More than one-third of the risk managers are involved in their company’s digital transformation journey, according to a preview of Ferma’s European Risk Manager Survey

Demand for sustainability, good corporate behaviour and rapid digitalisation are leading to profound changes in organisations and the risk manager’s role,

These were the words of Jo Willaert, president of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA), on opening this year’s seminar in Antwerp.

“The risk manager can be a co-pilot for the board and top management in this transformation,” he said.

Willaert stated that when it comes to digital transformation, we are seeing growing awareness of the value that professional risk management can add. “More than one-third of the risk managers who responded to the FERMA 2018 European Risk Manager Survey are already involved in the transformation of their organisations, including analysing risks linked to the development of new technologies. The relationship between risk management and IT, which was under-developed two years ago, is now reaching first-tier level.” These data are preliminary findings of the 2018 Survey which FERMA will publish on 26 November.

He said: “In terms of cyber risk, we are starting to find our way forward from the prophesies of cybergeddon to a situation where it is a manageable risk. Yes, it is an evolving and difficult risk, but one that we can approach with good risk management methods.”

He adds: “In Europe, we see that organisations need to be sustainable,” he said. “This term – sustainable – can have different meanings, often linked with climate change. It can mean that organisations build their resilience to the effects of climate change and manage other environmental risks. Through innovation, they can also help to mitigate climate change and reduce its impact on the community.

“But sustainability is not just a green issue. It can also apply to good corporate behaviour as a whole, because companies depend on the acceptability of their practices to continue developing and prospering. Society is putting pressure on companies to disclose activities like their employment practices and human rights, diversity and avoidance of bribery and corruption, as well as their environmental record.”

Willaert emphasised the importance of education, one of the themes of his FERMA presidency, and told the delegates that the aim of the seminar was to help give them a good sense of direction as a co-pilot for the journey of transformation that is now taking place.