In highly regulated industries, there are seemingly endless regulatory and compliance requirements and activities, and they often are inseparable from the underlying risk management activities themselves, including those for third parties.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. has arguably become the most complex and costly jurisdiction for regulatory compliance. An article published by World Economic Forum on enterprise risk management points out that banks are “less experienced with non-traditional threats such as cyber risk, strategic risk, operational risk, regulatory risk and legal risk. Making matters trickier, these risks aren’t easily quantified.” The authors also note that “the growth in such risks is virtually unprecedented in the history of banking. This puts a premium on firms’ abilities to make connections and to recognize the complex whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.”
The financial services sector leads the pack in terms of the amount of regulation it is subject to, including the compliance challenges, regulations and laws in near and far-flung jurisdictions, as well as the cost and complexity of compliance, risk management and governance practices. This sector is not alone is the endless struggle to balance costs and compliance. Healthcare, oil and gas, and the tech sector are also struggling with the cost and complexity to managing sector-specific risks and compliance.
Hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of third parties power your company every minute of every day, in all your markets and geographies, for every product and service. Third parties are everywhere, in virtually every part of your business. You have less control over third parties than over your internal operations, so getting this right is essential for your company’s success.
Third-party relationships are complicated. But the “right” third parties, if thoughtfully evaluated, managed and controlled, deliver what you contracted for and serve up many opportunities to be better. Better means new products, services and markets. Better means access to specialized top talent, processes and technology. Better means less risk.
Unfortunately, risk is everywhere and even though technology is advancing in leaps and bounds, operational ecosystems are growing more complex every day. Consequently, risk events, cyber attacks, fraud, data corruption and privacy breaches are becoming commonplace, and are too often the fault of a careless third party. The proliferation of third-party relationships and new technologies means that it’s hard for companies to stay on top of third-party risks, and even harder to implement effective controls, monitoring and oversight.
Management of third-party risk is a relatively new discipline – involving a new set of skills, rigorous methodologies, well-crafted tools and advanced technologies. But proactive professionals need to learn the language of risk and learn it quickly because everyone is now a risk manager and everyone is responsible for effective and efficient risk management, particularly for critical third parties.
Linda Tuck Chapman, Third Party Management advisor, author, popular speaker & President, Ontala