Raising The Bar: Principles-Based Guidance For Board Risk Committees & Risk Functions In The UK Financial Services Sector

The Risk Coalition, a newly created association of the UK’s leading professional membership bodies, has produced principles-based guidance aimed at improving risk governance and oversight in the UK financial services sector. Raising the Bar will provide boards, investors, regulators, ratings agencies, Skilled Persons firms and other stakeholders with a commonly agreed benchmark for “what good looks like” – something not previously available in one place.

“Nothing like this currently exists in Europe.” Martin Stewart, former Director of Banking and Building Society Supervision, Prudential Regulation Authority.

The Risk Coalition’s aims in producing Raising the Bar are to close major gaps in risk governance and oversight, initially in the UK financial services sector, through:

  • establishing a common understanding of the purpose, role and activities of the board risk committee and risk function;
  • providing a benchmark against which board risk committees and risk functions can be assessed objectively;
  • raising the general standard of risk governance and oversight practice within UK financial services;
  • filling the gap in principles-based good practice risk guidance whilst recognising the presence of detailed regulation.

Raising the Bar’s focus on alignment of organisation purpose, strategy, objectives and risk should lead to the repositioning of the board risk committee as the pre-eminent board committee with a direct influence on overall business performance.

Moreover, the Risk Coalition expects that Raising the Bar will encourage increased use of board risk committees, beyond financial services, through clarification of their purpose and ability to add value. Effective risk governance is crucial to sustainability and viability.

“We welcome the Risk Coalition’s initiative to raise standards in risk oversight in UK financial services. Their approach and guidance complements the personal accountability we regard as an important regulatory objective.” Financial Conduct Authority

“We welcome the initiative and particularly support your emphasis on improving standards of accountability of the Board and its committees on risk.” Financial Reporting Council