Asset Management COO Community – Perspectives on geopolitical risk assessment

In March 2022 the Asset Management iCOOC membership undertook a post event review of the considerations and lessons learnt from February’s invasion of the Ukraine by Russia.

    In March 2022 the Asset Management iCOOC membership undertook a post event review of the considerations and lessons learnt from February’s invasion of the Ukraine by Russia. Five months’ later the summary framework of considerations born from this initial TTX was used to structure debate at a second TTX. This discussion was prompted by a heightened awareness of the emerging possibility of geopolitical contagion of the European conflict into APAC.  Purposedly the hypothesis was not defined beyond an open-ended title, inviting the ‘what if’ from participating COOs and prompting debate as to theoretical consequences.

    Geopolitical risk has been an agenda item for the CEO and C-Suite for many years, common practice being the C-Suite to be updated on the geopolitical landscape on a six-to-twelve-month cycle. These informative meetings were largely kept to the executive and in some cases, C-Suite minus one. In the room would be a global crisis management consultancy, whose business was the observation and evaluation of geopolitics, offering insights and prioritising the likelihood of events happening, and possible, consequent knock-on events.  

    In conversations with the COO community, it was clear little was done to take this information and share it downstream with the managing directorate, let alone the levels below. Therefore, even less was done to translate this data, geopolitical red flags, into a non-financial risk context.  Business continuity (BCM) plans were the fall-back, the catch-all and foundation of operational resilience. Although, notedly, no BCM play book lasted the test of the first 24 hours of the pandemic and non either the Russian – Ukraine crisis. 

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