RISK-ACADEMY’s guide on risk appetite in non-financial companies. Free download

Risk appetite refers to an individual or organization’s willingness to take on risks in pursuit of potential returns. It is an important consideration for businesses, as it can determine the types of investments and strategic decisions they make. A high risk appetite may lead to a focus on high-growth, speculative investments, while a low risk appetite may result in a preference for more conservative, steady returns. It is important for businesses to carefully assess and manage their risk appetite in order to make informed decisions and achieve their financial goals.

But before beginning the conversation about risk appetite, it is important to remember that most non financial organizations have already documented their appetites for different common decisions or business activities. Segregation of duties, financing and deal limits, vendor selection criteria, credit limits, treasury limits on banks, investment criteria, zero tolerance to fraud or safety risks – are all examples of how organizations set risk appetite.

What is risk appetite:

  • 10% of the time risk appetite is imposed by laws and regulations, not set – Often risk appetite is imposed by government, regulators, markets, not set by management. Examples include zero-tolerances or limits on safety, bribery and corruption, AML, pollution, sanctions, privacy.
  • 10% of the time risk appetite is the gentlemen’s agreement between Board and management – Boards have an important oversight role and help them set the direction and boundaries for management decision making. Those management decision making boundaries is risk appetite. Examples include deal approvals only by Board above a certain limit, limits on holding percentage of cash in certain pre-approved banks, market risk limits, credit risk limits, insurance thresholds, rules on credit limits for certain types of customers, limits on investments in different countries, etc.
  • 80% of the time risk appetite is the risk reward trade-off for a specific decision – The key is making uncertainty around decisions presented to the Board transparent to allow decision makers choose the alternative which offers the most appropriate risk reward balance according to their individual appetites.

Download the full guide to read about documenting risk appetite, reviewing risk appetite, case studies and examples and addition video resources:

RISK-ACADEMY’s guide on risk appetite


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