It won’t be over after Covid-19: Pandemics and operational resilience

Simon Ashby





Introduction to Part I: The origins of non-financial risk management


The complete history of operational risk regulation (abridged)


Financial institutions and non-financial risk: Learning from the corporate approach


The painful financial side of NFR


“Risk management is about managing risk” and “It’s all about people”: Psychology might be more important than models


The confusion of Babel: What’s in the name NFR – taxonomy

Introduction to Part II: Governance of non-financial risk management


“It’s the culture, stupid”: Risk culture as the key building block of NFR management – and why some banks have come through the Covid-19 pandemic better than others


Do you know who is who? Three lines of defence in the context of NFR


Herding cats? NFR divisions as truly diverse units


“Just do it!”: Partially self-organising governance structures for NFR frameworks

Introduction to Part III: Tools and instruments for non-financial risk management


A risk by any other name: Identification, classification and agendas


Old but gold? Mastering the RCSA despite Covid-19


Biases in scenario analyses and how to mitigate them


When scenarios are not severe enough: Stress testing for non-financial risk


Ending NFR in NFR: From Excel sheets to professional IT systems for NFR management


Breaking up with risk management: Using the power of controls for good not the prevention of evil

Introduction to Part IV: Focus areas of non-financial risk management


It won’t be over after Covid-19: Pandemics and operational resilience


Dealing with IT complexity and innovation: Delivering business resilience and customer outcomes


Protecting the new gold: Information security


Conduct risk and the impact of Covid-19


From lawsuits to models: Compliance risk and financial crime


Others are doing it cheaper: But can they really? Opportunities and risks in outsourcing


Managing reputation and stakeholders

Introduction to Part V: The future of non-financial risk management


ESG risk as a new (and very important) trigger for NFR


Looking into the crystal ball: What will NFR management look like in 2030?


This time will be different: An alternative future of NFR management


Right time, right place: The drive for change in operational and non-financial risk

On February 22, 2020, I was waiting to board a Eurostar train from Brussels back to the UK. I spotted two passengers wearing masks and inwardly smiled to myself. My perspective at the time was that the virus might well reach Europe, but it would be contained quickly like previous pandemics, and in any event the health risks associated with Covid-19 were lower than those other virus outbreaks. “Why bother?”, I thought. Soon after, much of Europe was in lockdown and routine travel was banned.


Reflecting on this experience, I must admit to being a victim of hubris. I was overconfident about the containment of the virus, and grossly underestimated the scale of the human, business and economic impact coming our way. I am sure many people, organisations and governments exhibited similar hubris, including seasoned non-financial risk professionals such as myself. The questions now are: what can we learn from Covid-19 in terms of operational resilience, and how can we prepare for the pandemics of the future?

However, the word “pandemic” not only refers to medical events, but also the global transmission of a wide variety of extreme non-financial shocks and

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