Managing risk from the front line

Explore the clear and ongoing shift in the ownership of risk management to the front line…and why this can be the key to greater organizational resiliency and growth.

2017 Risk in review Study - Coming soon

A collaborative approach to risk management

In today’s complex risk environment, a collaborative approach to risk management led by the first line of defense can be the key to greater organizational resiliency and growth. Companies leading this trend report higher revenue and profit margin expectations, stronger risk cultures, and more.

That’s the message from PwC’s 2017 Risk in review study, which garnered responses from 1,581 corporate officers across 30 industries around the globe, and 8 in-depth executive interviews. Specifically, our study reviews this clear and ongoing shift toward the first line taking the lead in risk decision-making, and discusses what this means for all lines of defense.

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2016 Risk in review Study

Risk resiliency + risk agility = enduring success

We live in turbulent times. Companies across industries have faced an unprecedented confluence of risks. It's no wonder that in PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO study, 66% of CEOs saw more threats to their business than opportunities. 

To remain competitive, companies must pursue two parallel strategies:

1. Building agile and flexible risk management frameworks that can anticipate and prepare for the shifts that bring long-term success and

2. Building the resiliency that will enable those frameworks to mitigate risk events and keep the business moving toward its goals.

This connection between risk resiliency1 and risk agility2 is at the heart of this year’s Risk in Review: Going the distance study. As our study shows, today’s most forward-looking companies have both the solid infrastructure and processes to help them weather any storm, as well as the flexibility to move quickly to meet new opportunities.

1 Risk resiliency: Building the resiliency that will enable those frameworks to mitigate risk events and keep the business moving toward its goals.

2 Risk agility: Building agile and flexible risk management frameworks that can anticipate and prepare for the shifts that bring long-term success.

“Risk management should be leveraged as a defensive tactic as well as an offensive catalyst. It comes down to how a company manages the upside combined with the downside of each business risk.”

Dean Simone
US, Asia-Pacific, and Americas Cluster Risk Assurance Leader

  • Key findings
  • Path forward for CCOs and CROs
  • Our perspectives
  • Our team
  • Benchmark yourself

“Historically, risk management has been about preventing losses, protecting the downside. But that’s all playing defense. We think about risk also in terms of how to create opportunities because you found ways that you can make the right risk trade-off, where there are returns.”

Kimberly Johnson, Vice President & Chief Risk Officer, Fannie Mae

The risk agility/risk resiliency matrix

We asked companies questions about their risk agility/resiliency capabilities, processes, and corporate characteristics. We scored their answers on a 0–100 scale to create the matrix. Respondents fall into four quadrants. High Performers and Faster Movers) are more likely than all other respondents to expect significant growth.

High Performers—the 36% of survey respondents who are in the “sweet spot” of being both highly risk-agile and risk-resilient—establish a risk agile culture in which they can quickly adapt to changes in their risk profile to help create greater agility and flexibility in their organizations.

Learn about our key findings

“A risk-agile organization is one where there’s a more cohesive across-the-board process to really be more thoughtful in terms of what the future holds in some of the risks we are contending with.”

Jasmin Lussier, Chief Compliance Officer, PPG

The path forward: How CROs and CCOs can help

Top risk managers understand their role is to help the company uncover additional benefits.

High performers and faster movers are bullish on growth. Perhaps what makes High Performers and Faster Movers so bullish on growth are their risk agility capabilities. These respondents focus more on the upside of risk—they can identify opportunities ahead of competitors, rapidly pursue those opportunities, and quickly accommodate changes to the business better than companies that lack agility.

Learn more about path forward for CCOs and CROs

“As the saying goes, ‘I am wise because I know what I do not know.’ What that means is that none of us knows everything about all aspects of every topic, especially risk. You have to know when it’s time to have some humility and awareness and raise your hand and ask for guidance from industry experts.”

Andrew Rabinowitz, Chief Operating Officer, Marathon Asset Management

Perspectives on risk management

To face a world of interconnected risks, it takes an integrated approach that views risk management from multiple lenses across all lines of defense. And to grow in this world, it takes a proactive, risk-enabled approach that is open to new opportunities. Finding the right balance point between risk resiliency and risk agility can be very different from company to company and industry to industry.

Perspectives from PwC leaders on Risk management strategies

Dean Simone
Brian Schwartz
Jason Pett
John Sabatini
Grant Waterfall
Todd Bialick

Meet our Risk Assurance Leaders

PwC Risk Assurance’s teams of subject matter specialists look at your processes, policies, systems, and controls with a fresh eye. They have the experience and expertise to boost business performance and growth, and would love to talk with you about how the right risk management strategies can empower your business.

Our people are our differentiator

Data from 1,700 executives.
From over 40 countries.
Across 23 industries.

Benchmark yourself

Receive a customized report based on your responses, rich with PwC's analysis and charts comparing your responses to data from over 1,700 global business and risk leaders who participated in PwC's Fifth Annual Risk in review survey. The survey spanned every continent, with respondents from over 40 countries, and businesses operating in almost 27 industries.

Benchmark yourself to see how you compare

Related content

Contact us

Dean Simone
US, Asia-Pacific, and Americas Cluster Risk Assurance Leader
Tel: +1 (267) 330 2070

Brian Schwartz
Principal, Internal Audit, Compliance & Risk Management Solutions
Tel: +1 (202) 729 1627

Jason Pett
US Internal Audit, Compliance and Risk Management Solutions Leader
Tel: +1 (410) 659 3380

John Sabatini
Financial Services Risk and Regulatory Technology Leader
Tel: +1 (646) 471 0335

Grant Waterfall
Global Cybersecurity and Privacy Assurance Leader
Tel: +1 (646) 471 7779

Todd Bialick
Trust and Transparency Solutions Leader
Tel: +1 (973) 236 4902

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