The rise of the intangible economy could amplify your risks causing long-term loss in revenues and profits, so what can you do about it? Hans Laessoe, principal consultant at AKTUS and former senior director of risk at the LEGO Group, has this advice

Describe the risk profile of businesses who increasingly own more intangible assets than physical assets?

The risk profile will be based on risks to the value and relevance of the intangible assets. Take Disney as a (random) example. Losing park facilities (physical assets) is unlikely and a total “loss” is next to impossible. Now, imagine Mickey Mouse is seen as irrelevant by children – or for some (unknown) reason deemed inappropriate. All parks may suffer severe loss of revenue – overnight.

What if other intangible assets are implicated, such as data, IP, could we be looking at business interruption as well as a fall in future revenue and profits?

While business interruption may affect assets, it is more likely to affect future revenue and profits. As these are often generated through intangible assets such as goodwill, brand value or intellectual properties, [future revenue and brand] are more vulnerable to disruption than physical assets. Imagine if your high-profile and premium brand name becomes “obsolete” in the eyes of customers and consumers.

Our readers often highlight the interconnected nature of risks and its global reach – from intangible and physical sources – a major challenge. A data theft affecting operations in the UK could affect their business in the US, for example. What’s your advice on how risk managers can better deal with widespread global risks?

Global risks call for global attention and awareness. This is complicated by the different cultures and hence the best possible response in USA may differ quite significantly from the optimal response In Japan, China or Germany. Locally adapted risk handling must be prepared and applied, and the globally focused company need to recognise cultural differences.