What is risk management?

Risk management constitutes an essential and fast-evolving aspect of an organization’s operations. The process involves the systematic undertaking of identifying, evaluating, and managing financial, legal, strategic, and security risks that could impact an organization’s capital and earnings. To put it simply, risk management is about weighing up the chance of an undesirable outcome occurring due to a particular action, activity or choice.

Organizations manage risks by enforcing frameworks or policies, procedures and controls through careful planning and regular reviews. While it is nearly impossible to eliminate risks completely, organizations are expected by regulators to create a risk identification process on an enterprise-wide level and develop a standardized methodology to set controls and address root causes to stay ahead.

Why is risk management important?

Risk management is important because it ensures the protection of an organization’s assets, the continuity of business operations, and financial stability, while also safeguarding its reputation, enabling regulatory compliance, guiding informed decision-making, fostering innovation, and instilling stakeholder confidence. By identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential risks, organizations can allocate resources efficiently, sustain long-term viability, and navigate uncertainties effectively, ultimately contributing to their overall success and resilience.

If by chance an organization is caught off guard by an unforeseen macroeconomic event for example, the outcome can range from minor additional overhead costs to a significant financial burden.

Risk management provides organizations with a solid foundation upon which they can make informed decisions and prevent serious ramifications that may arise from unexpected eventualities. Once a risk has been identified, organizations can easily address and mitigate it.

Financial vs. non-financial organizations

Risk management for financial and non-financial organizations tends to be different. Experts highlight the formalized role of risk management in firms that operate in heavily regulated industries and where risk is inherent to their business.

For instance, banking and insurance firms have traditionally maintained substantial risk departments, typically overseen by a Chief Risk Officer (CRO), a role that remains relatively uncommon outside of the financial services sectors.

Moreover, the risks faced by financial service entities are rooted in quantitative data, enabling effective analysis through established technology and mature methodologies. Within finance companies, risk scenarios can be accurately modeled.

 The spectrum of risks financial services firms typically address can be diverse. This includes:

  • Credit risk
  • Market risk
  • Operational risk, encompassing aspects such as data governance and risk reporting
  • Liquidity risk
  • Technology and information risk, including cyber risk
  • Strategic risk

In contrast, industries outside financial services firms regard risk qualitatively, making risk management more complex. This complexity underscores the necessity for a methodological, comprehensive, and consistent approach to risk management.

Understanding model risk and model risk management

Financial institutions have long used models to identify and predict opportunities such as the theoretical value of stock prices or the creditworthiness of a person, etc. While models are useful tools for forecasting and in strategic key decision-making, they can also be prone to risks that can occur from the use of inaccurate, outdated or incomplete datasets, technical errors, and incorrect calculations.

Model risk, a subset of operational risk, for instance, is a critical consideration that can impact the assessment and management of other types of risks. By definition, model risk arises when a financial model is employed to measure quantitative information such as market risk or credit risk falters or falls short in its performance. This can result in significant financial losses or reputational damage.

Learn more about model risk management

Learn more about model risk

Technology and model risk management

Model risk management has grown significantly in importance for banks due to the heightened reliance on complex models for risk assessment and decision-making. Regulatory bodies now demand greater transparency and accountability in model usage, necessitating robust model risk management practices. The proliferation of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, has introduced new complexities and potential biases into models, amplifying the need for vigilant oversight. Furthermore, in an interconnected global financial landscape, the repercussions of model failures can have far-reaching systemic effects, underscoring the critical role of model risk management in safeguarding the stability of the banking sector.

To remain compliant with evolving regulatory standards, such as SS1/23 and SR11-7, while maintaining lean and efficient processes, financial institutions are exploring specialized technology solutions. Yields.io’s MRM solution, for example, empowers banks to stay in control of their models and automate their model testing, validation, and documentation activities through enhanced standardization.

Learn more about our solutions by reading the following articles.

Automated model validation: Challenges and considerations

Automated model documentation

How can model risk analytics help financial institutions make better decisions?