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Operational risk made accessible

Mastering Operational Risk, the book co-authored by Chase Cooper's Head of ConsultingTony Blunden, has been receiving excellent feedback from the risk management sector. 

Below is a review published recently by Risk Management Professional magazine.

As a risk management journalist, I read many articles and text on operational risk. Many are hard going; this book is not. The language is straightforward and avoids repetition of buzzwords, a pet grievance. More important is the clarity of thought, the "distillation of two lifetimes of experience in operational risk management" that underpins this work.

Tony Blunden has worked in the City of London for more than 30 years; primarily in risk management, compliance and related areas in financial services. John Thirwell has a similar length of experience, both as chief risk officer and a director of an investment bank and as a director of various banking and insurance companies.

The book's presentation is accessible and develops in a logical way. It starts with conceptual foundation without getting waylaid by academic discussion (it is described as a practical guide), explains operational risk and makes the business case for operational risk management.

The authors then move to topics such as governance, risk control and assessment, events and losses and indicators, which they call framework. 'Advancing the Framework' takes in reporting, modelling, stress tests and scenarios. Subsequent sections include mitigation and assurance, and operational risk management including outsourcing and people and reputational risks.

In more technical chapters on modelling, stress tests and scenarios, expressions and concepts are clearly explained without being too dry. 'Fat tails' for example is a term "often used somewhat disparagingly" in discussions about modelling operational risk events and losses.

Blunden and Thirwell explain that although Mastering Operational Risk is grounded in financial services, the core elements apply equally to all business sectors and to those making business judgements. They express the hope that it will provide useful tips for the beginner and the seasoned professional. It seems to me that they have achieved their aim.

Lee Coppack is consulting editor of Risk Management Professional

Mastering Operational Risk by Tony Blunden and John Thirwell
FT Prentice Hall, 2010, £49.99.
344 pages ISBN: 978-0273727323




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