Friday, 20 July 2012
Ferma announces certification plans to bolster profession
Last month Ferma launched an ambitious project to plan the creation of pan-European certificates of professional competence for risk managers. A working group led by three Ferma board members, Vice Presidents Michel Dennery and Julia Graham, and Igor Mikhaylov are working on a plan to present to the 2012 Ferma Seminar in Versailles in October on this matter. We spoke to Mr Mikhaylov about Ferma's plans.
Ferma hopes the certification scheme will provide independent confirmation that holders of the accreditations have a high level of knowledge and experience in risk management. This has so far been ‘challenging’ to achieve, said the federation in a statement.
Ferma said that the aim of the plan is to put risk management on a similar standing to other professions such as law and accounting.
The working group plans to involve Ferma’s national member associations and other education providers to create two types of certificate: professional and specialist. The federation said that the certification would be experience-based and include evidence of risk managers’ previous professional development and education.
Specialist certification would involve formal education and examination by accredited organisations, it explained, and would be aimed at risk managers who are at an earlier stage in their careers or individuals who have risk management as part of a wider role.
The professional certificate will be aimed at risk managers who already work at a senior level.
Ferma President Jorge Luzzi said: “Ferma has had many requests for a programme like this. We have received great support from our member associations, and we are confident that this will be one of the most important projects that Ferma has ever been involved in. The working group, elected from our board members, is approaching it very seriously and with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.
“Our idea is that Ferma will lead the project, but we will strongly maintain communication, support and commitment with our members, the national associations,” he added.
Commercial Risk Europe caught up with Mr Mikhaylov, who is also Head of the Risk Management Division at Russian firm Mobile TeleSystems, at the end of June.
CRE: Why has Ferma decided to do this–what is the potential benefit for individual risk managers, their employers and the profession as a whole?
Igor Mikhaylov (IM): Ferma is responding to an increasing demand for formal recognition of the risk management profession. Such recognition exists for other professions like accountants and lawyers and risk management has reached a stage of professional maturity whereby risk managers should be considered in similar terms.
The theme of Ferma’s Versailles Seminar in October is ‘We live in a riskier world’. The risk manager is rising to the challenge to manage risk in this context and needs suitable recognition—it should not remain the only profession without EU and global recognition. Ferma’s national associations support the move, and Ferma has the unique European risk management position and platform from which to lead this process.
Certification to a consistent standard will provide employers with an objective and independent cross-jurisdictional statement that a person meets the requirements of certification and this should put those candidates who can confirm this ahead of those that cannot.
Certification creates a network of like-minded and like-qualified professionals that will become a material added value to having these qualifications.
Risk managers are raising their professional bar and Ferma has taken up the challenge to help national associations and members achieve the professional recognition that is now overdue.
CRE: Why has this not happened before and why is it needed now?
IM: The topic of risk management certification has been discussed for many years. Some bodies have succeeded in introducing certification in specific areas of risk management, but these activities are restricted to an individual country or a limited number of countries. The scope and scale of Ferma’s initiative is different.
Organisations may vary, including by scale, culture, complexity and sector but all organisations have risk and will manage risk to varying levels of sophistication and maturity. What has changed is that organisations and their boards, or equivalents, have become more risk aware and more interested in what their risk managers can do to help them achieve their strategic objectives. Ferma will join its national member associations to combine their knowledge and experience in different countries, organisations and education bodies in order to form a sound knowledge base. Other associations are not in the position to achieve this goal. Certification is possible now because Ferma’s national associations have backed this initiative.
CRE: Why does this need to be pan-European—why not rely on national associations to create certificates and make them recognisable across Europe? What is the benefit of doing this through Ferma?
IM: Due to globalisation, risk managers now more often work for cross-jurisdictional organisations and operate across countries. It is necessary for risk managers to use common standards and tools and to be qualified for global tasks that are recognisable and transferable. The profession is not limited by national boundaries.
Ferma will heavily rely on its national member associations in this process, they are a vital part of the certification initiative. National associations will take part in the initial design of the approach and will be involved in the creation of a Certification Committee at a later stage.
Ferma follows the strategy ‘think global, do local’. Risk managers will benefit from a pan-European certification framework created from the collective knowledge of all associations and education bodies within their countries.
CRE: How will this be managed in practice? Will you work with the existing educational bodies such as the IRM and universities that offer risk management education to deliver teaching and coursework and host the exams and/or does Ferma plan to create its own educational arm?
IM: Ferma doesn’t plan to offer its own education syllabus. Instead we intend to partner with the existing and new education bodies. Our goal is to set the standards for education and to ensure that they are constantly met. Together with Ferma national associations we plan to select and accredit educational programmes that will be required for certification.
CRE: How will this certificate gain the professional recognition that it needs—is there some kind of European professional accreditation body, perhaps run by the EC, to do this?
IM: Currently to be a risk manager one is not obliged to undertake any formal education or pass any formal certification. This will change in the future with further development of risk management as a profession.
Ferma appreciates that achieving a process for national accreditation at the different levels of certification proposed in all Ferma association jurisdictions will take time—this is a worthwhile, but not simple initiative.
We’re planning to introduce the Professional certification level that will be for the more experienced risk management professionals through independently assessed evidence of the risk manager’s professional development and education.
The Specialist certification level will be for risk managers who are at an earlier stage in their careers, or are individuals who have risk management as part of a wider role.
CRE: How much of the certificates will be risk management and how much insurance management? What will be the rough split and what will be the key topics covered by the certificates?
IM: Insurance is an important risk control. The Ferma certification initiative will consider the depth to which knowledge and experience of insurance is appropriate at a Professional and Specialist level and how this should be approached as part of the certification process.
CRE: Do you intend to work with other international risk management bodies such as RIMS in the US and RMIA in Australia to work towards an international recognition for this education?
IM: Ferma is part of the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations (Ifrima) comprising associations from all over the world. Decisions on pan-European certification have to reflect global thinking and we will engage with other associations such as RimsIMS in the US and RmiaMIA in Australia through Ifrima as we move forward with this objective in mind.