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Progress post walker

The evolution of Board Audit and Risk Committees in financial services

Progress post walker

Background

The financial crisis highlighted imbalances between the increasing growth and complexity of the financial services industry and  fundamental failures in governance. A key response to these challenges was the 2009 Walker Report which recommended, amongst other items, the establishment of a separate Board Risk Committee as a means of addressing the overload of Non-Executive Directors on Audit Committees and the need for a closely-related but separate capability to focus on risk in future strategy.

Key findings

Over four years on from the Walker Report, this paper looks at how firms are responding to the challenges and fulfilling the increased expectations, with particular focus on the Board Risk Committee versus the Audit Committee.

Our findings show that banks and other financial institutions have responded strongly since 2009 to structural challenges. The split of responsibilities between the two committees is increasingly well defined and we are seeing a number of practical steps being taken, such as cross membership and agenda agreement and delineation, to ensure the alignment of both Committees and reduce the risk of gaps and overlap.

However other challenges remain, not least as regards to defining and embedding more risk aware and appropriate corporate cultures.

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