Return to Search

Join our mailing list

Sign up to our free mailing list to stay updated on the latest from the IRM.

Subscribe Now

Risk in Focus: Suzanne Smith GradIRM, Risk Governance Manager, Co-operative Bank


Suzanne Smith GradIRM,

Risk Governance Manager,

Co-operative Bank


How did you get your job?

I started working in Risk in 2015 at The Co-operative Bank as a Risk Management Co-ordinator on a secured arrears and remediation project, which is where my interest in risk started to grow.

I enjoyed the fast-paced nature of the role and seeing the benefit good governance principles can add to an organisation. From there I went on to work as an Analyst in the Risk Governance Team and have since progressed to manage the Risk Governance and Regulatory Liaison team at the bank.

What’s a typical day like as a Risk Governance Manager?

A typical day as a Risk Governance Manager can be very varied, from attending Senior Risk Oversight Committees, to managing the co-ordination of regulatory meetings and correspondence, co-ordinating and overseeing the Risk Appetite Dashboards and inputting into the Risk Report to the Executive and Board. Working with senior stakeholders across different business areas allows me to see how the Risk profile of the Bank is managed on a day to day basis and aligned to the strategy.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy working for a company with such a strong customer principles, led by its values and ethics. Working in a Risk Governance role in Financial Services is a really diverse and interesting role which keeps me busy ensuring the Risk Governance Agenda of the bank is managed accordingly.

What are the challenges?

I would say the biggest challenge in a governance role can be getting others to see the benefit and value good governance can add to an organisation. However I think, as awareness increases of why having a strong governance framework is so important, it will not be seen as a barrier to delivering at pace but a key tool in ensuring risks are well understood and good business decisions are made.

What would you say to others thinking about taking the Diploma in ERM?

If you are already in the risk profession, interested in further embedding your risk management knowledge and widening your network, I would recommend the International Diploma in ERM. Completing the Diploma took me a little over two years to complete and, although this does require a significant investment in time, the modules are designed for distance learning which gives you the flexibility to work at your own pace. I found the study and revision webinars extremely useful as these helped me keep on track with my learning and hearing from other students was interesting whilst enabling me to gauge where I was up to with my studies.

What have you been able to put into practice in your job as a result of what you have learnt?

Completing the International Diploma in ERM has provided me with the knowledge and confidence to actively input into discussions around the Risk Management Framework, improvements to the Governance framework and Risk Reporting at various levels of the organisation. Studying for the diploma whilst working in a Risk Management role in Financial Services allowed me to see in practice how the various Risk Management strategies and frameworks taught can add value and also identify where enhancements could be made.

Top tips:

  1. If you are interested in a risk role in your organisation, speak to relevant colleagues to get more insight and understanding.
  2. Work with colleagues in different business areas to share ideas about risks and opportunities to deliver the best outcome.
  3. Seek to continue your learning and widen your network in the risk profession.




Posted in News item