Superannuation risk management practices in question

Superannuation funds and investment banks had the poorest risk cultures, according to respondents at the Actuaries Institute Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) seminar.

Just over one quarter said the risk culture within super funds warranted the most attention, while the same amount, 26 per cent, said investment banks were the riskiest financial institution.

Retail banks were seen as having the most robust ERM practices by 38 per cent of respondents, followed by insurance companies and then life insurance companies.

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Only 6 per cent believed Australia was a leader in enterprise risk management, although 40 per cent said the local financial services industry was performing above-average by international enterprise risk management standards.

The biggest opportunities for improvement were in ensuring risk considerations influenced strategy and business planning, 40 per cent of respondents said; while 19 per cent said the industry needed to focus on appropriate governance, review, and the adjusting of risk models.

Actuaries Institute chief executive Melinda Howes said longevity risk provided super funds and insurers with opportunities to respond to risk considerations.

"Australian financial services organisations need to ensure ERM practices are part of their company DNA," she said.

"ERM means responding to your environment and optimising opportunities - not just downside protection.

"Risk considerations should be part of every business decision made by an organisation, and should be fundamental to business strategy. This includes upside risk - for example, longevity risk presents super funds and insurers with some great opportunities," Howes said.

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