Stronger links with rest of world for southern African risk managers

Stronger links with rest of world for southern African risk managers

- in Risk Management, RM Function

By Ben Norris 

Southern African risk managers may be on the cusp of receiving international recognition for their qualifications from five of the world’s biggest risk management associations, including the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (Irmsa).

Irmsa, Ferma, Rims, Alarys and Parima have signed a letter of intent to work towards mutual recognition of their respective risk management certification or designation programmes.

The work will begin by seeking to ensure risk managers can secure continuous professional development (CPD) points for attending each of the association’s events.

Gillian Le Cordeur, CEO of Irmsa, told Commercial Risk Africa: “We are very excited by this. It is just a start because we will first recognise attendance at each other’s events through CPD.

“We hope that this will be a precursor to recognising each other’s certification.”

As Africa’s only representative on the global risk body Ifrima, Ms Le Cordeur said it is important for the continent that Irmsa is a part of this.

“We need to show that we are not tagging along but have something to offer,” she said.

“In fact, we have been leading the way, with our certification for example, but also with the King Code and the development of risk management within organisations as standalone functions.”

She added: “This is very exciting and very important. Too often we are seen as the little brother, but we are certainly not. We hold our own in terms of our capabilities.”

Signed during an Ifrima meeting at the Ferma Forum, the letter says the associations will jointly draft a Memorandum of Understanding within the next months to establish the conditions under which a risk professional certified by one of the five organisations will receive CPD points for attending any of their respective events.

Jo Willaert, president of Ferma, said the various certification programmes take into account local specificities and should continue to do so. But he said it is “fundamental for the profession that we ensure a gradual convergence of our respective certification programmes over the coming years”.

“It should start with a mutual recognition of our respective main events in terms of CPD points, and that is the important step we are now taking,” he added.

Alessandro De Felice, chief risk officer at Prysmian Group and president of Italian risk management association Anra, said the governance, risk and compliance now demanded by companies requires risk managers with professional skills and competencies. This requires skills beyond insurance.

“Traditional insurance risk managers or insurance managers must understand that their base skills need to be expanded for them to take advantage of tremendous opportunities to be involved in governance, risk and compliance,” said Mr De Felice.

“We think we must provide opportunities for members to have professional competencies to be more than insurance buyers. This is not because insurance is not important, but because insurance is more and more perceived as a commodity in large companies. So the issue is how insurance can work as part of the larger governance, risk and compliance framework,” he said.

He noted that insurance risk management is an important part of enterprise risk management, which is then part of the governance, risk and compliance structure.

According to Mr De Felice, risk managers need to think outside of the box, talk a common language with executives and boards, and represent risks in measurable and accountable ways to get the attention of top management. – Commercial Risk Africa

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