A comprehensive risk appetite framework for banks

Philipp Wackerbeck, Paul Hyde, Thorsten Liebert
September 30, 2009

What is risk appetite and why does it matter now?

Definition and objective of risk appetite

The global financial crisis has demonstrated clearly that many banks lacked a proper understanding of their true risk profile and realized too late that it was not in line with their desired risk profile. This forced senior management to explain losses that were a multiple of what shareholders had expected to face. The key lesson learned from this crisis is that financial institutions need to have a comprehensive risk appetite framework in place that helps them better understand and manage their risks by translating risk metrics and methods into strategic decisions, reporting, and day-to-day business decisions.

Risk appetite is considerably more than a sophisticated key performance indicator (KPI) system for risk management. It’s the core instrument for better aligning overall corporate strategy, capital allocation, and risk. Regulators, rating agencies, and professional investors are aggressively pushing banks to advance their risk management practices. A comprehensive risk appetite framework is the cornerstone of a new risk management architecture.

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Dr. Philipp Wackerbeck

Partner, Strategy& Germany

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