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​Four vital skills for Risk Management professionals

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago
  • Author:by MERJE

Risk Management is a broad term. It covers everything from the technical nuances of quantitative risk, to the ever-evolving threats of digital risk, to the fundamental frameworks of operational risk, and a lot more in between.

Even just focusing on the financial services industry, businesses battle with a multitude of financial and non-financial risks on a daily basis, which is why there is such a variety of career paths available in this sector.

Risk Management professionals are vital to the success of any organisation as they identify, predict, monitor, manage and reduce the risks that challenge companies’ operation and growth.

In this respect it is an excellent career path to embark upon because, no matter what the market does, there will always be a requirement to mitigate risks.

And although there is a wide range of risk functions that keep a business ticking over, there are certain core skills which a person should hone in order to succeed on whatever risk path they choose. We’ve broken some of them down here:

Commercial Awareness

The risk framework you and your team put in place will affect every other department in the business. This is why it’s vital for you to develop a broader awareness of the business and the industry you’re in, so that you can understand how the decisions you make impact the overall organisation, its operations and its future ambitions.

Keeping tabs on industry developments as a whole is also a vital skill. In financial services and banking particularly, organisations such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and more are continuously developing and updating regulations which you need to keep on top of to ensure your business is operating compliantly.

Negotiation & Influence

Risk job adverts and role descriptions often contain a point along the lines of “promote a risk aware culture within the business”, but what does this actually mean?

As a risk professional, it is not only your job to monitor and manage the risks within your business, but to encourage the wider workforce to do so as well. You could develop the best risk policies and strategies in the world but they won’t have any impact if no one is upholding them.

Furthermore, we already know that the risk frameworks you put in place will affect many other business functions, so it’s important to communicate and negotiate with them to agree on mutually beneficial outcomes. Risk policies, strategies and processes that are put in place without having buy-in from other teams will fall at the first hurdle – implementation.

Tech Savvy

Every industry is becoming more digitally-focused because advancing the technological frameworks which underpin business operations has huge benefits, from being cost effective and time efficient to delivering excellent profitable growth.

With that in mind, the modern risk professional must have some level of savviness with technology as you’ll be implementing risk policies, strategies and frameworks around digital products and services.

If you’re in the early stages of your career, it’s best to begin with a STEM degree, and depending on the branch of risk you’re looking into, it can be very beneficial to familiarise yourself with a variety of tools and technologies, such as programming languages like SAS, R and Python.

Know your Goals

As we’ve mentioned, Risk Management is a broad area. Therefore, it’s important to think about what direction you want to take your career in and work on your skills accordingly.

If you’re more interested in the major banks, established FS institutions and organisations with big workforces, your risk responsibilities are going to be narrower, meaning it can be more advantageous to develop a highly specialist, niche set of skills.

These larger firms have more resource, meaning they have teams for particularly specific business areas. This allows industry professionals to build a career on being a true expert in one product, risk-type or discipline, like collections strategy design, commercial mortgages, or 1LOD risks.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a career with start-ups and SMEs, these businesses have much less resource and therefore rely on only one or two people within the risk area to cover every aspect within it.

These professionals, sometimes classed as Enterprise Risk experts, will have been exposed to many different business areas, teams and functions throughout their careers so that their broad skillset and knowledgebase can be applied to the many different risk problems and situations that come up for SMEs.

Another thing we see in start-up and SME hiring is the desire for combined risk and compliance professionals who can lead the overall governance/regulatory function, so dabbling in Compliance when you can could be a great benefit to your career as well.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to discuss your risk management career path in more detail, from the best qualifications to pursue to which companies are hiring right now, get in touch with our Risk Management team.

They cover permanent and interim opportunities throughout the UK, from mid-senior to C-suite and executive level.

This includes operational risk, enterprise risk, regulatory risk, liquidity risk, investment risk, prudential risk, credit risk, quantitative risk, market risk, IT risk and more.