Impact of chief risk officers on agency ERM efforts

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Thomas Brandt, president of AFERM and chief risk officer at the Internal Revenue Service, and David Fisher, managing director of public sector risk consulting at Guidehouse, give takeaways from the 2018 Federal ERM Survey, and what it means for further adoption of the strategy.’


At the 2018 Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management Summit, the results from the 2018 Federal ERM Survey were revealed. The survey, conducted in association with consulting firm Guidehouse, found that the cultural barriers to adoption of ERM still exist across the federal government. However, Thomas Brandt, president of AFERM and chief risk officer at the Internal Revenue Service, says that the survey shows ERM making inroads at federal agencies.

“What is the most insightful about the survey is to see where we have made progress, but then to recognize too that within the federal government community, enterprise risk management is still new. The OMB requirement only came out a couple years ago. I think the survey confirms that we are still in the early stages of ERM implementation, but what we are seeing is that the longer organizations have been committed to enterprise risk management are realizing the benefits… We are also seeing some signs of improvement in organizational culture that I think create an environment that is more risk aware,” Brandt said.

 

David Fisher, managing director of public sector risk consulting at Guidehouse, said that one of the most interesting takeaways from the survey involves chief risk officers.

 

“The agencies that have invested in a chief risk officer to run their ERM program, those organizations are also seeing significantly better performance. That we had not seen in previous years’ surveys,” Fisher told Government Matters. “You can envision the reasons for that. It’s that dedication, saying ‘This is important to my agency, I’m going to pick someone to be a chief risk officer and build a little capability around that person.’ That level of dedication seems to really matter in terms of trying to get positive results.”