Enterprise risk management – Helping management to achieve oversight across the institution

Enterprise risk management – Helping management to achieve oversight across the institution

By Sasu Sihvonen, Head of Business Risk, Nordea.

Sasu, can you please tell the Risk Insights readers a little bit about yourself, your experiences and what your current professional focus is?

I spent my early banking career trading FX Options, and moved on to Trading system implementation projects and risk management. The last 10 years or so I’ve spent establishing market, liquidity, information security and operational risk frameworks for Nordea’s New York operation. In my current role as Head of Business risk I do my best to ensure efficient risk management framework implementation from the 1stline of defense point of view.

What, for you, are the benefits of attending a conference like the ‘Operational Risk Management USA Congress’?What can attendees expect to learn from your session?

For me the biggest benefit usually is getting away from your desk and listening to expert speakers and talking to your industry colleagues, and getting new ideas and angles how to approach risk management. Hopefully I can give you couple of new ideas how to simplify and improve the oversight of enterprise risk management.

How can financial institutions effectively add visibility and transparency to the enterprise risk governance framework implementation?

A well thought-out data collection and reporting strategy, and effective use of enterprise governance tools can help adding consistent transparency across the enterprise from strategy down.

 In your opinion, what is the most effective way of collecting and aggregating risk management data? How can this be implemented across other financial institutions?

I think the organization in question needs to have a strategic plan in place how they vision data being collected and used. Quite often I see lot of scattered data that leads to doing things multiple times leading to inefficiencies. A central enterprise management tool, if well implemented, can be helpful in these cases.

How do you see the risk landscape evolving over the next 6-12 months?

I think there’s going to be more and more innovative technologies available for financial supervision, simplifying the compliance effort both from the financial regulators and banks point of view.

We asked Sasu some informal questions...

What three items would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

In addition to a knife and a giant box of matches I would definitely take my Kindle reader, and maybe I could sneak in a solar charger with it.

If you had not taken the career route to become a financial risk professional, what would you be doing right now?

I always been very interested in History, but maybe an engineering career would have been more likely career path than becoming a historian. I’m happy reading historical fiction on my Kindle.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I cannot really name one highlight, but most recently I completed a project implementing risk appetite framework, including establishment of Key Risk Indicators for Operational Risk Management. I’m still pretty proud of that.

What TV show if your guilty pleasure?

In general I really like British and Nordic Crime dramas. Couple of shows that I have watched recently and can highly recommend: Border Town, Tunnel, Luther.


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