I work in the Business Risk team at Barnett Waddingham and I specialise in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). If you are thinking that you did not know that Barnett Waddingham had a risk practice, don’t worry! This is an exciting new area of the business, which only started up three years ago. It’s a great example of the firm’s eagerness to invest in a new business area.

I initially joined Barnett Waddingham in the London Actuarial Consulting team and moved to Corporate Consulting after four years in the role. About two years ago I joined the Business Risk practice. At that stage, although I was aware of the concept of ERM, I didn’t have any practical experience on how it could be adopted by clients and more importantly, the potential benefits to clients in doing so. I have learnt a huge amount and worked with some exciting prospects and clients since then.

I have found that ERM covers the whole risk spectrum where there is a potential impact on the financial performance, viability and operational stability of an organisation. So, I help clients to identify, quantify and manage these risks.

I achieve this by working closely with the actuarial graduates and qualified actuaries who use their technical skills to help us to solve risk based issues. This is about applying risk management tools and techniques to aid decision making.

The work of a business risk consultant is exciting and varied. Our clients are highly regarded, well-known UK PLCs (household names and brands). Our work starts and ends with the analysis of data and increasingly we are working with complex data sets. Our goal is to make sense of big data and to provide compelling insights that bring tangible benefits either through cost reduction, risk or revenue optimisation.

Our practice benefits from the continued growth of Barnett Waddingham and its ethos of investing in its people. Barnett Waddingham has a long-term vision and strategy to grow the business risk practice as part of its wider offering to corporate clients. In my mind, Corporate Consulting is all about finding ways to help employers manage different risks.

Within the Business Risk team I have been involved with the following:

  • Development and implementation of strategies to grow our brand with potential buyers that may be unfamiliar with Barnett Waddingham.
  • Creation of our propositions and how to deliver them. We use new technology, software solutions and the complimentary skills of our consultants and actuaries to create a multi-disciplinary team pooling Barnett Waddingham’s talent.
  • Using data and actuarial skills to analyse and create meaningful bespoke client insights.
  • Providing strategic risk advice to executives and senior managers regarding specific risk issues.
  • Delivering Beyond the Expected for our clients and enhance the Barnett Waddingham brand as a trusted risk advisor.

The only way to describe a typical a day as a Business Risk Consultant is to say that rarely are two days ever the same! The bespoke nature of our work means we are dynamic and flexible.  To give you a flavour of this I thought it would be useful to list some of the projects that the team has worked on:

  • I spend two days a week working as the in-house Group Risk Advisor to a global FTSE350 company:
    • I present to the Executive Board and Senior Management team regularly on the company’s key risks.
    • I have engaged with different parts of the business to help improve the identification of risk and how it is managed (although arranging a suitable time for conference calls with stakeholders spread across the globe can be interesting!).
  • My work with this client has led to some great discussions on other interesting areas where we may be able to help the client to solve risk based problems: 
    • I completed a major data analysis project to provide greater insight into profitability of various revenue channels to manage their key risk of increasing customer acquisition costs to inform their commercial strategy. I worked with the actuarial students where we adopted a new way of working in the form of ‘hackathons’. Using the R programming and Tableau data visualisation skills of the students with my client knowledge, we were able to provide compelling new insights for the client to adopt in future strategy setting.
    • Gender pay gap reporting.
    • Risks relating to modern slavery and human trafficking.
    • The Criminal Finances Act 2017 - preventing the facilitation of tax evasion.
    • Carbon Disclosure Project - climate risks and opportunities and actions for tackling them.
    • Introducing Barnett Waddingham specialists to the client to help with their Human Resources strategy.
  • I was heavily involved in the development of a market leading Risk Maturity Survey. This has produced responses from over 150 clients and prospects creating a validated benchmark of organisations’ risk maturity.
  • The team worked on site with the CEO and executive management team of a major Airport to help them identify their risk appetite and tolerance for their top risks.

As Barnett Waddingham grows, it continues to be true to its ethos of being a friendly and inclusive place to work. The firm is full of great people in different roles who enable me to go the extra mile in delivering for our clients. 

I get to liaise with internal teams across the organisation from our creative colleagues in marketing for planning our annual risk conference; the design team who help to put together professional and powerful marketing materials and proposals; the IT team that provide technology solutions for us to work dynamically to the highly technical colleagues from the various actuarial teams. 

There is also great social activity and a sense of camaraderie in each of the offices. Whether it is nights out, activities or sports events there is pretty much something for everyone.

As you might expect for a firm of its size and reputation I receive high quality training to support learning and development. Barnett Waddingham has also provided additional training in specialist programming skills to supplement the actuarial knowledge of our team. This helps them quickly sort and analyse complex data sets to provide unique insights. Since joining the team I have completed a project management qualification and the firm is supporting me to through the industry recognised Institute of Risk Management (IRM) qualification.

Our success relies upon analysing problems with a unique perspective. I think the Business Risk team works a little bit differently, but we love solving our client’s problems. Having to use our knowledge and adapt our thinking to our clients’ business keeps the work interesting, thought provoking and gives us unique access to some of the top businesses in the UK. It’s satisfying and rewarding to see our advice really influencing our clients’ businesses. 

Who would have thought? Risk can be…fun!