As the financial crisis showed, the biggest risks to a business are those its senior managers are unaware of. Given that the sources of risk to financial services firms are extraordinarily varied, it pays to have different perspectives among the people tasked with looking out for those risks. This creates a strong prima facie case for diversity among the senior staff of the Risk function.
The same case can also be made for the variety of skills required. In the past, Risk functions were staffed by technical experts on quantitative modeling, Since the crisis, regulatory and commercial imperatives have extended the work of risk managers. They must also attend to more esoteric risks, such as operational, conduct, and reputational risk, which are not so readily amenable to quantitative analysis. And they must be able to communicate and explain complicated concepts, to partner with the business, to challenge and hold them to account without stifling their commercial sustainability. Diverse skills require a diverse staff.
Risk managers need to be able to look beyond their own frame of reference