For the first time since 2007, damage to brand and reputation has emerged as the top-ranked risk while cyber risk has entered the top 10 for the first time this year.

According to Aon’s 2015 Global Risk Management Survey, the connection between these two risks has been felt around the world in 2014, as a rash of data breaches demonstrated the fragile nature of consumer trust in leading corporations.

Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc unveiled the key risks as identified by its clients across the globe in its 2015 Global Risk Management Survey.

The 1400 survey respondents to the Aon Global Risk Management Survey included CEOs, CFOs and Risk Managers providing comparative insight into different perceptions of risk.

“The insights provided by this survey help us understand how risks are changing as the global environment evolves. Its little surprise to see cyber risk enter the top 10 at the same time we are seeing increasing concern about corporate reputation as the two issues are a great example of the interconnectivity of risk,” says Alicia Goosen, Business Unit Head: Financial Services Group at Aon South Africa.

“What is surprising was the lack of alignment between the Board and the Risk Manager. Such diverse views illustrate how imperative it is that the board of directors has effective and regular communication with risk managers to effectively assess and mitigate the company’s risk exposure,” she continues.

The top 10 risks identified are:

  1. Damage to reputation/brand
  2.  Economic slowdown/slow recovery
  3. Regulatory/legislative changes
  4.  Increasing competition
  5. Failure to attract or retain top talent
  6. Failure to innovate/meet customer needs
  7. Business interruption
  8. Third party liability
  9. Cyber risk (computer crime/hacking/ viruses/malicious codes)
  10. Property damage

“Aon’s 2015 Global Risk Management survey is one of the most comprehensive and insightful surveys available on risk mitigation and reveals a number of different challenges driven by today’s globally inter-dependent environment.

“While new risks such as cyber have moved to centre stage, established risks like damage to reputation or brand, are taking on new dimensions and complexities. The interconnected nature of these risks reinforces the importance of strategic risk management in every organisation,” concludes Alicia.

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