After a year in the job, our editor Lauren Gow reflects on the year that was 2018 and what the year ahead might have in store for Asia-Pacific risk managers.
I have now been the editor of StrategicRISK for just over a year. And in that year I have taken very seriously the immense responsibility I have to deliver not only the right content to you as risk managers, but also content that challenges you to rethink, to question and to re-examine the way you look at risk in your business. One thing that has struck me in my first year in this position is the sheer unpredictability of risk. Situations you may have hung your hat on 10 years ago can change overnight in today’s world. So, after the year in which we lost respect from Aretha Franklin, the leadership of Kofi Annan and the worldly wisdom of Stephen Hawking, we should take a moment reflect on the world’s ever shifting threat landscape.
Political risk has dramatically escalated for a number of reasons in the past year, but not least as a result of the actions of President Trump. This time last year, Trump was yet to meet with Kim Jong Un. And his tariffs were merely threats. Now, the risk engendered by the leader of a nation half a world away is having a deeper impact on our world than our own leaders on home soil, and that risk certainly can’t be underestimated as we go into 2019.
Another very real threat faced by us all is cyber risk. No longer in the realm of ‘emerging risk’, it sure does have our attention. The risk profile is unpredictable and it is changing by the minute. Businesses large and small are facing threats from enemies as yet unknown, and worse, we are being threatened by forces standing right in front of us, or already embedded in our systems. Managing a threat that moves constantly, has varying motivations and lurks just beneath the surface has to be the most dangerous enemy of all.
The southern California fires of recent months became the deadliest wildfire blaze in Californian history, reminding us that even in the so-called ‘off season’ for wildfires, a catalogue of risk factors, including an exceptionally hot and dry summer, can change the environmental risk profile in a matter of weeks.
In a very different case of threats overpowering prevention, in Melbourne this November, a lone-wolf terrorist killed one and injured others on Bourke St. Despite a significant number of anti-terror measures being in place, terror struck at the heart of the city.
Our annual survey of Asia-Pacific risk managers has yielded very interesting insights into the way the profession is feeling going into the new year. To read our analysis, see pages 12–17. Strategic risks such as failure to innovate in the face of changing competitive landscapes continue to be identified as one of the risk manager’s biggest concerns. This indicates that the risks most feared are close to home and seem like they should be easier to manage and mitigate. But if that were true, why the concern?
The year gone by was full of both unexpected events – Hurricane Michael, the collapse of Carillion – and those we suspected all along would be a source of pain – namely, Brexit. (See our review of the year on pages 8–11). But the world we are heading into in 2019 leaves me more unsettled than ever. And I’m not the only one. There is a sense of foreboding over political risks such as the Made in China 2025 strategy, the US Trade Representative (USTR) and we are still facing a mountain of questions over the impending aftermath of Brexit.
This is a new world order in macropolitics, one which is in the hands of few but affects the many, more so than ever before. StrategicRISK will continue to explore the issues that matter to you in 2019 and bring you insights from the people who know.
And so, the StrategicRISK team would like to wish all of our readers a safe and happy holiday season and wonderful new year. Thank you for all of your contributions and insights over the past year. We look forward to another busy, fascinating, and educational year in 2019.