By its very nature, risk management is a crossover discipline as risks almost never come as a single event and similar risks may have different impacts.
Risk management has all the hallmarks of a modern discipline, where the solidity of technical competencies must be accompanied by so-called soft skills and the ability to look forward to varied scenarios.
This is why technical skills and a methodological approach, combined with the ability to communicate and liaise with fellow managers and executives across the company, are basic tenets for the risk manager.
This fluid and wide range of responsibilities, which differ from sector to sector and company to company, perhaps explains why it is hard to find training programmes in Italy for risk managers within the traditional university sector.
For this reason, risk managers have learned much through field experience that is often supplemented by training and specialist courses outside of the traditional university sector.
Marco Terzago, head of group risk control and area risk manager global coordinator for Sweden-based international engineering group SKF, has a typical profile in this sense.
After a degree in economics, law and engineering, Mr Terzago gained his degree in management engineering while working at a quality management system company, then as a risk engineer at an insurance firm and later at the Pirelli group.
This career allowed him to blend engineering and insurance skills. A long-term director of Italian risk and insurance management association Anra, Mr Terzago is one of three members of its training committee, together with Valentina Paduano, CRO at French engineering group SOGEFI, and Gianluigi Lucietto, a member of the Risk Consulting Network group of independent risk management consultants.
“The basic skills useful for risk managers belong to the economic-financial, juridical and engineering areas. There are no specific undergraduate courses focused on risk management at the moment. However, a plethora of training modules exist, and they may become the foundations for creating a Master’s degree,” explained Mr Terzago.
“Elements of business economics and finance, analysis of financial statements, statistics and law are vital for such a profession. With regard to operators in the manufacturing sector, such skills may be connected with a technical background, built up through university courses such as environmental safety, industrial plants, project management, statistics, probability and the like. All of the aforementioned are educational areas that can provide an overall framework of some of the cornerstones of risk management,” he added.
Crossover soft skills must then be added to the basic knowledge, as they are vital for an interaction with every sector of enterprise and for the creation of the risk culture that underlies true company growth. The need for refresher courses together with the tangible value gained by interacting with experts in other fields should be regarded as the third element, explained Mr Terzago.
Several Master’s degree and specialisation courses have emerged over the years. Some of them are more technical and sectoral in nature, while others are more focused on risk governance.
“The Postgraduate Specialisation Course in Risk Management by the University of Verona (which held its 26th edition this year) and the Master’s degree in Risk Engineering & Management (the 23rd session has just ended) provided by Cineas, a consortium established by the Milan Polytechnic, have had an important role in the field of education and training for risk management, as they now cover many of the important areas in the field and company insurance policies. Some interesting and diversified education and training paths have also been established by several universities (such as the LUISS University in Rome, and the Universities of Parma and Naples), as the profession becomes more relevant and acknowledged,” Mr Terzago added.
The training programme recently developed by Anra has also entered the field of high-quality training and is growing fast.
The initiative started as a response to the creation of the RIMAP European professional certification scheme by the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (Ferma). This certification scheme was designed to help foster the creation of a professional profile for risk managers with similar bases in every European country.
“In 2015, Ferma launched RIMAP as a response to the widespread opinion that a certification for risk managers as a professional profile was needed. To this end, Ferma established a dedicated body of knowledge, featuring all the basic information for training risk managers. The national associations are free to choose whether they want to establish a dedicated training path. In 2016, Anra decided to create its own ALP (Anra Learning Path) and RIFT (RIMAP Fast Track) training – the only ones in Italy for obtaining the RIMAP European certification. The step was taken to adequately frame and improve the visibility of a profession that was still little known at the time,” said Mr Terzago.
The Anra initiative has been a big success, so much so that the RIMAP-certified risk managers now amount to 47% of the European total. This has led Ferma to consider the launch of a Europe-wide training path inspired by the Italian RIFT certification. Another potentially high-value Italian export.