Willis Hosts Economist Conferences’ Risk Summit
New Report Reveals Executive Strategies for a Sustainable Future
London, UK, November 3, 2011 – A new report released today by The Economist Intelligence Unit during
Economist Conferences’ Risk Summit, hosted by Willis Group Holdings (NYSE: WSH), the global insurance
broker, revealed the importance of looking beyond the current risk horizon and how executives can equip
their organisations to deal with future risks and deliver long-term performance.
The report, Getting New Perspective on Strategic Risk, which surveyed 500 global business executives, highlights
the dangers of allowing current challenges, from the on-going euro-zone crisis to the prospect of a
double-dip recession, to take priority over long-term planning.
Though many business leaders will naturally focus their attention on the immediate future and ensure their short-term
financing needs are met, the report warns that, by prioritising short-term profits over long-term performance, businesses
reduce their chances of sustainable success.
Some key findings of the research include:
Long-term risk management is rising on the agenda for many business leaders: Over the past year, 50%
of companies say that they have made their risk management more forward looking and agree they
should spend more time thinking about the risks they will face 10 years from now..
Links between risk management and strategy are strengthening in many organisations: More than half of respondents
say their risk function plays a formal role in strategy-setting and evaluating new market investments.
companies are using scenario planning, but few embed it into the overall strategy process: Only 20%
of respondents say that scenario planning plays a vital role in helping their company to formulate
and adapt strategy in uncertain times.
Willis Group President Grahame Millwater said: “Establishing long term risk management at the heart of strategic planning
is essential to the future success of any commercial organisation. The findings of this latest global
risk survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit reveal that although we must address the challenges facing
us here and now, we must also reflect upon how we are preparing our companies to
face longer-term risks in order to protect our future and ensure the sustainable growth and value
of our businesses.”
The Summit, which was held at the Willis Building in the City of London, brought together more
than 60 senior business executives from a cross-section of industry. Speakers included: former Secretary of State
for Defence Michael Portillo; Keiran Foad, Chief Risk Officer of Northern Rock; Luke Savage, Director, Finance,
Risk Management and Operations, Lloyd’s of London; political campaign expert George Bridges MBE, of Quiller Consultants;
and Dr Mils Hills, an anthropologist specialising in disaster and emergency planning.
Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers
professional insurance, reinsurance, risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public
entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries,
with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the
world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.