Risk culture assessment at a small provident fund institution
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This study seems to be the only one conducted hitherto at a small provident fund institution, with a focus on risk culture manifest through employees and various outsourced service providers with a close relationship with the organisation. The aim of this study was to assess the risk culture at the institution by comparing views of participants in operations, and in other areas of the organisation (the latter collectively referred to hereafter as organisational management), in terms of three specific factors. Data were gathered by analysing the literature and responses from the UARM Risk Culture questionnaire, which were completed by internal employees and outsourced service providers. The questionnaire was returned online and anonymously through research.net. The questionnaire included items designed to address three factors: factor 1 – perception of risk integration in the organisation; factor 2 – perceived comfort with own risk management role; and factor 3 – perceived fairness of risk-taking incentives. A feedback session was held with two senior and four middle managers to obtain more information on areas of potential improvement. The participants in this study included senior and middle managers, non-managers, trustees, asset managers and external suppliers. The perceived maturity of risk integration and fairness of incentives was rated as low to medium, but respondents’ comfort with their own role appeared to be medium to high. Participants in the operations area understood risk to be fraud risk whereas those in organisational management understood it as a combination of all risk types. Participants were also given an opportunity to recommend areas of potential improvement in the institution’s operations which could address some of the differences in perceptions reported above – senior and middle management concurred: participants in the operations area recommended improved communication whereas those in the organisational management area advised clarity on risk management accountability. This study can be useful to other small provident funds and similar institutions that want to assess their risk culture.