City View Gherkin

Risk Consulting

Collaborative consultancy that embeds risk considerations within your business to unlock your potential.

Consulting from the inside out

Our consulting team combines deep financial services industry experience and specialised expertise in risk and governance with innovative thinking. Our pragmatic, progressive and empowering approach enables us to work with you to build resilience, integrate sustainability, master data, deliver transformation and enhance your strategy in a way that optimises decision-making and creates lasting value.

The financial services industry is facing an unprecedented period of change. We are trusted by a broad range of financial services companies, with a focus on insurance and asset management, to help them thrive and achieve success in this changing environment.

We work with a range of leading organisations who see us as a genuine, collaborative business partner - from large multi-national corporations to innovative start-ups.

Helping clients overcome key challenges

Building resilience
Integrating sustainability
Mastering data
Delivering transformation
Enhancing strategy
Building resilience

We can help you to thrive in today’s fast moving, interconnected business environment by responding to and understanding uncertainty.

What's your challenge?

  • The operational risk environment has shifted - threats to the resilience of businesses are more dynamic, more complex and more sophisticated.
  • Organisations need to change their perspective to recognise that stresses and disruptions will occur, and there's an increased focus on the way they respond and adapt.
  • Approaching building resilience as more than a compliance exercise can help companies to optimise operational decisions and build trust.

We believe investing in operational resilience leads to significant commercial benefits. Focusing first on how approaches deliver value ensures they are embedded, while meeting regulatory requirements as a by-product. Executed well, operational resilience helps organisations to respond and adapt more effectively, build customer trust and achieve strategic outcomes by design. 

We can help you:

  • Assess and develop your operational resilience approach.
  • Understand and strengthen your information security culture and enhance digital security.
  • Design, implement and optimise your approach to third party risk management.
  • Add strategic value while ensuring your firm meets regulatory expectations.

What do we bring?

user-group-home

Practical, award winning industry specialists who understand your business.

 

user-group

We work with you shoulder to shoulder to build capability.

 content-book-settings

Practical, experienced team in helping you to assess resilience and develop your approach.

 

 sport-dumbbell-2

Proven, industry leading methodologies and tools.


CIR Business Continuity Awards 2020 - Adviser of the Year - Winner Justin Elks, Managing Director, Crowe UK.
Integrating sustainability

We can help you to deliver improved performance by putting environmental, social and governance considerations at the heart of your organisation.  

What's your challenge?

  • Our world is facing increasing environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges.
  • Insurers, asset managers and wider financial services organisations have a key role in protecting society, providing security, managing risk and supporting economic growth.
  • This creates diverse, complex and interconnected risks, which presents new strategic opportunities.

We help you put ESG considerations at the heart of your organisation, so that you can manage the risks faced and capture the opportunities for your business. By aligning ESG considerations with your strategy, we help you to focus on activity that has the greatest impact on performance.

We can help you:

  • Develop a clear ESG strategy that supports decision making.
  • Integrate ESG and sustainability into risk management.
  • Address the risk and opportunities in climate change.
  • Enhance your operations and governance to address sustainability.
  • Achieve effective ESG management and compliance.

What do we bring?

user-group-home

Practical, experienced specialists who understand your business.

 

user-group

Working with you as 'one team' to support embedding.

 content-book-settings

Translating technical ESG issues to enable their impact to be addressed pragmatically.

 

 sport-dumbbell-2

Strengths in governance, risk, resilience, scenario modelling, data, change and transformation.

 

“Crowe carried out high-level reviews of the sustainability strategy as it was being created and gave valuable input and challenge, that in turn led to important wider discussions around certain aspects of ESG and sustainability.  Crowe played a key role in highlighting the wider business issues and implications of the topics we had raised, so that the Executive and Board could consider and address them. Crowe’s people were very knowledgeable on the subject of sustainability.  As they have previously worked with us, they have a good understanding of our business model.  This helped them to form an overall view of how sustainability could be integrated here at Just, and to provide highly relevant, practical and tailored advice.” 

- Alex Duncan, Group Chief Risk Officer. Just Group plc. 


Managing Climate: Change Risk and ESG

Mastering data

We can help you to unlock the value of data through the innovative and practical application of governance, technology and analytics.

What's your challenge?

  • Enormous power lies dormant in data, but accessing and utilising that power is often harder than it first appears.
  • Overcoming of the constraints which prevent progress.
  • Delivering actionable insights for long-term planning and decision making.
  • Enhancing competitive advantage and defining market leadership. 
  • Articulating and maintaining an end-to-end vision for your data.

We aim to help you better understand your customers and their needs, utilising our data solutions to help you achieve your objectives. Our approach helps you improve your processes, making them more efficient and cost effective.

We can help you to:

  • Set measurable objectives and deliver upon them.
  • Implement advanced analytics and establish key insights.
  • Manage your data and model risk.
  • Transition with process and change management.

What do we bring?

user-group-home

Practical, experienced specialists who understand your business.

 

user-group

Working with you as 'one team' to support embedding.

  sport-dumbbell-2

Strengths in data, governance, scenario modelling, data science, transformation and change.

 

Find out more about our Mastering Data approach

Delivering transformation

We can help to enable you to deliver successful, value adding transformation through process, technology, organisational and cultural change.

What's your challenge?

  • The complexity and volatility of business environments are increasing, consumer behaviours and employee attitudes are changing. 
  • Designing and delivering successful transformation is often difficult for firms to get right in practice. 
  • Organisations find it increasingly difficult to respond to and exploit key opportunities that would drive growth and development.

We deliver transformation through process, technology, organisation and cultural change, targeting those areas in which we can deliver significant value, while leaving you in control. Our experienced team can help you overcome the challenges in delivering successful transformation, with a practical mindset and approach that will help you sustain your success in the long-term.

We can help you:

  • Mobilise, design, deliver and assure your transformation programme, working collaboratively with your teams.
  • Deliver complex change successfully via advisory, delivery subject matter expertise or resource augmentation.
  • Plan and deliver supporting activities in areas such as operating models, organisation design, resource modelling, process analysis and culture change.
  • Deliver transformation that is sustainable over the long-term, upskilling and training your team.
  • Help you select, implement and integrate governance, risk and compliance technology into your business, leveraging our framework and expertise.

What do we bring?

user-group-home

Practical experienced specialists who understand your business and why change is difficult.

 

user-group

Working with you as 'one team' to support transformation.

 content-book-settings

Simplifying the complexity of transformation project issues to enable successful embedding.

 

 sport-dumbbell-2

Strengths in programme and change management, target operating models, risk and governance.

Enhancing strategy

We can help to empower you to deliver your strategic outcomes through optimised decision making, governance and risk management.

What's your challenge?

  • Over the past decade, there has been significant investment in governance, risk and compliance, driven by regulation.
  • A focus on meeting regulatory requirements has not always led to commercial value.
  • Governance, risk and compliance approaches need to demonstrate value and deliver improved efficiency and effectiveness.

We believe making pragmatic, practical and proportionate improvements to governance, risk and compliance can unlock real value in strategy and decision making. We think governance, risk and compliance needs to be tailored, and for there to be a focus first on achieving organisations’ strategic outcomes, while meeting regulatory requirements as a by-product.

We can help you to:

  • Unlock the value of your governance, risk and compliance approaches.
  • Enhance operating models and frameworks to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of approaches.
  • Develop and embed tools and techniques to give people the motivation and tools to manage risk effectively. 
  • Review and benchmark the efficiency and value delivered by governance, risk and compliance practices.

    Crowe has been appointed to the PRA’s & FCA’s panel of firms that is able to carry out Skilled Person reviews under Section 166 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, in relation to Governance & Individual Accountability (Lot B) and Controls and Risk Management Frameworks (Lot C).  


What do we bring?

user-group-home

A team rich in experience in delivering successful governance, risk and compliance programmes.

 

user-group

Working with you as 'one team' to transfer knowledge.

 content-book-settings

A focus on improving efficiency and effectiveness to provide value while meeting regulatory expectations.

 

 sport-dumbbell-2

Strengths in governance, risk, compliance, actuarial strategy, change and transformation.

 

How we have helped our clients

These client case studies are six examples of where we have helped clients to achieve their strategic objectives and create lasting value.
1. Building resilience - Challenge
A large general insurer wanted to enhance their operational resilience approach.
Solution
We ran a series of workshops, assessed their current position using our gap analysis tool, then jointly developed a roadmap to tackle any shortcomings.
Outcome
We supported the business to deliver the roadmap, enhance underlying capabilities and improve resilience, while meeting regulatory expectations.
2. Integrating sustainability - Challenge
A composite  insurer and asset manager were struggling to mobilise the delivery of their ESG programme of their climate change and ESG programme.
Solution
We reviewed the programme, refined the scope and structure, provided programme and project management expertise and helped to develop and evaluate strategic options in respect of climate change and sustainability.
Outcome
Programme established with strong leadership, governance and effective co-ordination and engagement. Programme objectives clearly defined, with tangible outcomes and benefits aligned to board strategy.
 3. Mastering data - Challenge
An insurer wanted to extract value from their data and determine the factors that might influence potential customer propensity to buy a financial product.
Solution
We collaboratively designed, developed and implemented an advanced model using machine learning to analyse characteristics and behaviours, and to make predictions on customer behaviour.
Outcome
By combining human process and modelling expertise we helped the client increase their understanding of customer behaviour, increase sales conversion and improve process efficiency.
4. Delivering transformation - Challenge
A financial services firm wanted to transform its international financial operations and reporting.
Solution
We designed and delivered a new operating model, re-designed and mapped revised processes and controls, introduced new data warehouse technologies and delivered enhanced reporting. We worked alongside and coached new team members to support sustainable embedding.
Outcome
Significant enhancements were made to the cost-effectiveness of finance processes, by automating processes enhancing management control and embedding local ownership.
5. Delivering transformation, implementing GRC technology - Challenge
A wealth management client needed help implementing a suite of governance, risk and compliance technology solutions to create a more efficient and effective, compliant risk management environment.
Solution
We identified potential challenges and developed an implementation roadmap aligned to their priorities, then developed and implemented a suite of applications to help the firm reduce its reliance on end user computing solutions.
Outcome
Risk management capabilities were enhanced and processes were made more efficient, giving a single source of truth for reporting. This enhanced ownership of risk across the client’s business, and increased control effectiveness and the cost-efficiency of risk management.
6. Enhancing strategy - Challenge
A life and asset management business wanted to transform its risk and capital management.
Solution
We undertook an independent review, identifying that the framework required significant development. Using our detailed understanding of regulation and best practice risk and capital management, we helped the client embed a proportionate operating model and sub-components to enhance risk-based decision making.
Outcome
Rapid progress was made to meet internal and external expectations, endorsed through a Skilled Person review. We have since worked as a genuine business partner with this client to help embed risk considerations even further into decision making.
1. Building resilience - Challenge
A large general insurer wanted to enhance their operational resilience approach.
Solution
We ran a series of workshops, assessed their current position using our gap analysis tool, then jointly developed a roadmap to tackle any shortcomings.
Outcome
We supported the business to deliver the roadmap, enhance underlying capabilities and improve resilience, while meeting regulatory expectations.
2. Integrating sustainability - Challenge
A composite  insurer and asset manager were struggling to mobilise the delivery of their ESG programme of their climate change and ESG programme.
Solution
We reviewed the programme, refined the scope and structure, provided programme and project management expertise and helped to develop and evaluate strategic options in respect of climate change and sustainability.
Outcome
Programme established with strong leadership, governance and effective co-ordination and engagement. Programme objectives clearly defined, with tangible outcomes and benefits aligned to board strategy.
 3. Mastering data - Challenge
An insurer wanted to extract value from their data and determine the factors that might influence potential customer propensity to buy a financial product.
Solution
We collaboratively designed, developed and implemented an advanced model using machine learning to analyse characteristics and behaviours, and to make predictions on customer behaviour.
Outcome
By combining human process and modelling expertise we helped the client increase their understanding of customer behaviour, increase sales conversion and improve process efficiency.
4. Delivering transformation - Challenge
A financial services firm wanted to transform its international financial operations and reporting.
Solution
We designed and delivered a new operating model, re-designed and mapped revised processes and controls, introduced new data warehouse technologies and delivered enhanced reporting. We worked alongside and coached new team members to support sustainable embedding.
Outcome
Significant enhancements were made to the cost-effectiveness of finance processes, by automating processes enhancing management control and embedding local ownership.
5. Delivering transformation, implementing GRC technology - Challenge
A wealth management client needed help implementing a suite of governance, risk and compliance technology solutions to create a more efficient and effective, compliant risk management environment.
Solution
We identified potential challenges and developed an implementation roadmap aligned to their priorities, then developed and implemented a suite of applications to help the firm reduce its reliance on end user computing solutions.
Outcome
Risk management capabilities were enhanced and processes were made more efficient, giving a single source of truth for reporting. This enhanced ownership of risk across the client’s business, and increased control effectiveness and the cost-efficiency of risk management.
6. Enhancing strategy - Challenge
A life and asset management business wanted to transform its risk and capital management.
Solution
We undertook an independent review, identifying that the framework required significant development. Using our detailed understanding of regulation and best practice risk and capital management, we helped the client embed a proportionate operating model and sub-components to enhance risk-based decision making.
Outcome
Rapid progress was made to meet internal and external expectations, endorsed through a Skilled Person review. We have since worked as a genuine business partner with this client to help embed risk considerations even further into decision making.
business people in meeting

The Crowe NED Club

The Crowe Non-Executive Club is an opportunity for you to hear the opinions of your peers and discuss your own points of view. It's a chance to compare notes and exchange perspectives on the real issues and practical challenges in undertaking the demanding role of being a Non Executive Director in financial services business or in other progressive organisations. 

Contact us to find out more

As one member has commented previously "the most valuable CPD is talking to other Non-Executives". Attendees benefit from exposure to new and different ideas, best achieved through discussion with peers outside of their organisations under Chatham House Rules, rather than simply through education and training.

The Club is chaired by Jim Sutcliffe, an experienced Board Chairman, Non-Executive Director and CEO, and a previous Board member of the Financial Reporting Council.

Example topics of discussion

Operational resilience - what is it, and what does it mean to NEDs' oversight

Since the publication in July 2018 of a joint Discussion Paper between the Bank of England and the FCA, there has been much discussion and debate between risk and compliance professionals, information security specialists and regulators, on operational resilience. As the resulting Consultation Paper is expected imminently, now is a good time to broaden this discussion to include Non-Executive Directors, given the importance of Board engagement.

At its heart, the outcome of effective operational resilience is simple: a business that can, and is confident it can, withstand, absorb and recover from stresses and disruption whilst delivering promises to customers. As ever with regulatory initiatives, this comes with new things to think about, including:

  • Consideration of operational resilience focused on critical business services; the most important products or services a company provides to its customers.
  • Having defined critical business services, companies should set impact tolerances — the amount of disruption that can be tolerated in the event of an incident — then test whether this condition can be met.
  • Operational resilience embodies a shift in mindset: assume systems will be disrupted, and focus on back-up plans, responses and recovery options to deal with this disruption.

Boards are expected to play a critical role in operational resilience as part of their responsibility to ensure a sound and well run business.

This includes setting clear standards, prioritising critical business services, defining impact tolerances, roles Audit / Tax / Advisory / Risk / Performance Smart decisions. Lasting value. Operational resilience – what is it, and what does it mean to NEDs? oversight, identifying critical dependencies on third parties and critical providers, and being actively engaged in a company’s plans. This is an extension of current regulatory thinking where, for example, Boards are already being asked to take responsibility for cyber resilience.

Well-intentioned, regulatory-sponsored change has often been a two edged sword in developing effective, cost efficient management approaches. For example, the recent focus on conduct has in many firms led to its own separate, siloed framework rather than an integrated part of business decision making. Increasingly Boards are seeking to engage with operational risks, including cyber, which are more important, more dynamic and more likely to crystallise than before; however, operational risk approaches are often seen as requiring significant business time but not focusing on the big issues, offering little in the way of strategic value.

As NEDs start to engage with their management teams on this, there is value in considering how their organisations can maximise their return on investment in operational resilience, seeking to avoid the issues previously experienced with regulatory-driven change. Whilst operational resilience could be seen as another regulatory fad, there is value and significant benefits for stakeholders if approached in the right way. In particular, operational resilience can bring insights into how operational delivery and a company’s business model is supporting the delivery of business strategy, and how changes can help to optimise the business model, improve performance and build resilience.

Thought of this way, operational resilience isn’t just about downside risk; it’s also about a business’s ability to capture and manage opportunities.

We see value in Non-Executive Directors asking themselves the following questions in respect of operational resilience:

  • What strategic benefits can be gained from investing in the development of operational resilience?
  • Where are the largest vulnerabilities, or areas for improvement? Are our company’s areas of concern the same as those of their regulators?
  • How can operational resilience drive strategic value, helping us to engage more effectively with operational risk and resilience in a business focused way that aids decision making?
  • How can we avoid operational resilience becoming a separate, siloed framework and approach?
  • Who should lead operational resilience? Should operational resilience activity be primarily the responsibility of first or second line functions?
Are companies really ready for innovation?

There has never been more interest and enthusiasm from companies to use data and technology to drive forward the effective delivery of strategy. It is widely recognised that innovation is required in ordered to remain relevant and competitive. 

Although using data and technology creates fantastic opportunities, generating real business benefits from a technical and operational platform can be difficult to do, especially whilst also avoiding unintended and adverse consequences. 

Introducing and encouraging innovation within a company by ustilising advanced technology (such as machine learning) brings with it a wide range of challenges which may not have arisen before with more traditional projects.

The most successful, and least damaging, initiatives are always those where the vast majority of the likely issues are highlighted right from the outset; and innovation projects are no different. The key to success is being well equipped to collectively identify, and rapidly expand knowledge and expertise in, these new areas. 

At the core, there are many questions that a business needs to explore before embarking on an innovation based project or transformation. These need to span traditional topics, such as cost and delivery, but must also branch out to potentially more unfamiliar areas.

To be effective companies, with the help of their boards, must have a shared, realistic understanding of their current maturity in relation to implementing and executing innovation, with an appropriate and tailored road-map for the future. 

An important part of maturity is understanding the company's definition of success relating to innovation and the genuine appetite for failure. This needs to involve more than paying lip service; there needs to be confidence that it will be demonstrated in practice. 

Consideration of the new and wider issues that innovation brings, such as culture, potential unintended biases and explainability of complex models, prior to presentation of live opportunities, will place companies in the best position to proceed and be successful.

Ensuring success and protecting the business when dealing with innovation requires up front broad and careful consideration of key questions, including:

  • What are the non-traditional topics or areas that need to be considered but have a tendency to be forgotten?
  • What adverse scenarios do we need to consider and how do we generate the range of possibilities? 
  • What new skill-sets might be required at senior levels and what are the options that are available to secure them?
  • How do we assess the company's readiness for, and maturity to manage, innovation and what steps can we put in place to make appropriate changes?
  • How do we balance the need to communicate with and get buy-in from, a vast number of stakeholders with the need for pace and delivery?
  • How do we manage and maintain enthusiasm alongside the reality of dealing with day to day issues and challenges?
ESG and climate: The growing challenge and opportunity

We put Environmental, Social & Governance considerations (ESG) on our May 2020 Crowe NED club agenda, as we felt the topics were shifting into the political, regulatory and corporate mainstream. Discussions at that meeting were, quite naturally, dominated by the board leadership challenges of COVID-19; but when we touched on ESG and sustainability there were some significant differences of view. Some attendees strongly felt that work in this area would need to be deferred to enable economic recovery from the pandemic, while others believed that firms should embed ESG consideration more proactively now.

The pandemic has illustrated that companies are capable of changing entrenched ways of working to a degree perhaps not realised; in some cases it has also shown that these adjustments, made at a time of crisis, can bring significant costs and risks. The pandemic, like many crises, has resulted in a re-appraisal of individual and corporate purpose, with a notable shift towards expectations that companies not only deliver financial performance, but also make a positive contribution to society.

Whatever your viewpoint it is clear that the subject of ESG in general, and climate change in particular, will be a significant focus for 2021. In July 2020, the PRA set the expectation that firms should have fully embedded their approaches to managing climate-related financial risks by the end of 2021. The Climate Financial Risk Forum (chaired by PRA and FCA) produced a guide for industry on how to approach climate disclosure, risk management, scenario analysis and innovation.

The PRA also provided feedback that firms’ strategic responses need to be clearer and climate-related financial risks better considered. In November, the Governor of the Bank of England highlighted the challenges of transitioning to net zero emissions, and the key role the Bank sees the UK financial system having – to be resilient to risks from climate change and to play a key role in facilitating relevant investment in the economy. To encourage this, a climate stress test exercise  will be launched in June 2021, and firms are being given the clear hint to think about whether additional capital needs to be held against these risks. 

The FCA is requiring premium listed companies to improve climate disclosures for reporting periods beginning 1st January 2021 – the start of a longer-term trend. The FCA is consulting in the first half of the year on widening the scope further, introducing Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) obligations on asset managers, life insurers and pension providers and shifting from “comply or explain” to mandatory disclosure. The FCA is aiming to bring in disclosure rules for the largest firms by 2022, and the Chancellor will require all large companies and financial institutions to disclose climate risk information by 2025.

Whether or not firms want to focus on climate change, it looks like they are going to have to. While regulatory focus can help to create impetus, it does raise the risk that firms don’t address ESG and climate considerations in a sincere way and we see “greenwashing”. 

Crowe’s viewpoint is that for ESG to really be a success, not only do each of the E, S and G elements need to develop and progress to support the organisation’s strategy and purpose; there also needs to be a greater degree of linkage and integration between them. This integration is difficult to achieve through regulation alone, and requires organisations to see the benefits that can be realised through a joined-up approach. Activity needs to be focused, prioritised, and explicitly linked to an organisation’s purpose and strategy.

Our January 2021 meeting provides a great opportunity to consider the following important questions:

  • What is the business case for investing in ESG and climate for your organisations? What costs and benefits do you see? Will capital increase? How will you measure the benefits?
  • Should the focus be meeting regulatory expectations and managing risks; or on capturing value, for example through new products, investments and financing methods?
  • Should the focus be purely on climate change, or should there be a more integrated approach to ESG?
  • What are the key risks and challenges to overcome, and what role can the board play? How do you balance the short and long-term? Does board governance need to be refined?
  • How do you bring your people and other stakeholders, including third parties, with you on the journey?
  • How will financial services companies be expected to influence their investees in respect of ESG and climate? What challenges does this bring, for example to outsourced asset management?

Insights

To gain further traction, the ESG concepts and benefits need to be better understood by people and the organisations they represent.
Being transparent about the data you collect and what it is used for.
Companies often wax lyrical about wanting to encourage their people to be creative and innovative.
Our Innovation Volcano framework is developed to assist with the challenges experienced in innovation projects.
Innovation can be a rollercoaster. Those excited can focus on the positives, but those daunted often focus on the barriers and complexities.
To gain further traction, the ESG concepts and benefits need to be better understood by people and the organisations they represent.
Being transparent about the data you collect and what it is used for.
Companies often wax lyrical about wanting to encourage their people to be creative and innovative.
Our Innovation Volcano framework is developed to assist with the challenges experienced in innovation projects.
Innovation can be a rollercoaster. Those excited can focus on the positives, but those daunted often focus on the barriers and complexities.

Contact us

Daniel Bruce
Daniel Bruce
Partner, Risk Consulting
London
Justin Baxter
Justin Baxter
Partner, Risk Consulting
London

ERM awards  ERM awards

 

BCA awards