Risk management, also called market risk control, ensures that trading risks taken are known, understood and commensurate with the organisation’s risk appetite. In markets, people working in risk management are generally responsible for a number of trading desks. Their day-to-day activities include running reports, analysing risks and talking to traders about their risk exposures.
Reporting to senior managers
To manage risk effectively, it’s important to know what traders, salespeople and marketers have in mind so that risk management can be proactive rather than reactive. Keeping pace with new product developments, such as structured derivatives, is a key challenge.
People working in risk management have to be able to explain to senior management how these products work to ensure that they are comfortable with the risks that are being taken. For example, an organisation may be thinking about the opening up of emerging markets, particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Part of controlling risk will involve developing the organisation’s understanding of how business is done in these markets.
Risk management is systems-dependent to a degree, so it can be frustrating when the technology is unavailable and work has to be performed manually. Like any job, it can be hard work but the contribution the risk team makes to the success of the business is recognised and rewarded. Risk professionals are at the centre of things, at the cutting edge of new products and trading opportunities. In this area you can influence the shape of transactions and have a say in what business is done.
Graduate career paths in risk management
Most graduates are hired directly on to a graduate training programme and many tend to have a mathematics or sciences background, though this is not a requirement. After the initial training, learning and development should be continuous, through on-the-job training, mentoring and internal and external training courses. Many organisations move people around to give them a broad base of experience and there may be opportunities for international assignments.
Skills required for market risk control jobs:
- Strong analytical skills
- An interest in financial markets: curiosity about what makes them tick, what might happen in the future and what it will mean for the organisation
- Teamworking ability
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