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New approach to managing risks

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

New approach to managing risks

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The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has begun seeing positive results from its investment and intensified focus on risk management, following credit rating downgrades by two international rating agencies in 2012. 
CDB’s chief risk officer Malcolm Buamah revealed that the bank had made significant strides in its efforts to address areas of concern.
“We have taken a holistic approach to strengthening our risk management infrastructure by adopting an enterprise risk management framework, which brought all categories of risks into scope in the identification, assessing, prioritization and mitigation process,” he said.
“Existing processes have been scrutinized to identify gaps that require improvement, whilst also introducing new controls to strengthen the operating environment.
“We have also introduced three-lines-of defence-risk operational structure to ensure the participation of all functions; appointed local risk champions; established an Enterprise Risk Committee; recruited new staff; stepped up our credit surveillance and monitoring; introduced soon to be applied new limit controls for counterparties; secured budget approval for the purchase of new risk systems; drafted new risk policies; incorporated risk at the heart of our appraisal assessments and; established the foundation for enhanced risk reporting, amongst others,” he added.
Underscoring this, Buamah noted, was the thorough sensitization of all internal stakeholders on matters of risk management via a comprehensive awareness session delivered by the Office of Risk Management (ORM).
He said the Barbados-based institution’s staff, management and board of directors “have all received various forms of documented training on risk management”.
Buamah also said that all CDB functions participated and successfully completed a new annual organization-wide Risk Control Self-Assessment (RCSA) exercise, enabling each area to identify gaps in their operational process.
The output of this exercise would guide each function in determining areas in which they are most vulnerable and to introduce urgently needed controls, whilst also enabling ORM to aggregate risks across the bank to determine the most effective firm-wide mitigation actions to implement.
CDB officials said the foundation established and investments made in risk management, “will serve to strengthen CDB’s operating environment with notable key benefits”.
This included improving CDB’s credibility to gain the confidence of its stakeholders, improving its profitability via reduction in losses due to improved controls, ensuring compliance with international regulatory requirements and standards, establishing the foundation for a successful private sector initiative, strengthening balance sheet capital adequacy to improve external ratings, and encouraging transparency and sound governance.
Buamah said he was very encouraged by the improvements to date and had no doubt that continued progress in delivering on the bank’s enterprise risk initiative will have a long lasting positive impact on the long term performance, sustainability, image and perception of CDB’s brand. (PR/SC)