

"Because financial executives indicate they expect having trouble finding the time, budget and people necessary to implement or maintain a strong risk management program, senior management must demonstrate leadership in championing and funding this initiative," according to the report.

"Justifying the commitment should not be difficult. As the financial executives surveyed for this report agree, the number one consequence of poor risk management is loss of competitiveness. By implementing an effective risk management program, companies protect their ability to compete. Nothing is more fundamental to business success."

Emerging risks

When asked to pinpoint emerging risks, the respondents cited changes in competition, emerging government and regulatory activity, and price volatility as their top concerns.

The companies surveyed had annual revenue of at least $500 million.

Additional information on the study is available at www.fmglobal.com.