Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2014

Jim DeLoach, Managing Director Host, The Protiviti View

One of the first questions an organization seeks to answer in risk management is, “What are our most critical risks?” To provide perspectives about the nature of potential risks in 2014, I am pleased to report that Protiviti and North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative have partnered for the second consecutive year to poll more than 370 board members and C-suite executives regarding their views on the top risks their organizations are facing.

Our report, available at www.protiviti.com/TopRisks, is packed with information on notable trends, along with analysis and commentary based on different data groupings – company size, role, industry, etc.

Among the key findings from our study:

  • The overall survey responses suggest a business environment in 2014 that is slightly less risky for organizations than it was a year ago, although board members, when viewed discretely from the rest of our respondents, tend to perceive this year as more risky.
  • Overall, strategic risk concerns show the largest year-over-year increase in risk scoring.
  • Regulatory change and heightened regulatory scrutiny represents the top overall risk for the second consecutive year.
  • Economic conditions in domestic and international markets are again a highly ranked risk, but there is a notable year-over-year decrease in the risk score.
  • Cyber threats and privacy/identity management not only rank among the top 10 risks for 2014, but are ranked even higher, compared to the overall results, among many respondent groups, including large organizations.
  • Uncertainty surrounding political leadership affecting U.S. and international markets represents another key risk that may affect or restrict growth opportunities for organizations.

I’ll be commenting in more detail in this blog about many of the trends and critical risk issues identified in our study.

Our report, Executive Perspectives on Top Risks for 2014, as well as a podcast and video, are available at www.protiviti.com/TopRisks. We also have published an informative infographic (see below). In addition, on Tuesday, February 11 (at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT), Protiviti and North Carolina State University will host a webinar to discuss the survey results and provide analysis as to how organizations can address these risk areas.


I want to acknowledge our outstanding partners at North Carolina State University’s ERM Initiative: Dr. Mark Beasley, Dr. Bruce Branson and Professor Donald Pagach. It continues to be a pleasure to work with them to make this project a success. I also want to thank the many individuals in Protiviti, including our Industry Leadership team, for their valuable contributions to this project.

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