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  Issue 21 | Archive November 2014

UOB¡¯s CRO Talks about the Evolving Role of an Effective Risk Manager

On 19 September 2014, Mr. Chan Kok Seong, the Chief Risk Officer of United Overseas Bank (UOB) gave a talk to a group of more than 60 Master of Science in Financial Engineering (MFE) students and alumni on the evolving role of an effective risk manager.

As part of a series of talks RMI has organized to deepen its MFE students¡¯ understanding of the financial services industry, Mr. Chan¡¯s session has provided insights into the risk manager¡¯s role in the post crisis era. He shared that the global financial crisis exposed weakness in risk management and forced banks to take a critical look at how they manage risk. ¡°It has catalyzed the strengthened role for risk management, with far greater focus on areas such as risk culture, risk governance, role of CRO, risk appetite and stress testing,¡± noted Mr. Chan, a senior banker with more than 25 years of banking experience.

After sharing with the audience the different risk classes across credit, market and operational, he presented UOB¡¯s material risk assessment framework and relevant mechanisms. He then went on to highlight the four key attributes that are critical to a successful risk manager in today¡¯s banking world. They included a good grasp of global macroeconomic trends and emerging risks, active knowledge of business and commercial dynamics, effective two-way communication between stakeholders, and the courage to challenge.

Ultimately, ¡°risk management is about people and processes and not about models and technology,¡± opined Mr. Chan, who was the CEO of UOB (Malaysia) prior to assuming his appointment as the group CRO in September 2012. ¡°As a process, it must be internally motivated and not regulatory-driven,¡± he concluded.

¡°I really enjoyed Mr. Chan¡¯s talk and appreciated the candid insights he has shared with us. It made me to reflect on my daily job and gave me a refreshed perspective on risk management,¡± feedbacked one MFE student who is currently working in a bank.

The series of MFE talks, which started from August, have featured senior practitioners from various industry sectors including private banking, investment banking, commercial banking and hedge fund. ¡°This is part of our initiatives to cater to the growing demand for guidance and career services of our MFE students,¡± shared Prof. Steven Kou, RMI Director and MFE Program Director. Launched in 1999, the MFE program now is RMI¡¯s flagship education program and admits about 90 students every August.

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Published quarterly by Risk Management Institute, NUS
Editor: Ivy Wang (rmiwy@nus.edu.sg)