BWise Announces Results of Trustday 2008: “Risk Management can help to restore Financial Trust”

18 November 2008

BWise, a leading provider of governance, risk and compliance (GRC) software solutions, today announced the results of Trustday 2008, an annual event organized by Nyenrode Business Universiteit and BWise. This year’s symposium, focused on risk assessment, was attended by more than 100 CFOs and risk managers of primarily publicly traded companies.

“The worst is yet to come” was the opinion of nearly 57 percent of the Risk Managers and CFOs present at the event. Onno Ruding (former Dutch Minister of Finance and retired Vice Chairman of Citibank) stated, “Laws and regulations will be much stricter in the future as a result of the present credit crisis.”

Ruding indicated that there is danger that when the dust has settled around the current financial crisis, we will go back to our old habits. More than 65 percent of those present at the symposium agreed with the sentiment: “The culture of financial companies is polluted. In other words, the trust in leaders and their approach to the credit crisis has not impressed those at the top or the public.”

Twan Huys, a well-known Dutch presenter of news programme Nova, chaired a panel discussion. There were also presentations by AEGON’s CRO and VP Risk Management, Tom Grondin and Wim van de Kraats, Nick Leeson, former trader at Barings Bank and Onno Ruding.

Nick Leeson spoke openly about what went wrong at the Barings Bank and the part he played in its collapse. According to him the most important lessons to be learned from the fall of Barings Bank are that managers had no idea what their staff were doing and no one asked any questions. Mr Leeson also is of the opinion that a clear risk management strategy could have prevented much of the collapse. He stated, “The intertwined triangle of compliance, risk assessment and governance should be analyzed by competent people who understand what is happening, and who are intelligent enough to understand the products, risks and impact of those products on the market. Now, that is clearly not the case. Furthermore, businesses should specifically guard against any possibilities to manipulate data reported in the system.”

Leen Paape, Director of the NIVRA-Nyenrode School of Accountancy & Controlling and Robert Pijselman, CEO of BWise, were pleased with the results of the Trustday Risk Assessment conference. Leen Paape said, “Trust is of the utmost importance to managers, controllers and accountants. As a Business University we want to offer a platform for them to learn, develop their talent and offer discussion. Knowledge of corporate responsibility, personal integrity and the right attitude are necessary for managers to carry out their function.” Robert Pijselman added,”Thanks to the credit crunch, there is more attention on risk management and companies have to be more transparent. Our integrated Governance, Risk and Compliance software can help companies to get a grip on their risks through control testing and risk assessments. This reduces the risks and improves the transparency.”

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