Risk Management Industry: A Preview

Published on 6th August 2019

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) asks Godknows Madziva IRMCert Group Risk Officer, First Mutual Holdings Limited, Harare, Zimbabwe, what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips he'd share with people looking to move into the industry.

How did you get your job? 

This is a journey I started in 2005 when I enrolled for my undergraduate degree in Risk Management & Insurance, but it only came into actual fruition 14 years later, in June 2019. In between, I briefly joined Risk Management as a Student intern in Risk Management with a leading local Financial Services Group between 2007 and 2008, and upon completion of my undergraduate studies, I joined First Mutual Life Assurance as an Employee Benefits Administrator in 2011. Due to my deep passion for risk management, I advocated for the establishment of an independent Risk management function within the organisation to the extent of designing an ERM framework for the organisation as a thesis for my Master’s Degree. I then enrolled for the IRM’s Certificate in Financial Services in 2017 which I completed in 2018, and then enrolled for the Diploma subsequently. In 2019 April, a stand-alone risk function was established within the Group, to which I then joined effective June 2019 after interviews.

What’s a typical day like as a Group Risk Officer?

As Group Risk Officer, I am primarily responsible for implementing the risk management cycle, providing comprehensive risk reports to management, and coordinating segment teams, and constantly researching and understanding the operating environment around. Thus on daily basis I understand the environment around, coordinate people around, and perform the risk management process.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Risk management has always been my passion, and just being where my heart is, is refreshing. Besides this, I enjoy the aspect of risk being a continuous process, thus the dynamism risk management brings is quiet fascinating.

First Mutual Holdings Limited is a leading listed conglomerate with interests in short term insurance, reinsurance, life and pensions, property, funeral, investments and banking, and understanding this dynamic from a risk perspective is more than fascinating.

Making people understand and appreciate risk management makes me feel good, but the greatest of it all, risk management is a strategy enabler, and I enjoy facilitating the company achieve its objectives.

What are the challenges?

Risk is ubiquitous and therefore this presents a big challenge itself in that risk management has to be a continuous process, thus a risk a risk practitioner, I have always to be on-point and dynamic, with a high sense of understanding. The greatest challenge though is that the First Mutual Holdings, organisation I work for, is a diversified concern, and in order to give value to this diversity, I have to understand all the operations, and this is not a mean feat. Also, the risk function is a new function and a lot of people around are still struggling to understand and appreciate risk management.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

Firstly, the certificate has two modules, Principles of Risk Management and the Practice of Risk Management. These two modules provide the basic foundations, the principles, and layout how to practice risk management in a practical setup. Also, the risk assessment and risk treatment are critical components of the risk management process, and these are full modules each at Diploma level. The IRM gives a methodical, up-to-date step by step platform for the training of a risk practitioner.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

IRM offers leading professional qualifications in risk management which I highly recommend to anyone willing to excel in a risk management career. By delaying enrolling, one is not doing any favours to themselves. However, one has to be serious with their studies if they are to pass.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?

I have moved from Employee Benefits, to being a Risk Officer, and soon, the role should develop to Senior Risk Officer - ERM & Strategy. Given my IRM links, I envisage being a Chief Risk Officer, directing risk strategy for a large, dynamic organisation.

Top Tips

-Develop the art of listening, understanding and analyzing

-Enrol for IRM, it equips you with a great learning experience, and valuable case studies

-Finally, with determination, comes success, Rome was never built within a day


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