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Executive perspectives: Top five risks


The Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2017 research was conducted by North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative and Protiviti

  • Economic conditions in domestic and international markets – This risk represents the top overall risk and the level of concern is noticeably higher when compared to the two prior years. 72% of respondents rated this risk as a ‘significant impact’ risk.
  • Regulatory change and heightened regulatory scrutiny – This risk continues to represent a major source of uncertainty among the majority of organisations; 66% of respondents rated this risk as a ‘significant impact’ risk. This risk was the overall top risk in the prior four years of this survey, but it was edged out by concerns related to economic conditions in 2017.
  • Managing cyber threats – Threats related to cyber security continue to be of concern as respondents focus on how events might disrupt core operations. This risk continues to be the top operational risk overall.
  • Rapid speed of disruptive innovation – New to the list of top five risks is the risk of the speed in which disruptive innovation or new technologies might emerge that outpace an organisation’s ability to keep up and remain competitive. With advancements in digital technologies and rapidly changing business models, respondents are focused on whether their organisations are agile enough to respond to sudden developments that alter customer expectations and change their core business model.
  • Privacy and identity protection – Respondents ranked this risk as a top five risk for the first time in 2016 and it continues as a top five risk. The inclusion of this risk in the top five is consistent with the increasing number of reports of hacking and other forms of cyber intrusion that compromise sensitive personal information.

Further reading

Risk management in an age of uncertainty

Organisation-wide risk management in action at SSE