The StrategicRISK team is covering the PARIMA Conference in Malaysia, in partnership with AXA XL, so stay tuned for the latest news throughout the day!
StrategicRISK’s live blog is sponsored by AXA XL
PARIMA chairman Franck Baron closed the conference with his takeaway thoughts on how the entire industry can work better as a team to affect positive change in Asia Pacific.
Embrace individuality and thrive
Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, artistic director and chairman, Sutra Foundation closed the final session for the day with a closer look at diversity and inclusion in Malaysia and how this issue affects risk managers in the region.
“There is a traditional Malaysian belief, backed by Jung, this is in regard to the inherent artistic temperament of individuals,” said Ibrahim.
He encouraged delegates to embrace individuality in employees and to see their unique ability as positives for the business. “If talents are released and realised, they will lead a full life. However, if these talents remain unrealised, he will live his life with a plagued knot of unfulfillment. This can turn destructive and can be compared to an unloved child who becomes a problem for his family.”
Ibrahim also encouraged delegates to embrace individuals and all races, religions and creeds to foster a more diverse workforce. “Diversity is a gift from the universe. Embrace it.”
‘Look to young people. There is hope’ – Tan
PARIMA board member and Ayala head, group risk management and sustainability unit, Ayala Corporation, Victoria Tan opened the next session on the all-important issue of sustainability. She told delegates that “We need to look to the young people. There is hope.” She urged risk managers in the room to keep trying to make a difference when it comes to climate change issues.
“It is not that difficult to make a few dollars but it is difficult to make a real change,” said Steve Tunstall, general secretary, PARIMA.
Teresa Wong, chief risk officer, Zurich. “Sustainability is a big word at Zurich. We don’t use plastic bottles and we only use mugs to drink coffee. Our group CEO told our employees only recently that we must start planting trees. It is a top down position but it is also a bottom up process from a local level.”
Wong also gave examples of Zurich employees building houses for communities in Asia, with three houses being built so far. “It is about making the dreams of a family who have been waiting for 18 years to come true.”
Datuk Lim, chief risk officer of Tenaga Nasional Berhad echoed Tan’s thoughts on looking to the youth of the world to help maintain sustainability goals. Lim spoke about some of the challenges of sustainability when it comes to working closely with the Malaysian government but he also said there is hope for Malaysia. “Even for a small country, we are trying to do our part to help the younger generations with sustainability.”
Tunstall questioned how risk managers can make big sustainability projects relevant to their organisation. Tan said: “Sustainability is about being here for the long term. You need to stay relevant to your customers in the long term so it is all about looking forward. Climate change will impact your resources so you must look at how you can change and innovate.”
“The way we develop things from here must be relevant to climate change so we have to make it our focus. Climate change also brings about pandemic issues which means employees will suffer. Who will go and work in your factory when they are ill? This is why there must be board level engagement on sustainability.” Tan added.
Wong said: “Sustainability in the office locally and talking to the board is all about engagement. Nobody wants to talk about the elephant in the room but risk officers must engage every level of the organisation in this.”
Lim encouraged risk managers to think about how to combine sustainability with profitability in order to engage the board properly.
3.00 Emerging risks
Connectivity is key’ to managing emerging risks
PARIMA chairman Franck Baron opened the next breakout session on emerging risks.
“Risk isn’t always bad. It can be good too, such as new technologies so it is important to understand emerging risks properly,” said Baron.
Lauren Clarke-Wiest, senior director in Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) said the key to understanding emerging technology risks is by using data. She gave an example of using fitness trackers in our everyday lives.
“Risk managers in their day-to-day jobs need to look at and understand new technologies so they can do their jobs better. Emerging technologies can enable us as risk practitioners to better understand risk,” Clarke-Wiest said.
Clarke-Wiest also encouraged delegates to use all the tools available to them to better manage horizon risks. “Connectivity is key,” she said.
2.55 Risk and analytics
Algorithmic risk on the rise
As businesses grow bigger and more borderless, organisations are making increasing investments to harness their enormously growing amount of data. Today we see big data gradually being adopted as a key tool employed to drive growth, chart strategy and manage risks across industries.
For anyone working in the area of risk management, data analytics isn’t new. Risk professionals have been using analytics tools for years, and we continue to see a resurgence of interest in the application of analytics and newer technology to tackle emerging risk management challenges today.
The key challenge when it comes to analytics and risk management is the separation of hype from reality. Aloysius Chong, senior manager, Risk Advisory, Deloitte opened the panel discussion with an overview of the current digital revolution or Industry 4.0 as it is often called.
“Our eco system has changed as an industry and we need to change too. Companies are facing big changes,” said Chong.
Whilst there are many advantages to Industry 4.0, Chong acknowledged the difficulties for firms such as mass data breaches, compliance and regulatory burdens and the cost of security.
He said most risk management teams have a separate IT security advisor in the risk department, which dilutes control and can cause headaches for risk managers.
One emerging risk Chong noted was the rise of algorithmic risk as a result of machine learning. “One robot will replace 10 full time workers but what happens if that robot breaks down or if there is a security breach? That digital solution is now a risk to businesses.”
Horizon scanning is just one way to help manage this risk, according to Chong. Staying on top of digital trends means risk managers are less likely to miss something important.
Next up, Je Hui Su, manager, Risk Advisory, Deloitte, took delegates through what a digital transformation journey looks like and how to handle various challenges which arise in the process.
The two major challenges in a digital transformation are data and people risks, according to Su. She advised delegates to specifically look for gaps in the data in order to foresee issues before they arise. In terms of people risk, she advises using change management language in order to keep things simple for staff and minimise confusion and disruption.
12.25 Political risk
’It is always better to act too early than too late’ - Ng
To start the breakout session, Thomas Ng, underwriter, Asia Pacific Global Political Risk, Credit & Bond, AXA XL took delegates on a journey back through the history of political risk.
“The question we need to ask ourselves is ‘Is political risk really a rising issue?’”, Ng questioned. He referred to BlackRock research on political risk and how it peaked in 2018 with the US-China trade tensions.
Ng said political risk varies from country to country in terms of impact; a fact risk managers from multinationals need to take into account. He also noted that the most risky countries remain those which are considered emerging nations.
Tensions between Japan and South Korea have been building in recent months, said Ng, creating issues for risk managers operating in Asia Pacific. He also gave the example of Kingsgate mining who recently settled a New South Wales Supreme Court case against its political risk insurers, including Zurich Australia Insurance, for more than $82 million.
The case involved the alleged illegal expropriation in 2016 of Kingsgate’s Chatree gold mine by the government of Thailand.
Ng urged risk managers not to underestimate the impact of political risk: ’It is always better to act too early than too late.”
11.33 Risk manager inteview
’Trust makes everything simple’ - Song
PARIMA board member and EVP, data protection and enterprise risk, Lazada, Gordon Song sat down with Aon, regional head of sales and marketing, Jane Drummond to discuss what tangible and intangible risks being faced, how risk managers show credibility and influence to their senior decision makers and how to make risk management more valuable in the eyes of the company.
Song told delegates the key to building a risk management framework for a young company or “mature startup” is flexibility. “My one recommendation for a risk manager in a startup is to let the business grow. We have a tendency to be over zealous as risk managers but when you work for a startup, the risk management philosophy has be very different. You must be flexible.”
He spoke about the new methods of attracting customers including ‘teasing’ out pricing structures to entice customers to add goods to their shopping carts.
Addressing an audience question on counterfeit products, Song said: “We have an attack and defend strategy for all our risks in the business so we take this proactive and reactive approach to counterfeit products. We used to have an email called firstname.lastname@example.org but that was too slow a mechanism. So now Alibaba (Lazada’s parent company) uses a registered takedown process so it doesn’t need to go through us. We are trying to encourage brand owners to work with us; brands like Nike and Apple.”
Song said the firm also uses machine learning to address counterfeits but said that it isn’t super effective right now due to the time it takes for the machine to learn.
In terms of emerging risks Song said the ‘grey swan’ risk for Lazada is a licence to operate. “In southeast Asia, the laws are shifting and evolving and because e-commerce is still a new concept. Regulators don’t know how much to regulate this type of business. Too much will kill the businesses but too little won’t protect consumers.”
Song also addressed the social licence to operate issue as an emerging risk and said it is a big risk for e-commerce business models.
In terms of data protection at Lazada, Song said he keeps different parts of the business in check via a ‘name-and-shame’ system to ensure as few data losses as possible. Song said he encourages data sharing within the business where it is possible and valuable but enforces it to be done via the official methods to ensure privacy and protection of sensitive data. “I don’t just say ‘no’ to data sharing but it must be done the right way to protect customers.”
Addressing an audience question on risk culture, Song said: “Risk culture is not percolated right down to the factory floor because it is impossible. It is an uphill battle. We are at the beginning of a journey. We do a lot of video logs because they are more interesting than my boring emails. But it is still a challenge for us.”
“Risk managers are chief relationship managers. One thing I say every day is ‘trust makes everything simple’. If I can trust you and you can trust me, we are on the right path.”
StrategicRISK’s live blog is sponsored by AXA XL
10.04 Four mega disruptions coming our way
10.01 Risk managing megatrends
“We must be proactive in managing megatrends in our business. We must act intelligently when it comes to managing this risk.”
Charlie Ang, founder, The Everything 4.0 Futurist
10.00 Charlie Ang joins the stage to talk about Megatrends
09.42 LinkedIn coverage of PARIMA KL
09.41 Petronas’ risk management journey
From the eyes of a risk manager – Petronas, custodian financial risk management, group risk management department, Haslina Hasan.
“We have been on a risk management journey for quite some time. We are going through changes with our business operating model,” Hasan told delegates.
Hasan spoke about emerging risks in the region and how they are affecting her every day work. “How do we optimise risk? One example for Petronas has a significant capital base so we pooled these funds and introduced a risk transfer vehicle to help transfer our pooled risk to the market.
“But this is just the beginning. All this journey is not without challenges.”
The integration of business and risk should not be about risk manager’s focus. Hasan said it must come down to the first line of defence. “We cannot own all the risk. We must delegate”
She encouraged risk managers to seek buy-in not just from the board, but also throughout their organisations which comes down to having the right talent.
Hasan also told delegates that transparency is very important so people feel comfortable highlighting risks so they can be managed, which comes down to having the right risk culture within the business.
“Should we focus on ourselves or focus on the frontline? It is something we must constantly look at. You must be passionate about the business. You have to be commercially curious so you can challenge where you need to,” said Hasan.
She encouraged risk managers to form partnerships within the business. “It is not ‘us versus them’. It is ‘we are together’.”
09.38 LinkedIn coverage of PARIMA
9:35am Risk management networking
“It is a time for you to network with your fellow participants. The value of networking is the exchange of thoughts and perspectives. From my interactions with risk managers, I think there is a lot of opportunities for Petronas to share risk management practices. I think big firms in Malaysia should also share their practices. A lot of companies are struggling to see the value of risk management.”
Nor Adila Ismail, chief risk officer at Malaysian oil and gas company PETRONAS
9:30am Opening presentation
’We must reset the way we work’ - Baron
In his opening address, PARIMA chairman Franck Baron told delegates the membership in the region has hit new records, showing the increased focus on risk management.
Baron spoke about the shifts in risk management, particularly the trade wars which are heavily affecting the APAC region. “This is impacting our ability to be as inclusive as possible across the world.”
He also spoke about global warming, noting that although people “may be sick of hearing about it, there is a lack of consistency across the world covering this issue. Asia Pacific is the most vulnerable for natural catastrophes so this is something we must take into account as risk managers.” Baron said the hardening markets are being impacted by nat cats so “we must stay vigilant”
Baron also warned of an impending financial crisis with the very low interest rate environment, lack of economic growth and the threatening trend in the US with companies increasing their level of debt. “What does this mean for us? It means we need to change the way we are looking at risk financing and insurance. It is a common thought we need to do altogether. PARIMA wants to help you develop this so we have developed the risk competency framework to help our members elevate their skills in risk management. This is a game changer for our profession.”
09.25 Risk management relevance
We are in the business of uncertainty. We analyse, forecast, identify and control threats to the capital institutions that we work for. Our relevance in today’s world has moved from necessary to integral, to the institutions we serve. And as such it is imperative that we take every opportunity we can to pause, connect and evaluate our strategies. This is why we are here. This is why this year’s conference is themed Redefining Risk.
PARIMA Malaysia board member and SVP enterprise risk, Lazada, Suchitra Narayanan
08.00 PARIMA workshops