Risk Certification, The New Normal
Updated: 5 hours ago
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”– Anthony J. D’Angelo
The 30,000 strong certified risk managers registered with the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) work for top financial institutions and benefit from higher-than-average compensation based on an article published on Wall Street Mojo.
I have always been a big fan of learning on the job. This learning approach suits my personality best and my career path is a text book example of that. I also value the acquisition of knowledge through ongoing learning as part of daily morning routine.
I recently engaged with my team on the topic of risk certification with their development in mind and also wanting to acknowledge their accumulated experience in risk management. We talked about the importance of such recognition and what it meant to do a risk certification, and we came up with our own list of relevant risk certifications.
And it was that discussion, which gave me the idea for this blog. Please note that I can also help you impelment and run your risk and compliance training.
The competition among risk professionals is rising
There are so many risk related jobs available out there that it can be difficult to think about the “competition”.
As I mentioned in the introduction, there is an army 30,000+ strong of certified Financial Risk Managers (FRM®)out there. And this is only one risk certification. I could not find any precise statistics, but I would expect the total number of certified risk managers to be easily in the 100,000s if not more.
Certified individuals are those who decide to go the extra mile to learn and to demonstrate their commitment to their discipline, or to gain access to a new sector. It says a lot about their personality and motivation.
As a recruiting manager, I consider certifications as a plus especially in certain specialised areas such as technology and cyber risk. I am also someone who likes to have a very broad range of perspectives and capabilities in my team; for that reason, my team is partially composed of non-risk professionals. And I find myself favouring people who, though working in a different field, have made the effort to show their commitment to learn about the new discipline they want to move into.
On its own, a certification is not enough to land a job. But it can be a marker when I think about the CVs I have received in the past which pretty much all looked the same. Same experience; same type of companies …
I suspect the risk discipline will reach the stage where having a risk certification is going to become the norm. At that point, the added value of the piece of paper will not be a higher salary, it will be getting a job. I have observed a similar trend with the Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®) in certain parts of the asset management industry.
To stay ahead of the curve, and the competition, collecting certifications is likely to become a must have rather than a nice to have.
Risk certifications have a value
In 2016, Simplilearn found that having an online certification could increase salaries by 20-40%.
I would put an immediate disclaimer to this statement: it is never clear to me whether such findings are the result of the certification or are explained by the people answering the survey being in higher paid job.
That said, many certifications, for example the CFA®, give access to well-paid jobs not always available to people without such certifications. In addition, the article from Wall Street Mojo gives some interesting insights on average remuneration of FRM holders.
Looking beyond risk management, there is a wealth of information available out there for the IT or Health section. For example, 81% of North American IT departments are currently affected by skill gaps and therefore actively looking for talent, and that's valid even now during the pandemic. This has a direct impact on the value of IT certifications as shown in this PC article.
Finally, and like for any type of education programme, the credibility of the institute you choose needs to be factored in.
Using a certification to learn new skills and techniques
When I took the FRM®, I found it very well structured and holistic. It connected the dots fairly neatly across regulation, capital management and risk management.
For someone who needs to get that broad understanding, it is an excellent way to get exposed to the foundational components of risk management.
There is a very diverse and specialised offering out there. From climate risk to Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), you can learn on a lot of topics.
And on a more personal note, I find that risk certifications tend to focus on the basics and well-established frameworks and methodologies. I would love to see more innovative approach to risk management, similar to what you would find in technology or healthcare.
A short list of risk certifications
With all of that said, here is a “short-list” of risk certifications:
Institute of Risk Management (https://www.theirm.org)
- International Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management
- International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management
- International Diploma in Risk Management
- Digital Risk Management Certificate
- Supply Chain Risk Management Certificate
- Professional Risk Manager
- Financial Risk Manager
Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (https://www.cisi.org/)
- Advanced Certificate in Operational Risk
- Diploma in investment Operations
The Institute of Operational Risk (https://www.ior-institute.org/education/corm-syllabus)
- Certificate in Operational Risk Management
Society of Actuaries (https://www.soa.org)
- Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst
National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research (https://www.scic.com)
- Certified Risk Manager
- Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC®)
I will always remain someone who learns on the job. I took the FRM to anchor the experience I had accumulated after learning on the job for many years.
I must also confess I miserably failed at the CFA®. I passed level 1 and then never managed to get through level 2 mostly by lack of interest and relevance in my field … oh, well!
I am now contemplating expanding and learning new skills for example by taking the Diploma in Investment Operations from CISI, or focusing on Climate Risk and ESG.
I am a generalist. My attitude toward learning has always been:
“learn enough to be dangerous but not so much that I become the specialist.
Certifications give me the opportunity to expand my base of knowledge and be able to ask candid but difficult questions on a broad range of topics. And this makes me more effective at my job.
I would love to hear more about your thoughts on continuous development and certifications. Feel free to share your thoughts in comment
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