Every two years, the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA) conducts a benchmarking survey among its members and other risk professionals. The 2012 survey is still open and the results will only be published at our seminar in October, but the questions alone are a good indication of the current trends in risk management and an effort to understand how they will develop over the next two years.


Michel Dennery

Michel Dennery


This is the sixth such survey, and probably the clearest development over the 12 year period that they have taken place is the growing integration of risk management into corporate governance. This is partly as a result of European measures such as the 8th Company Law Directive and the influence of COSO from the United States, and partly as result of demands for greater confidence that businesses understand their risks and are taking suitable decisions to manage them.

Our aim with the survey is to see the extent to which these global trends are emerging by business sectors and by European country. We have, for example, asked how the current financial and economic situation has affected risk management in the respondent’s company or group. Has it led to more risk reporting: internally to executive committees or the audit committee, or externally to stakeholders?

We want to know about the link between risk management and the directors or audit committee. For example, is risk management completely embedded in reporting to the board, only considered when needed, as in a presentation on an important project or investment, or is there simply no formal mechanism in place to ensure such interaction. We hope that all large companies now have risk management completely embedded in their reporting.

This year, we are also interested in the role that stakeholders play in determining the way companies approach risk management. We ask respondents to rank the most important external factors that trigger implementation of a risk management strategy, including pressure from shareholders or rating agencies, a catastrophic event, regulation and commercial issues.

The next question looks at the issues from inside out. What are the main objectives of the board or audit committee with respect to risk management? Here we want to understand to what extent European companies see risk management as a strategic tool, a way of minimising negative events or a means of reassuring stakeholders.

Embedding an enterprise wide policy clearly requires integration of all the risk- related functions, including risk management, internal control, quality and compliance, in the organisation. This is what we recommend in the guidance produced by FERMA and the European Confederation of Institutes of Internal Auditing (ECIIA) on the 8th Directive, and we would like to know to what extent it takes place. Is there today full coordination, some coordination among these functions or do they operate completely independently, so-called silo working?

The survey remains open until 15 June and anyone working in a risk related role, whether FERMA association member or not, can ask to complete it. Contact Silke Huber in the FERMA office at with your name, business title, company name and country.

We will announce the results at the FERMA Seminar in Versailles on 22 and 23 October in Versailles, France. Further information on the Seminar is available on