Starling Insights Editorial Board
May 26, 2023
In her last speech as Deputy Chair of the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, Helen Rowell reflected on key changes in thinking surrounding financial sector governance and risk management over her 21-year tenure.
"The past two decades have been an extraordinary journey," she said, "where I've been fortunate to have a front row seat, and sometimes provide a guiding hand, as the financial system has evolved in the face of a variety of technological, health, financial and geopolitical challenges, each with unique and lasting impacts."
Discussing the Global Financial Crisis, the covid pandemic, the recent bank failures, and other crises she has seen during her career, Rowell noted that — despite their differences — they are all rooted in failures of governance, risk culture, remuneration, or accountability (GCRA).
Rowell argued that, while APRA (and other regulators) have a role in preventing future crises, it is ultimately incumbent upon boards and executives to ensure risks are well-managed. "When they do not, it only serves to emphasise the critical importance of learning lessons and continuing to adapt and evolve as risks emerge or accelerate – and boards and senior management must lead by example in how they learn and grow from setbacks," she said.
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