Risk in focus: Dan Bannister

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) talks to Dan Bannister, IRMCert, Client Support Manager/Operations MSS Global on what working in risk is like and what advice they would share with people looking for a career in the industry.How did you get your job?

I have been involved in risk management in one way or another since my time in the Royal Marines, with multiple tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, in different roles, you learn not just to understand the immediate risks and implement a dynamic risk assessment on the ground, but the wider strategic risks that can arise and how the team can help mitigate them. I have been in my current role as Operations and Client Support Manager for a Certification Body specialising in Ethical Assurance since March 2020, I had previously worked as a lead auditor some years back before taking on other roles in compliance and risk management (Health and Safety and Business Continuity specifically).

What’s a typical day like as a Client Support Manager?

Very varied, we have tasks all over the world in some complex environments (Iraq/Afghanistan/Somalia/Nigeria through to USA and Papua New Guinea) that we have to manage. This varies from strategic risk management of a client portfolio through individual task risk management including more recently, Covid-19 implications and how we can ensure a continuity of assurance – without losing the rigour and integrity of a Certification Audit.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety, and working with a great team, we run a fully virtual office so working from home is also nice.

What are the challenges?

Some of our clients are facing very difficult times as the Covid-19 impact continues to be felt, we need to be flexible within the constraints of our Accreditation Body (UKAS – who audits us) to deliver audits virtually where possible.

What made you decide to study the International Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management?

I enjoy continuing professional development, I have health and safety qualifications and I am as Certified Business Continuity professional. Having done the International Certificate in ERM seemed to be the natural progression.

What has it taught you that you can immediately put into practice? 

Many people see risk management as just health and safety or business interruption (hazard risks), the course has helped me understand wider strategic risks and to be able to view risks through different lenses, and help manage them holistically.

What would you say to other people considering studying the qualification

Do it, it represents a great overview of risk in the real world with case-studies to refer to and good material included.

Top tips:

> A broad skill set and experience has helped me get the job I currently do – as well as the willingness to learn.

> Learn from your mistakes, you will make mistakes and its how you develop from those mistakes that shape you.

> Take feedback on board – if you are lucky enough to have a supportive/mentoring team around you use them to improve yourself

> Always consider the bigger picture and the ‘what if’ of any situation. This will help shape your response if you are always paying due consideration to consequences.