Exactly 12 months since FERMA announced it would develop a European certification programme of competence for risk managers and a launch date is in sight. StrategicRISK details the programme and its significance for risk managers in Europe


When FERMA announced last year that its board members had voted to proceed with creating a European certification programme of competence for risk managers, the industry was all ears.

It was an idea that risk advisors first heard about at the FERMA seminar in Versailles, France in 2012. The association told delegates that it wanted to investigate the feasibility of creating a certificate, and a working group was established to do just that.

But it would be another year before further details were announced or indeed a decision from FERMA made as to whether it would proceed with creating a certificate.

So when the European risk management federation finally announced at its biannual forum in Maastricht last year that it had been given approval from its member associations, the industry wanted to know more.

How would FERMA certify risk managers? What does a European certification programme look like? Who would be eligible? What are the benefits?

With a keen audience to please, FERMA was quick to flesh out the details – 12 months after the Maastricht announcement, a framework is almost finalised, a launch date is in view and further details are set to be announced in the next two days here in Brussels.

Education and experience

The certificate, branded European Certified Risk Manager, will be open to applications from individual risk managers and organisationswith risk management training programmes in spring/summer 2015.

The accolade will act as a benchmark against which risk management competence, gained through education and experience, will be measured and awarded.

The metrics will come in the form of four pillars, namely knowledge, experience, ethics and continuing professional development.

Risk managers can apply for two separate certificates: ‘FERMA certification passport’, awarded to risk managers with a foundation in risk and insurance; and ‘FERMA advanced’ for those with more experience. The former will recognise qualifications such as diplomas and degrees in certain fields of risk management and the latter will recognise on-the-job, professional experience.

To be eligible, risk managers will also need to prove that they have undertaken continuous professional development (CPD) in a 12-month period before submitting their application. CPD points will have to be gained in all three areas: structured learning (teaching or delivering a presentation); semi-structured learning (attending conferences, roundtables and other forums); and unstructured (independent research and reading). 

Spectrum of challenges

The scheme has so far gained widespread support from the risk community with many looking forward to its launch. Laurent Nihoul, board member of Luxembourg Association for

Risk Management (ALRiM), is one of them. “Risk managers face a widening spectrum of challenges and the trend is not expected to lower in the near future,” he says.

“ALRiM welcomes and fully supports FERMA’s certification project, which should enhance the necessary cross-disciplinary understanding and practical knowledge that risk managers need to tackle their organisation’s current and upcoming risk management challenges.”

Even in those countries that benefit from a well-established certification programme, such as the Certificate in Risk Management awarded in the UK, FERMA’s accolade is still a valued benchmark.

Airmic chief executive John Hurrell says: “We are pleased that FERMA is planning to address a need to provide recognition for risk professionals through its certification programme.

“Risk professionals in the UK are well served through the IRM and CII, but we understand that certification will be available to Airmic members from day one.”

While the risk community waits with optimism, the steering committee continues to make preparations for the launch next year.

It is a programme that has stimulated much debate about the future of risk management, particularly as discussions move on to consider whether certification will bring risk management a step closer to being recognised as a profession.

Irrespective of whether that is the case, judging from the conversations initiated so far, the programme is sure to be greeted warmly when it finally launches.