What Does the Future Hold for Operational Risk Functions?

Renee Patu
July 11, 20193 mins read

Tougher economic conditions, increased regulatory pressure and regimes, disruptive technology, dwindling revenue streams and changing consumer behaviours have seen an increased need for organisational problem solving, loss prevention and innovation - all of which have led to risk management taking a substantially more prominent role in organisations.

Business leaders have looked to their risk teams to increase their defensive strategies to safeguard the organisation against these challenges. However, increased legislative powers on behalf of the regulators, the introduction of artificial intelligence, and the need to innovate and compete has also seen risk play a more visible role within all levels of organisations as facilitators working with the front line of the business.  

These challenges have presented new opportunities for operational risk professionals as businesses have recognised they need to:

  • Improve the all-round capability of their risk advisory teams to work as true business partners and assist with the development of new commercial and sustainable revenue streams. 
  • Improve technologies to deliver insightful information and customised valuation tools for better decision making and control. 
  • Develop a robust enterprise risk management framework which covers end-to-end product lifecycle, to ensure risk is managed appropriately and consistently across the entire organisation.  
  • Embed risk management at all levels of an organisation.
  • Increase risk assurance to ensure that appropriate and accurate controls are in place and remain effective and relevant. 
  • Use data analytics to apply a more predictive approach to risk.

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There is no doubt that this period of transformation and heightened awareness of the value that effective risk management can deliver has directly correlated to increased hiring - through the build out of risk teams from both a BAU and project perspective, and a shift in the profiles of risk professionals businesses have looked to employ.

What will be interesting to see over the coming years as operational risk moves into the mainstream of every business, is whether more organisations will follow in the footsteps of functions such as finance:- whereby transactional / process oriented tasks have either been off-shored or brought together in a shared services function, leaving only the commercially focused / advisory roles in the business. It could also be anticipated that as operational risk reaches maturity within organisations, its successful implementation will naturally lead to a reduction in the sizes of assurance and controls teams.

So whilst we are witnessing a strong demand for certain skill sets in risk management - namely, stakeholder engagement, strategic thinking, quantitative and modelling skills, projects experience and predictive risk analysis - there may well be some roles that diminish in their necessity, or could be performed from a cheaper cost base if not directly involved with the business. 

What do you think? How different do you think the operational risk career landscape will look in the future?  

Renee Patu's picture
Consultant | Risk & Compliance