Risk becoming a bigger concern for companies says survey

According to a Deloitte survey, 81 percent of executives say they have an explicit focus on managing risk

There may be certain sets of best practices to follow when dealing with risk and compliance issues, but for in-house counsel, how important is risk exactly? If a recent survey by Deloitte is any indication, risk and compliance should be near the top of the list.

According to a Deloitte survey released on Oct. 1, most C-suite executives would like to place a higher focus on risk and compliance moving forward. 81 percent of those surveyed said they have an explicit focus on managing risk. In addition, two-thirds of respondents said that compliance is a board-level concern and that the CEO, board or board risk committee has oversight when it comes to managing risk.

Companies are learning to navigate the murky waters of risk and compliance with greater ease, and that has resulted in major changes to company compliance strategies. 94 percent of those surveyed said that their company’s approach to compliance has changed within the past three years. Of those that changed, 52 percent said that their company has increased the budget for risk and compliance issues.

The results of the survey startled some experts. “I was surprised by the numbers, they were higher than we anticipated,” Henry Ristuccia, global leader of governance, risk and compliance at Deloitte, told The Wall Street Journal. “It will continue to increase and will be an ongoing challenge for organizations in the social media world we live in, where things like reputation and brand get affected in lightning speed.”

Indeed, reputation and brand does seem to be a top concern for those on the survey. 40 percent said reputation was their top risk and compliance concern, compared with only 26 percent in 2010. 32 percent reported the company’s business model as their top concern, with 27 percent saying economic trends of competition.

The survey interviewed over 300 C-suite respondents from the Americas (33 percent), Europe/Middle East/Africa (33 percent) and Asia/Pacific (34 percent), receiving input from all corners of the globe. Of those who responded, over 80 percent were C-suite level executives, while board members and specialized risk executives comprised the remaining respondents.

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