The risk management society tells StrategicRISK how its big billing Sydney conference can boost its local presence

Risk management society RIMS is an industry bedrock in the US and now its Australasia Chapter hopes its August conference will prove its worth to local risk managers.

With 11,000 members in 60 countries, RIMS is keen to ensure its Australasia Chapter can start to match the influence it has in more developed locations.

Eamonn Cunningham, former chief risk officer of Scentre Group, who now works with RIMS Australasia, says: “Clearly we are about broadening our base and sphere of influence. This means we want to grow our membership and grow our presence across Australia. We want to strengthen our touch points in states across the country.”

However, Cunningham says it is important to remember the Chapter is not just “RIMS Australia”, it is RIMS Australasia covering Australia and New Zealand.

“The involvement of our colleagues in Auckland in particular is phenomenal where their actively level is very high. We want to engage them too about expanding the membership,” Cunningham says.

“You don’t expand your membership unless you have a credible offering. We have the back bone of RIMS US offerings, which we need to moderate to ensure it is relevant to an Australasia audience.”

Cunningham says RIMS has great resources, networking opportunities and thought leadership material, but is looking to improve in areas such as its local website.

 “Ultimately, we want to tap into current members and future members’ needs, understand what they are and deliver. If you don’t deliver, you lose your membership.

“As our roots lie in the very strong and credible RIMS organisation out of the US, that is a distinct advantage as we can choose to use whatever of their resources we believe is relevant to an Australasia audience,” he says. 

RIMS will look to showcase its value to Australasia at the RIMS Risk Forum 2017 on 29 and 30 August in Sydney.

 “We did a lot of soul-searching in framing the content for the conference,” says Cunningham. “We didn’t want to host another conference which talked about terrorism, cyber and all the topical risk aspects. What we have come up with is an exciting composition.”

The event will be hosted by respected Australian business and economics journalist Michael Pascoe, who will be presenting the keynote address and facilitating various sessions.

“Michael has very interesting content for his keynote, where he is talking about ‘the year of the backflip’. This will cover Brexit, Trump and even Scott Morrison’s backflip on the Budget this year compared to previous years,” says Cunningham.

“That is absolutely relevant to risk managers without being overbearing. Michael’s engaging style will work very well for that.”

Kevin Bates, group head of risk and insurance at Lend Lease and president of RIMS Australasia, says the conference will contain one of the biggest drawcards of the year, as five senior executives from local carriers are on a panel together. This will involve Zurich’s Giles Crowley, Chubb’s Paul McNamee, XL Catlin’s Craig Langham, AIG’s Noel Condon and Allianz’s Willem Van Wyk.

“There will be a lot of tremendous content coming from that panel,” says Bates. “John Donnelly from Marsh is the moderator and he is something of an institution in the market. He is mercurial in nature and that in itself will bring forth brilliant facilitation.

“If that panel does not get you salivating then you are in the wrong industry! Those six people on stage will be bringing in people from far and wide.”

Bates says attendees will leave thinking the themes of the forum are entirely accurate for the world we live in and the role risk managers play.

For more details about the RIMS Risk Forum visit