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Strategic Risk as an Element of Operational Risk

Tom Cooper is currently an Assistant Professor at Memorial University in the area of strategic management. As a member of ClearRisk Board of Advisors, Tom’s research and blogging focuses primarily on the interplay between strategy, risk and compliance as well as their effects on corporate responsibility. ‘Strategic Risk as an Element of Operational Risk’ is the fourth in this ongoing series.

Although the Basel II guidance on strategic risk is regulatory driven, this definition of strategic risk provides little assistance on how strategic risk might be identified and analyzed. There is also considerable potential overlap with the standard Basel II definition of operational risk, which is: “the risk of loss resulting from inadequate or failed internal processes, people and systems or from external events”.

‘Strategic’ Risk or ‘Strategic Risk’ Management?

Risk management is much wider than simple financial or operational risk. Concepts such as ‘strategic risk management’, ‘integrated risk management’ and ‘enterprise risk management’ now describe the wider application of such thinking, tools and techniques.

There is a common view that strategic risk is about managing risk ‘strategically’ rather than examining strategic risk as a category similar to operational, financial and other risk areas. This common view causes confusion and may be one of the reasons that strategic risk is not further researched or specifically managed.

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