For Sandy, Executive Manager Retail Wealth Risk and Governance, ensuring risk is considered in every stakeholder decision is all about finding balance.
“Things are constantly changing, so you have to be close enough to the detail but independent enough to consider the big picture, while always constructively challenging ideas. It’s a balancing act.”
Having built a new team less than a year ago, Sandy’s role is about embedding risk controls and practices within the business she supports, while setting the risk strategy and providing advice on a large scale project.
“My team’s role is to provide the ‘voice of risk,’ guiding the business on what’s the right thing to do for customers. We’re focused on balancing commercial and business interests with customer and regulatory considerations. We spend our time building risk profiles, implementing controls and providing advice to the broader business.
“Risk management isn’t about ticking a box, it’s about having a voice at the table at the moment when decisions are being made. Asking the question: is this the right thing to do? All decisions made trigger different risks, controls and processes. But ultimately it all stems back to the question of ‘should we do this at all?’.”
Sandy believes that it’s a mix of soft skills, technical skills and business acumen that helps make a risk professional truly successful.
“You have to be a Jack of all trades. To be able to assess risk, you need to understand the business, the product, the distribution channels and importantly the context.”
With a clear risk focus being set from the top at CommBank, Sandy is confident that she’s chosen the right place to work.
“We’ve got a broad remit to make change at CommBank. The message that we need to be a simpler, better bank is clear so there’s a real appreciation of the role of risk professionals here.”
And it’s not just at work where balance is key. As a mum of one, Sandy’s main focus outside of work is spending quality time with her son and husband. She explains that the flexibility offered at CommBank allows her to be there for the important family events, but also still deliver for her busy and complex job.
“My son started school recently and I have the flexibility to drop him off and pick him up. It was very sentimental, looking back at how quickly he’s grown. There were no tears though which was good – for him or for me!”