Highlights from RMA’s 11th Annual Governance, Compliance, and Operational Risk Conference (GCOR)

On April 4, Edward J. DeMarco Jr., General Counsel and Director of Operational Risk at RMA, welcomed attendees to Day One of a sold-out GCOR XI in Boston. Throughout RMA’s eleventh annual Governance, Compliance, and Operational Risk Conference, industry experts discussed their views on cyber resiliency and third-party risk management, with an emphasis on the role of culture.

Spyro Karetsos, director of Enterprise Risk Services, SunTrust Banks, delivered the conference’s opening address, entitled “Alternative Perspectives in Operational Risk Management.” He said operational risk is “an avalanching scope of responsibilities,” and operational risk professionals need to decide how to involve their operational risk teams.  

Helga Houston, senior executive vice president and chief risk officer, Huntington Bancshares Incorporated, and RMA chair, then gave a thought-provoking keynote address on lessons learned about identifying and understanding a proposed M&A transaction’s impact on the risk profile, the importance of risk management in M&A activities, the keys to successful due diligence, and the challenges of merger integration.

Dean Yoost, author of the new RMA-published book A Director’s Voyage through Risk Management, shared insights to help board members thrive amid seemingly overwhelming demands. Among other tasks, regulators expect boards to provide a “credible challenge” to management, help set a proper tone from the top, and have a much better understanding of the financial services industry than many directors did before the crisis. He said directors are also cautioned not to encroach on the duties of management, because this could impair their ability to perform oversight efficiently and effectively. 

The conference also featured presentations on risk appetite, cybersecurity and vendor risk management in ERM, blockchain, technology and innovation, and more.

Panel discussions included topics on industry issues, insights, and trends, and incentive compensation governance and risk. 

A more detailed article on the highlights of GCOR will be published in the July–August issue of The RMA Journal.

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