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Governance tops Australasian risk concerns


SYDNEY, Australia— Corporate governance tops the list of Australasian risk concerns for the second year running, according to a survey from Aon Australia/Pacific, part of Chicago-based brokerage Aon Corp.

"The key risk concern this year — corporate governance — reflects the sizeable regulatory burden currently facing Australian and New Zealand organizations and the heightened focus on directors and executives," said Ross Castle, Aon Australia's national manager client research and development, in a statement.

"The impact of the Australian Stock Exchange Best Practice Recommendations on Corporate Governance, the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley, and the introduction of International Financial Reporting Standards, as well as a myriad of other regulatory and compliance obligations is top of mind for Australian and New Zealand executives this year," he said.

Mr. Castle added that, "the challenge for directors and executives however, is to avoid becoming so risk averse that they are strangled by compliance, as this results in a lack of innovation and a decrease in organizational performance."

Aon's 2006/7 Australasian risk management and total cost of insurable risk survey found that corporate governance has moved up to first place from sixth in 2003/4. Systems (technological, information management and disaster recovery) and human resources (staff attraction and retention, employee injuries and absenteeism) rounded off the top three of respondents' concerns.

The report found that risk management has become an integral part of business life, with a third of respondents to the survey having a chief risk officer, and 94% saying their boards are "actively involved in the approach to risk management, either through reviewing and approving risk management policies and systems, or in participating in an evaluation of major business risks." But the survey also found that less than half the respondents employ an enterprise-wide approach to assessing and evaluating their major risks.

A summary of the report is available at