An Investigation into Non- Financial Risk Management

Collective Thought: Buy and Sell Side COO Roundtables and Debates, New York, March 16 and 17, 2022


36 COOs and executives from the office of the COO from 29 banks and asset managers. The first face-to-face New York round tables for the International COO Community (iCOOC) since February 2020. 

Executive Summary:

The subject of non-financial risk (NFR) is high on the COO agenda, as the industry exits one crisis (the pandemic) and enters another (the Russia-Ukraine conflict). Whilst very different in nature and impact, both fall within NFR, where an organisational and industry commitment to horizion scanning would have had the industry better prepared for both. The conclusion of both evenings was that whilst bankers and asset managers had largely shown themselves in a positive light in their response to the unique challenges presented by the pandemic and were prepared through previous experience for the sanctions imposed on Russia, not enough time is spent on emerging risk identification. It was broadly acknowledged that time dedicated to this task is notional, 2 to 3%, or as one COO noted ‘passing thoughts in the shower’.  

Aligned to this acknowledgement, preparedness in crisis management, and in developing a mindset that is trained for crisis as opposed to managing business as usual, was seen as an area of investment that would be a valued contribution to an organisation’s operational resilience.  

Present at the debates was Control Risks, a global crisis management consultancy that has worked closely with Armstrong Wolfe since the outbreak of the pandemic. Ammi Small, Principal – Crisis and Security Consulting at Control Risks, outlined in response that such training would deliver a crisis management leadership framework, supported by procedures and protocols, enabling an organisation to more effectively manage and limit the impact of a crisis from its outset. “Knowing your position, your principle responsibilities, who deals with what and who to call, would enable a smooth transition into crisis management mode,” commented a COO Americas for Banking and Markets. “Something we have not done to date, relying more on instinct and the managerial chain of command to expedite a response, which has its place but also its limitations.”

It is a fair point to make that how best to manage NFR in an increasingly integrated and complex world is a point of debate as opposed to contention. As NFR challenges are largely non-proprietary in nature, and with the design and execution of NFR to support and direct risk decisions an emerging point of industry-wide deliberation, it offers an opportunity for cross-industry collaboration. The discussion is presently centred on defining the NFR taxonomy and the organisational realignment in moving NFR from a decentralised, judgement-based assessment to a centralised data, judgement and hollistic based evaluation.  

Mental Health Forum Summary – UK Mental Health Week 2023

The use of data to manage stress and mental health in the workplace is crucial for maximising productivity. In 2022, Armstrong Wolfe launched an ESG data management programme with our alliance partner Sutherland. From this programme, we concluded three things: Many...

The role of the COO in developing and implementing ESG strategies

Armstrong Wolfe are looking to establish the current roles and responsibilities of the COO where they relate to managing and interacting with their organisation’s ESG strategy, and to offer a possible framework of solutions to facilitate productive ESG management. In...

24 Things on the CCO’s Mind

Q1 Chief Control Officer Survey: What are the 3 top things you wish to debate with your peers in Q2 2023? In March 2023 iCOOC members participated in a Control and Business Risk survey. Despite a pressing need to adapt operating models and securing funding to further...

Creating High Performance Teams by Enabling Effective Followership

Q1 iCOOC Forum Summary - Creating High Performance Teams by Enabling Effective Followership Character has, throughout history, been one of the most prominent factors in determining the attributes of a good leader. Yet modern leaders are often disconnected from this...

Algo Trading Forum – Mifid 2 RTS 6 Annual Self-Assessment

Armstrong Wolfe Markets iCOOC Forum: Algorithmic Trading The management of risks surrounding the use of Algo Trading by banking corporations is a complex process, and in many places the industry has self-identified this process to be resource intensive, overly complex...

Find your brand. Build your confidence

Cressida Hamilton Executive Coach, Armstrong Wolfe Having a clear personal brand and being able to confidently communicate that brand to others is a necessary skill in today’s world. It enables you to grow your self-belief, build a set of allies and sponsors who can...

Michael Paleos Chief of Staff, Investment Bank at Deutsche Bank

Interview by Peter Zorn, Industry Advisor, Armstrong Wolfe & Director, Business Transformation, Mercer. Striving for authentic leadership I joined Deutsche Bank straight out of Cornell as a member of the formal HR Graduate training program. The 9/11 attacks...

Why 2023 is the Perfect Storm against Women in Finance

The unprecedented blend of macroeconomic and geopolitical factors surrounding the global pandemic has resulted in the rolling back of much of the progress made towards gender parity in Finance. Norma GillespieChief Executive Officer at Resource Solutions The journey...

Download Asset Management International COO Community Membership Brochure

Download Global Markets International COO Community Membership Brochure