Major Risks for 2013 Identified by Executives and Board Members in Survey From North Carolina State University ERM Initiative and Protiviti

Regulatory Environment, Economic Climate Top the List of Concerns

Feb 12, 2013, 13:00 ET from Protiviti

MENLO PARK, Calif., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The top risks that corporate leaders see on the horizon include the effect of regulatory changes combined with heightened regulatory scrutiny on product and service offerings; global economic conditions that are significantly limiting growth potential; and an unstable political climate in different markets worldwide, according to Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2013 (, a just-released report of survey findings from global consulting firm Protiviti ( and the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative at North Carolina State University's Poole College of Management.


The survey sought the views of more than 200 board members and C-level executives across a wide variety of industries about the risks their organizations expect to face in 2013. Participants were asked to rate a list of 20 risk issues on a scale of one to 10, with one indicating "no impact" and 10 indicating "extensive impact."

According to the survey results, the top 10 risks rated as having the greatest impact in 2013 are:


Risk Issue



Regulatory changes and heightened regulatory scrutiny may affect the manner in which our products or services will be produced or delivered



Economic conditions in markets we currently serve will significantly restrict growth opportunities for our organization



Uncertainty surrounding political leadership in national and international markets will limit growth opportunities




Organic growth through customer acquisition and/or enhancement presents a significant challenge


Succession challenges and the ability to attract and retain top talent may limit our ability to achieve operational targets




Anticipated volatility in global financial markets and currencies will create challenging issues for our organization to address


Cyber threats have the potential to significantly disrupt core operations for our organization


Ensuring privacy/identity management and information security/system protection will require significant resources for us



Resistance to change will restrict our organization from making necessary adjustments to the business model and core operations



Our existing operations may not be able to meet performance expectations related to quality, time to market, cost and innovation as well as our competitors


Of note, while the overall ranking of the regulatory environment was 6.8, the financial services and healthcare sectors both showed significantly higher levels of concern, with rankings of 8.5 and 8.2 respectively.

"An aggressive regulatory environment is here to stay and companies must be prepared or risk being overwhelmed and distracted by it," said Carol Beaumier, executive vice president with Protiviti. "The executives surveyed clearly understand the commitment and resources required to manage the new regulatory world they do business in, and the significant risks, both financial and otherwise, to a non-compliant approach." Added Beaumier, "The respondents to our survey also clearly indicated their concern about identifying new areas for growth, given the economic conditions in the markets their companies currently serve."

According to Dr. Mark Beasley, Deloitte Professor of Enterprise Risk Management and director of the ERM Initiative at NC State's Poole College of Management, the growing number of companies that have operations in foreign countries and more dependency on a global economy has increased the need to anticipate and manage risk around political uncertainties and volatility in global financial markets. "While the largest companies may often seem to have the greatest international exposure to these risks, the reality is that few organizations are immune to the vagaries of the global economic and financial markets and the related impact on demand, rates, credit availability and currencies."

Additional Survey Highlights

  • Overall, most executives rated the current environment as significantly risky, with the majority saying they are likely to make changes or deploy more resources during the next 12 months to manage their respective risks. 
  • Chief risk officers (CROs) and CFOs were the groups with the highest ratings in terms of their likelihood to make changes.
  • The largest organizations rated the greatest number of risks as "Significant Impact" risks, reflecting the complexities of their operations.
  • The nature of risks varies noticeably across different industries and sizes of organizations, with financial services, healthcare/life sciences, and technology, media and communications organizations reporting the greatest number of significant risks.
  • Not surprisingly, information security breaches and cyber threats that have the ability to disrupt core operations ranked high on the list of challenges, with financial services and technology, media, and communication companies showing the highest levels of concern in this area.

"The results of this survey are a staunch reminder of the need to devote more resources to risk management and risk oversight, including greater investment in internal controls," said Jim DeLoach, a managing director with Protiviti. "The complexities and risks within the global business environment will only continue to expand, which is why it is imperative that corporate leaders and their boards continue to have the right insights and tools to help them manage the developments and emerging issues that surround a very dynamic regulatory, economic and political environment."  

Podcast and Webinar
The report from Protiviti and NC State Poole College's ERM Initiative, Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2013, is available at and, along with a podcast featuring DeLoach and Beasley discussing the major findings from the study. Additionally, Protiviti will host a webinar with Beaumier, DeLoach and Beasley, which further explores the survey results on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. Please register for the complimentary webinar at

About Protiviti
Protiviti ( is a global consulting firm that helps companies solve problems in finance, technology, operations, governance, risk and internal audit. Through its network of more than 70 offices in over 20 countries, Protiviti has served more than 35 percent of FORTUNE® 1000 and Global 500 companies. The firm also works with smaller, growing companies, including those looking to go public, as well as with government agencies.

Protiviti is a wholly owned subsidiary of Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI). Founded in 1948, Robert Half International is a member of the S&P 500 index.

Protiviti is not licensed or registered as a public accounting firm and does not issue opinions on financial statements or offer attestation services.

About North Carolina State University Poole College's ERM Initiative The Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative in the Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University provides thought leadership about ERM practices and their integration with strategy and corporate governance. Faculty in the ERM Initiative frequently work with boards of directors and senior management teams helping them link ERM to strategy and governance, host executive workshops and educational training sessions, and issue research and thought papers on practical approaches to implementing more effective risk oversight techniques (

SOURCE Protiviti