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Corporate risk management focus rises but effectiveness lags: Analysis

Corporate risk management focus rises but effectiveness lags: Analysis

Two in three business executives say their company's focus on risk management has increased since the 2008 financial crisis, but just one in 10 say their executive management is highly effective in creating a strong risk management culture, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The study, by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and Zurich Financial Services Ltd., surveyed 1,419 executives worldwide and found that 42% of companies with 10,000 or more employees have a chief risk officer vs. 11% three years ago.

Respondents were asked to indentify the risk management capabilities they consider most critical to the performance of their organization and their company's success in achieving them.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said their company performed well at linking risk information to strategic decision-making, while the same percentage said they consider their companies successful at embedding a risk-aware culture at all levels. Thirty percent said their companies performed well at embedding risk management practices and responsibilities within strategy and operations.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said their organizations performed well at ensuring that all decisions remain within the organization's risk tolerance, while the same percentage said their companies were successful at driving risk-mitigation activities and proactively indentifying current and emerging risks.

Participants in the survey, "Risk Management in a Time of Global Uncertainty,” also were asked to indentify the top 10 risks that have risen most in significance over the past three years.

Natural disasters were cited by 89%; continued slow recovery were cited by 60%; and human resources issues, such as talent retention and acquisition, were cited by 56%.

Fifty percent of respondents said brand reputation had grown in significance over the past three years, while 49% cited business continuity planning, 48% legal risks and 46% new regulations/more enforcement.

Capital scarcity was cited as a risk that had grown in importance by 45% of respondents, disease or pandemics were cited by 43%, and electronic/data communications/information security risks were cited by 42%.