A Day in the Life of a Risk Analyst
Risk Analysts are an integral cog in the business machine, guiding organisations through risks and opportunities to drive the business forward. Undeniably no one day mirrors the next, in large part due to the highly reactive nature of working in risk analysis. However, though the content of a Risk Analyst’s day may fluctuate on a case by case basis there are things that are relative constants throughout their working week.
Kicking off the day with a glance through the headlines and industry news pertaining to your company is something many Risk Analysts will do to get ahead of any potential incidents that may pop up. Once in the office (or home office) it’s time to go through your email inbox and sift through any requests that may have come in from the Risk Managers, which could mean entirely re-shuffling the schedule you had anticipated for the day. It’s important for Risk Analysts to stay on top of all requests and prioritise them accordingly. Anything is liable to pop up with the expectation of a tight turnaround so plans change and you have to be flexible in shifting things around.
One of those aforementioned constants that will tend to preface the day of a Risk Analyst is a meeting with their team. Also known as ‘team huddles’ there will be a number of these meetings throughout the day and week, some with just the immediate team, some including clients or other members of the business and some with the wider risk team. But that first huddle is there to give everyone an opportunity to understand what his or her colleagues are working on and whether any support is required.
With meetings or huddles punctuating the day of a Risk Analyst it’s important to be very organised and methodical in order to get around to everything. This of course is even more important given the likelihood of unexpected tasks landing in your inbox at any moment. Along with meetings, a Risk Analyst could also be expected to attend training sessions and possibly conferences, though these will likely not be a daily occurrence.
Meetings can last around an hour at a time. Then the follow-up work begins and the lengthy documenting process relating to a particular control or product. The process can take up much of your week as you need to send out request forms for documentation such as supporting evidence. Following that you’ll need to test out the operating effectiveness to check whether the control does what it’s designed to.
With a quick hour for lunch and if you’re not working remotely, a chance to catch up with your colleagues, you’ll be expected to be back at your desk and ready to effectively field any questions from the Risk Managers regarding your morning’s work on a particular model or control.
Risk Analyst jobs also involve a great deal of data. So don’t be surprised if part of your day involves going through millions of rows of data, particularly if you’re working in the financial services sector. You’ll likely find yourself having to analyse the results of regular stress-tests done to ascertain the level of risk for the firm, before formulating that information into a clear and comprehensive document to present to the team and senior management.
The day in the life of a Risk Analyst can be full on and unpredictable. Those tasks you’d set out to complete at the start of the day may have to be relegated to the afternoon, meaning you might leave the office later than intended. Though generally speaking, it’s unusual for Risk Analysts to burn the midnight oil. You’ll typically start your working day around 8am and depending on how things have panned out during working hours you may wrap up any time between 4-6pm.
If we’re assessing the end of the week then a quick review of next week’s calendar is a good way to get ahead of the game before Monday rolls around. Knowing what’s to come gives you a chance to ready any important materials or paperwork you’ll need to present to your manager and have an idea of how the next week will look.