Risk report participants speak about Thailand’s major challenges

When asked to name the major risks faced by Thailand in 2014, the director of governance, risk management and compliance at grocery and general merchandising retailer Big C Supercenter, Phatchada Muenthong, points to three issues, all related to his country’s political problems.

“External environment, which includes political instability, change in

government policies, and economic instability,” he says.

The managing director of JLT Thailand Andrew Minnitt (pictured) agrees that ongoing political instability in the country is making it incredibly difficult for risk managers and business owners accurately to forecast performance and future risks.

“This weighs heavily on their minds when it comes to considering production volumes and feedback to customers and their markets,” Minnitt says.

“It also means that the finance teams need to closely watch exposures to foreign currencies and the effect such gains and losses might have on the company’s performance.”

The managing director of Howden Broking Group’s retail businesses in Asia, V. Harikes, also puts political uncertainty at the top of his risk list, pointing out that Thailand has suffered from recurrent political instability since 2006.

“The Red Shirt riots in 2010 are still fresh in everyone’s minds following the large losses caused to business and tourism,” Harikes says.

“Political divisions have come to the forefront again in recent months. This

could intensify as the succession to King Rama IX (86 and in poor health) approaches.”

Beyond the political, other factors influencing decisions of major corporates operating in Thailand include supply chain risk, reputation/brand damage risk, foreign exchange risk and natural catastrophe risk.

For further details, go to our Asia Risk Report hub and download the latest Thailand country report.