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Setting the Risk Agenda: Exploring the future of the risk management profession

In 2016, IRM celebrated 30 years of providing education, training and professional development to the risk profession. IRM started life in the City of London in the UK but swiftly attracted worldwide attention and today has over 6,500 members and students in more than 100 countries around the world.

The past 30 years have seen huge changes in the risk environment and also in the ways that we seek to manage uncertainty. We anticipate that the next 30 years will be no different. If anything, opinion seems to be that change is accelerating, enabled by technology and globalisation, and the profession must respond. But what does this mean? How should we practice what we preach and ensure that we are resilient and properly equipped for the future?

To mark our 30th anniversary, we launched our Risk Agenda 2025 project to harness the collective expertise of our membership and contacts around the world. We have held a series of debates, involving many of our regional groups. We have also sought the view of our contacts in other professions – we need to avoid the danger of talking only to ourselves. We have interviewed key risk commentators and invited them to give us their thoughts. And finally we undertook a widespread survey of the risk community. The results of these exercises are in this document.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this project and in particular Sword Active Risk whose sponsorship has made our design and print possible. One of IRM’s key strengths is that it is an independent, not-for-profit organisation – direct sponsorship support from leading industry partners means that we can plough any surpluses straight back into developing risk management education and services for members.

Our findings indicate a number of areas where adaptation will be necessary – by individual risk professionals, by their employers and also by the Institute itself. The IRM Board is committed to an exciting agenda of change in order to play our part in supporting the profession going forward.

During the course of 2016/17, IRM conducted a number of workshops around the UK and across the globe involving hundreds of participants (for more details, see page 27) and ran a survey that received over 450 respondents. From the analysis of the data captured from both the workshops and also the survey, the following main issues, outlined in more detail in the body of this document, emerged:

  • Economic volatility / financial instability
  • Geopolitical volatility
  • Technological advances
  • Increased competition
  • Disruptive business models
  • Climate change and natural resources



Setting the Risk Agenda: Exploring the future of the risk management profession