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Patrick Smith, CMIRM: Manging Partner, Acumen Advisory

Patrick Smith, CMIRM

Managing Partner

Acumen Advisory


How did you get your job?

Like many people, I suspect, it has been a long and winding path to the work that I do now. I started my career with the Commercial Union spending a number of years in a variety of roles. As a claims leader and through managing the UK business process function, I developed an early appreciation of risk and the criticality of operational resilience; both from an opportunity and point of failure perspective. I secured my first pure risk role at Hertz Corporation, where I was responsible, internationally, for risk, insurance and claims management. From there I spent three years as CRO for a global insurer and helped drive the organisation’s strategy, whilst in parallel creating and embedding a risk governance framework and achieving Solvency II compliance. It’s been a journey!

I took the leap three years ago to start my own consultancy, Acumen Advisory, and I have never been busier or more fulfilled. As a Managing Partner of an MGA, Deliveroo’s Global Business Resilience Leader, joint owner of a PCC in Guernsey and a non-Exec and Advisory Board member, there is never a dull moment!

Clearly, serving on the Board of Airmic and becoming chair gave me plenty of opportunity to try and shape and influence the profession and learn from the people, markets and sectors and the way risk is managed.

What’s a typical day like as a Managing Partner, what do you enjoy most about your job?

The old adage that “you never stop learning” has never been more relevant to my career. If you are keen to learn and develop there is always an opportunity to be had. Right now, I have a brilliant mix of activities and, particularly fascinating is being close up to the risk and insurance challenges of the gig economy, tech and data driven companies, identifying how insur-tech can make a real difference to organisations and making sure that we do not abandon tries and tested methods and solutions that have stood the test of time and are what make risk management, risk financing and insurance so important.

What are the challenges? 

Just the speed of change. The realisation that they world is rapidly changing creates many challenges and, of course, opportunities. From a macro perspective, globalisation, economic power shifts and political influences create an environment that requires flexibility, scalability and real strategic thinking to ensure success. For most organisations, changing consumer behaviour and expectation alongside the rapid capability of technology is changing the face of many industries. We are in a world of “new normal” and keeping up, let alone being at the vanguard, is an amazingly exciting and onerous challenge.

What made you want to go through the Senior Executive Route (SER)?

I have been enormously privileged to have been involved in the world of risk for many years. There comes a time where accreditation of one’s career is important; for me, providing validation of work that I have done for and on behalf of organisations and through specific projects and assignments. The SER absolutely created that opportunity to frame my work so far and underpin and reinforce my work going forward.

How did you find the process?

The process was straightforward, but necessarily had the rigour that one should expect. It was an interesting process of “productising” my work and learnings; both in the written application and interview stages. It was challenging and probing; but that is exactly as it should be.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant? 

Increasingly, people are looking for professionalism and expertise and the SER offers that assurance.

IRM is internationally recognised as the leading risk institute. The IRM network is unparalleled and the qualification provides the reassurance to others and inner confidence to practice with certainty, pride and passion.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

Do it! If you are serious about a career in risk management then, frankly, it is a no brainer.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

It would be wrong to say that my career path was carefully planned and mapped out. IRM involvement has been a constant. Aside from the technical support and resources it also provides an invaluable network and this has been vital as I have taken on new challenges and opportunities.

Top tips

  • Remember that certification independently validates your expertise and track record
  • Remember that professionalism is a differentiator
  • Certification and qualification confirms your commitment to risk management; it walks the talk