StrategicRISK  caught up with David Epstein, a new non-executive board member at the Institute of Risk Management, to get his take on the top risks facing organisations today

What are the top risks that keep you up at night?

Day to day, I’m primarily focused on managing financial risks.


They benefit from a wide range of tools, processes and products that can support good risk identification, measurement, management, monitoring and reporting.

The risks that tend to keep me up at night are the ones that are harder to address directly and potentially more existential in nature such as climate change where the frameworks and processes are still very much in development.

What is the one thing you think the risk management industry needs to improve on?

I’m passionate about raising the general level of understanding of risk management outside of the profession.

The ability to weigh up risk and reward or the cost-benefit of mitigating actions is something that we would all benefit from being able to more reasonably debate in decisions that affect us all.

How can we make the risk management profession more appealing to young graduates?

More online short courses in bite-size chunks can be a gateway to deeper education and qualifications over time.

Risk management as a profession has the particular advantage that it develops transferable skills that can support a broad career across a wide range of industries. We can do more to emphasise these benefits.

What is your ‘one key rule of risk management’?

It’s a bit of a cliché but I have always told my team to “hope for the best but prepare for the worst…”

What insurance/ risk headline would you most like to see?

It’s frustrating that risk tends to hit the headlines when things go wrong.

I’m sure we would all like to see more coverage of good risk management leading to great outcomes with no drama.

If I had to write a headline for the article though, perhaps it could be “Tails of the unexpected!”

A new role

The IRM has appointed David Epstein as a new non-executive director to its board.

David is the group ALM & treasury director at Aviva. He has over 20 years of experience advising corporates, public sector and financial institutions across Europe and North America on strategic risk management.

Whilst at J.P. Morgan, he was part of the team that developed the innovative LifeMetrics platform for longevity risk management.

He holds a DPhil in Mathematical Finance from Oxford University and served for a number of years as a visiting research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

IRM says that his deep understanding of enterprise risk management aligns perfectly with its mission to advance risk management practices and empower professionals worldwide.

Stephen Sidebottom, IRM Chair said. “With David’s wealth of experience and industry expertise, IRM is poised to strengthen its position as a global leader in the provision of risk management education, training and thought leadership.

”This appointment reflects our ongoing commitment to… equipping risk management professionals with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate today’s complex business landscape”.

David Epstein added: “The IRM has a critical role to play through education and thought leadership in meeting the challenge of managing risks in an increasingly complex and uncertain environment.

“I am honoured to join the IRM’S board of directors and look forward to collaborating with my esteemed colleagues to further elevate the field of risk management and drive positive change in our industry.”