(From L-R): Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Mr Iowane Naiveli, Chairman of ARC, Mr Paul Keating, Chief Risk Officer of ANZ Bank and Mr Michael Yee Joy, Senior Partner at KPMG. Photo:USP
The University of the South Pacific successfully completed its Annual Risk Focus Workshop in Suva, Fiji on 27 – 28 November 2018.
The workshop brought together members of the University’s key functional areas including the Senior Management Team (SMT), directors from selected regional campuses, members of the Audit & Risk Committee (ARC), Council and members of the Internal Audit Function.
Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice Chancellor & President officially launched the workshop and set the tone for the two-day programme.
Professor Chandra said that risk management should not be seen as a separate activity that is taken care of by a specific office at the University, rather it should be taken as part of normal business.
“It is our responsibility as leaders to encourage a strong risk culture where employees are risk-aware, understand the consequences of their decisions and are confident to raise objections when necessary, particularly around reporting incidents of financial losses, compliance breaches or incidents that threaten the University’s reputation,” Professor Chandra said.
He further added that since the last workshop, there have been many improvements to the way risks are viewed and treated and that previously, risk was only associated with finance and physical facilities.
Presentations and speeches were also delivered by the guest speakers, Mr Paul Keating, Chief Risk Officer – ANZ Pacific; Mr Michael Yee-Joy, Managing Partner KPMG; Mr Anare Manulevu, Director KPMG; and Mr Peter Daniels and Mr Tunde Fasheun from Marsh Risk Consulting Australia.
Mr Keating shared his experiences in managing challenges across multiple jurisdictions whilst in pursuit of a well-managed business.
He highlighted that through a survey it was found that staff are not often comfortable talking to their line managers about raising issues for the fear of reprisal.
“We are looking to develop in-country champions around the “speak-up” culture that people could go and share their concerns with. What we are trying to do is to get people to call out when things are not working whether it is process, health and safety or behavioral issues,” Mr Keating said.
Mr Joy and Mr Manulevu provided a brief reflection on USP’s internal control environment over the years.
Mr Joy said that USP has a complex environment with various departments and multiple stakeholders that is spread across the Pacific raising a lot of challenges and risks.
He noted that the University’s journey in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) has been a positive one with a brighter outlook.
During the two-day workshop, members had the opportunity to engage in discussions and question and answer sessions based on presentations by participants.
Workshop participants were encouraged to collaborate, have open communication, be honest about their existing risk and control environment during the focus group sessions and view risk management as a means to unlock development opportunities.
The workshop closed with speeches from Mr Iowane Naiveli, Chair of the ARC and Professor Chandra.
Mr Naiveli in his observatory remarks stated, “when I look at all of you, I don’t see a room of lecturers and professors but a room of business people working towards a common objective and ensuring that USP is a well-managed business”.
He was appreciative that everyone worked as a team to deliberate on risk issues affecting the University going forward.
In an email to the workshop participants, Professor Chandra thanked everyone who came to the workshop for its success and to all staff of the Assurance and Compliance Division in particular for organising it so well and getting excellent guest speakers.
He was very pleased to see that all the relevant staff were thinking systematically around USP’s key risks and taking ownership of the management of the key risks.
He further stated that the sentiments echoed by the Chairman of ARC was very re-assuring to everyone and commended the Chair and the other two ARC members for their full attendance, excellent interventions for appreciating that USP has a system-wide commitment to upgrading its risk management.