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FITC Enterprise Risk Management Series: Taking proactive steps in tackling business risks

Businesses that institute risk control structures ahead of disaster will identify and respond effectively and promptly to strategic business risk, and unlikely disruptions to their operations even in the post-Covid-19 era. Adopting well-suited Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Management structures has become a necessity for business sustainability. These were some of the discussions at the Summit organized by FITC to help organisations prepare and tackle the business risks and uncertainties thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic, writes Gbemi Faminu.

The event brought to bear the need for organisations to integrate comprehensive, systematic, disciplined and proactive processes into their operations. It was also an opportunity for FITC to reinforce its global status, as an innovative organisation leveraging on technology and rich faculty to bring about learning transformation in a highly competitive business world.

The Covid-19 pandemic took many organisations by surprise, but the smarter ones are finding quicker recovery paths.

Still, recovery time for each organisation differs and is dependent on several factors. First is the enterprise risk management and business continuity planning they had instituted prior to the unpredictable crisis. The second is the digital structures instituted by the organisation.

These were highlights of the discussions at a Summit on Enterprise Risk Management, and Business Continuity Planning organized by FITC, an organization renowned for its innovative and high-impact learning programmes and advisory services.

Read read: Why employers should adopt strategic spectrum of talents management post Covid-19

The FITC Enterprise Risk management Series was attended by over 1,000 participants from five continents, cutting across several industries – manufacturing, banking and finance, insurance, oil and gas, IT – and comprising business leaders and thought leaders.

All the speakers and attendees agreed that the Covid-19 pandemic had driven organisations to consider risk from new perspectives. The experience has also triggered the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives and the need for businesses to reshape their organisations to meet the challenges in the emerging future of work.

The speakers at the event were the CEO, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and keynote speaker, Oscar Onyema; director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimaun-Chiazo; managing director/CEO, Rack Centre Limited, yotunde Coker; managing director/CEO, Digital Jewels Limited, Adedoyin Odunfa, and head of operational risk, Rest of Africa & India FirstRand Group, William Wilson.

In her opening remarks, managing director/CEO, FITC, Chizor Malize, said the Summit was an opportunity for organisations to see risk management as a crucial part of the business, and pro-activeness as essential in overcoming business contingencies.

Malize said organisations should prioritize digitization, which has come to stay in the new normal. She stated that FITC is a leading technology-driven learning organisation that helps to bridge the knowledge gap in workplaces and businesses.

FITC’s learning programmes cut across leadership, talent management, capacity building for board of directors, and risk management among others, and have in no small measure strengthened the capacity of business leaders to drive their organisations and workforce to achieve or even surpass set targets.

She harped on the importance of the workforce to business successes insisting that employees’ health should be a priority for organisations seeking higher returns and sectoral leadership in the new normal.

According to Malize, FITC is a world-class innovation-led organisation, committed to building individual and organizational capabilities through knowledge sharing, research, insight and advisory services.

The well curated knowledge summit brought together thought leaders to deliberate on the topic: Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Planning. The speakers, are best of the world and people who are passionate about knowledge sharing.

As an innovative organization, FITC has brought about learning transformation leveraging technology to bring the best of the world in terms of content, faculty and participants.

As a world-class organisation with global reach and inspiration, FITC has peers throughout the world, delivering knowledge solutions, and its management is very proud of that accomplishment. It has a very rich and robust faculty, making its programmes engaging and exciting. It’s global reach and excellent faculty has helped FITC become disruptors in the knowledge space through innovation and technology.

The Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Planning summit attracted over 1,200 participants, not only because technology and enterprise risk management and business continuity is important, but also as a testament of the far -reaching impact that FITC makes to the business world.

The participants who are top level professionals cut across CEOs, Realtors, Executives, Risk Officers, Technologists, among others; an indication that the programme is not only diverse, but consolidated across industries. The industries represented were the financial services sector which had over 22 per cent of the participants. If added, participants from the banking services and Insurance moves the percentage of the participants at the event from the sector to up to 50 per cent.

Aside these sectors, participants at the event also included agriculturalists, real estate developers, software developers, energy experts, entrepreneurs and professional service providers, among others, who are conscious of the positive difference that Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Planning will make in their businesses and other endeavours.

The participants were from four continents, registered from six African countries, and eight additional countries outside Africa and throughout the world, including Nigeria, United States of America, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, to mention but a few.

Continuing, FITC CEO said the Enterprise Risk Management and Business Continuity Planning is quite a topical matter. Hence, the FITC Management and Board is glad about the distinguished and highly effective faulty that dealt with the subject.

“The speakers are not just the best of the world, but people that participants can network with even after the programs and they cut across diverse industries. We also thanked all organizations that supported the realization of this programme, and we assure them of our continued commitment to learning transformation leveraging on technology,” she said.

Oscar Onyema lauded FITC for its consistency in building capacity and expanding the frontiers of professional knowledge in the Nigerian financial system.

“FITC has shown great institutional resilience over the years by assessing the evolving challenges of the Nigerian Financial System and re-inventing its knowledge dissemination models to equip the industry effectively,” he said.

A large part of his presentation focused on enterprise risk management and business continuity planning experience at the NSE during the pandemic.

There were several highlights and demonstrations of how prepared the Exchange was for the pandemic, including the deployment of technology at the trading floors, which adopted digital trading since March 25, 2020.

Another speaker, Juliet Ehimaun-Chiazor spoke on risk management in the Post-Covid-19 era. She brought to the limelight, the inevitable reality in business, which entails planning for many risks – unseen hackers, regulatory changes to finical risks, refinancing risks, revenue and even exchange rate risks to mention but a few.

Risk is inherent in business. Enterprise risk management she said, has to do with all the methods and processes used by organisations to identify, assess, and prepare for any dangers, hazards, and other potentials for disaster that may interfere with an organization’s operations and activities.

The success of risk management determines the health and success of a business enterprise. Should an organisation fail to identify the risks that can threaten its existence, then it will be ill-prepared to face any risk event.

Ehimaun-Chiazor then explained that business continuity planning is the process of creating a system of prevention and recovery to deal with potential threats to a company to ensure that ongoing operations can continue during and after the disaster recovery process. People and assets must be protected and able to function during the disaster period.

Ayotunde Coker spoke on infrastructure in the enterprise risk management. He also emphasized on business continuity planning and IT disaster recovery frameworks, which should be a way of life for businesses.

These three controls work in synergy and when effectively applied, boost organizational sustainability and help companies meet business goals.

Coker said, “Enterprise Risk Management identifies, tracks and minimizes organizational risks while Business Continuity Plan helps organisations prevent and recover from potential threats, and organisations that fail to realize these plan will pay for such negligence.”

The trio, also works better with effective deployment of technology, as organisations are expected to put in place an IT disaster recovery plan to ensure swift recovery of data and operations to an acceptable degree to restore normalcy of operations. The IT disaster recovery cut a balance between the proactive and reactive outlook for organisations.

On her part, Adedoyin Odunfa said the world has passed the worst stage of the pandemic but has not overcome it. As the Covid-19 epidemic continues, cyber-attacks, loss of lives, loss of livelihoods and financial losses will be prevalent.

That opens up a choice for businesses to decide how they want to run after the Covid-19 dust settles and technology is at the centre of how this happens.

With the rising cases of cyber-attacks, organisations need to adopt Information Management System, Business Continuity Management System and IT Service Management System to ensure their operations are safe and secured.

“Organisations need a holistic management process that identifies potential impacts that threaten an organisation, provides a framework for building resilience and the capability for an effective response, safeguards the interests of its key stakeholders, reputation, brand and value creating activities,” she said.

Head of Operational Risk, Rest of Africa & India FirstRand Group, William Wilson, spoke on Safeguarding Business Operations under a New Normal. According to him, the operating environment is changing with a wave of digital disruptions, increased disintermediation, increasing dependency on a broader ecosystem and business integration.

The risk expert said that the reality is that change is here to stay, but most risk tools are static and do not get updated as fast as the business is changing.

For him, risk must be an enabler now more than ever with risk managers expected to be agile while calling for digital skills for effective risk management – data mining, analytics, and dash-boarding, among others.

Wilson wants companies to adopt proactive/forward-looking risk management approach to issues, increase automation of manual processes – including controls, and increase integration with third parties. He alluded to the fact that FirstRand Merchant Bank had set its operations in a way that takes advantage of gleaned understandings of its business processes, critical risks and controls, among other issues. This has enabled the bank to stay ahead of the competition amid challenges faced by businesses.

Speaking on the quality of the panellists and Summit, Lateef Bakare, Director at First Bank of Nigeria stated that the webinar was a great outing for FITC. In his words, “The panellists were all on top of their game and we look forward to more of this impactful learning programmes.”

Director of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Department, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr. Umar Maitambari, commended FITC for the excellent content and delivery at the summit. “Another great one from FITC. Brilliant knowledge dissemination by the well-rounded speakers. It was worth my time,” Maitambari said.

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