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New Book Offers Terrific Intro to Enterprise Risk Management
By Kevin Quinley CPCU, ARM

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“Beam me up, Scottie!”

You need not be a Star Trek fan or trekkie to link the phrase “enterprise risk management” with far-out space age technology. Actually, though, enterprise risk management has nothing to do with Captain Kirk or Dr. Spock. A hot discussion topic in risk management these days is enterprise risk management.

One might think that the realm of risk management is one immune to fads. That is largely the case, but there are some who might claim that the current fixation over enterprise risk management represents another passing fancy within the risk management discipline. Risk managers who chafe at being categorized as simply insurance buyers and focusing on insurable risks aspire to C-suite titles and involvement. A seminal book in the realm of enterprise risk management appears in John Hampton’s new release, Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management: How Top Companies Assess Risk, Manage Exposure and Seize Opportunity.

In today’s current economic environment, risk is inherent and a natural part of life. Using case studies from companies like Home Depot, Airbus, Boeing and Nokia, author Hampton shows readers the challenge of monitoring operational exposures in nonprofits, corporations and government agencies and how they can best determine and balance opportunities against the possibilities of loss.

Anybody wishing to get their arms around the discipline and concept of enterprise risk management (ERM) should crack open this useful and accessible book. Hampton has the bona fides to address the topic authoritatively. He is the KMPG professor of business and director of graduate business programs at St. Peter’s College. Formerly, he was the executive director of the Risk and Insurance Management Society, better known as RIMS.

Hampton is no ivory tower academic, however. He writes in clear prose and offers cogent strategies to help risk managers:

• Recognize both external and internal exposures

• Understand crucial concepts such as risk identification and risk mapping

• Recognize the weaknesses of current ERM systems

• Harmonize risk opportunities with organizational business models

• Achieve alignment with Sarbanes– Oxley compliance

In addition, Hampton discusses innovative new concepts such as hierarchical risk structures, creation of a central risk function, alignment of risks with the company’s business model and the role of an ERM knowledge warehouse. Offering trenchant case studies with practical exercises, Fundamentals of Enterprise Risk Management shows readers ways to implement ERM within their organizations.

Like most all the books from AMACOM, this one is user-friendly. One small quibble: it suffers from the omission of a glossary. A useful bibliography is, however, included at the end. For those risk managers looking to leave their comfort zones and survey the broader and growing discipline of enterprise risk management, John Hampton’s book represents a cornerstone and path-breaking achievement.

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