July 05, 2011

More than half of the financial services executives surveyed in Accenture's new global risk survey believe that managing risk is critical to enabling long-term profitable growth.

Among the C-suite executives from 397 global companies Accenture surveyed, those in banking and capital market firms indicated a strong focus on the area of risk management, particularly in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Accenture found that, of the 10 industries it surveyed, financial services were most likely to have in place an existing risk management program, and that most financial companies expect spending in the area to increase going forward.

In retail banks the top three priorities in risk management were: To improve credit risk management (83 percent), capital adequacy (83 percent) and external fraud monitoring (76 percent).

"The best companies are not just improving risk management; they are using it to gain competitive advantage as they integrate their risk function and include it in strategic planning for a more proactive approach to decision making," said Steve Culp, managing director of the Accenture Risk Management consulting service line. "As a result, new business opportunities are being pursued with a clearer view of the potential upside and downside, and executives are better able to engage in contingency planning to respond more effectively when risks become issues."

Currently some 79 percent of financial services firms have a chief risk officer, and in those that do, 99 percent say the CRO reports directly to the CEO.