"Be a trusted advisor in the domains of Risk & Compliance"
Patricia Goddet, Business Line Lead Risk & Compliance
Risk & Compliance is a fairly new business line within Ensur and is led by Patricia Goddet, who has already more than "earned her stripes" in the consultancy world. After 20 years of serving the financial sector in the broad area of risk management, she followed her passion for insurance and teamed up with Ensur to start a new business line. Interested to know what makes this combination unique? Or to understand her motivation and ambition with the new business line? Read the full story below.
How did you end up in the consultancy world?
Patricia Goddet: I would say luck has a lot to do with it. 20 years ago I wanted to kick-start my career in the asset management space, and so I accepted a position as a risk & performance consultant advising large pension funds in Belgium and Europe on their asset allocation strategy. It was a very small company but well known in Belgium and beyond, and very soon it opened up a whole new world to me. And that is when I realized that consultancy was really my thing. Even after 20 years, I really love it every day.
Consultancy is all about working with people. I seek personal connection in everything I do. It is also a very dynamic world. I know this is often a bit of a buzz word, but to me that means an environment that is constantly moving, that challenges and stretches you, and offers a window of opportunities. Opportunities to be involved in interesting projects, to learn and grow as a professional but also as a person. I never know what the week exactly is going to bring, but I know it will be fun. And that is where I get my energy from!
Can you tell us a bit about your track record and how did you end up at Ensur ?
Patricia Goddet: I graduated as Commercial Engineer, and as already mentioned, I started as a risk & performance consultant working with large pension funds and asset managers. After four years, I made the switch to Deloitte, where I joined the FSI Governance, Regulatory & Risk team. During the first few years, I was part of the valuation team, supporting and advising clients, mainly asset and fund managers, on financial risk in relation to the valuation of financial instruments.
Gradually I moved to the non financial risk spectrum, working on broader risk management and governance projects, like internal audits, risk audits, due diligence assignments etc. These assignments were less technical, but brought me closer to the real business, allowing me in a very short time frame, to get a good insight in the day-to-day operational processes at my clients.
Moving away from financial risk, also led me to regulatory and compliance risk. After the financial crisis of 2008, a wave of regulation was released on the sector and that gave me the opportunity to work on a number of regulatory compliance missions, supporting clients in understanding the requirements, and the impact thereof on their business, but even more so in defining practical solutions to embed in their day-to-day operations.
Throughout the years, I supported clients in almost all sub-segments of the financial industry: asset management, private bankers, banks, pension funds, private equity etc. But since a bit more than 8 years, insurance has become my key focus industry. During one of these project I met the colleagues of Ensur. We worked together quite intensively for almost 2,5 years. So, when in 2020 I decided to give my career a new twist, I reached out to them. I was looking for a new challenge to combine my expertise in risk and compliance, with my passion for Insurance. And so we quickly joined forces and shook hands on the launch of the new business line “Risk & Compliance”.
Passion for insurance
So how do you want to differentiate yourself from other players in this segment?
Patricia Goddet: If I had to summarize that in 3 words I would say: Focus, expertise and pragmatism.
- With focus I mean, Ensur is a small organization where everybody has a passion for and is 100% focused on insurance. “Simplicity beats complexity every single
time”. Belief me, I know, I worked for a big organization for 15 years, and although there is clearly cross fertilization between the different sectors, it also leads to a split focus. Here at Ensur we talk to insurers every day. We know their business, we understand their struggles and our only focus is solving their problems.
- And that brings expertise. We combine a subset of expertise in Business Consulting, Risk & Compliance and Technology Consulting, all with a focus on the insurance industry. That makes us unique in the market.
- And lastly, we are pragmatics. Concretely in my field, we all know that since the financial crisis, the sector has been overwhelmed with regulatory reforms and new initiatives. This is a huge challenge not only to follow-up but also to integrate and embed in the day-to-day business. Our role is to understand the requirements and the impact it has on the business of our clients, and at the same time define and help implement pragmatic solutions. We don’t only talk about Compliance by Design, but we practice it.
What is your ambition with the new Business Line?
Patricia Goddet: Our ambition is to be considered a trusted advisor in the domains of risk & compliance. Obviously that means, delivering support to the risk and compliance functions in the different areas that we focus on. But we also want to be a sparring partner for the business. Support them with all the challenges that risk and regulatory requirements pose on their day-to-day activities. We want to empower them to do business in a compliant, effective and efficient way, taking into account all stakeholder expectations.
And of course, I cannot do that alone. So I am building a team of consultants around me, that have a proven track record in the insurance industry, in combination with deep knowledge and expertise in the domains we focus on. And so I was very happy that Caroline Heins, my former colleague, decided to join the team as my first official team member.
“What I appreciate at Ensur is the open family culture, the energetic and entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that we all work towards one common goal: we all have each other’s back.”
Business Line Lead Risk & Compliance
Caroline, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Caroline Heins: I started off my career working as a lawyer for 3 years, after which I made the switch to the insurance sector, working for 2 years in the claims management department of an insurance company. In 2017, I was contacted by Patricia to join her team at Deloitte that was focused on regulatory risk & compliance within the insurance sector. And so the next four years I started building my expertise in risk and compliance domains within the financial sector, and more specifically insurance. So prior to Ensur, I had already been working with Patricia for quite a while.
What made you decide to follow her and join the Risk & Compliance Team at Ensur?
Caroline Heins: Joining Ensur and the brand new Risk & Compliance business line was for me a great opportunity as well as the logical next step in my career. First of all because I really wanted to continue working within the insurance sector, and keep on learning and growing in own field of expertise. And secondly, because at Ensur we not only focus on the risk & compliance challenges the insurance sector encounters, but we have a much broader service offering. I am really excited to work with colleagues that have so much experience in the insurance business, operations but also technology. Working on projects with so many insurance experts will surely help me grow and serve even better our clients, by finding the best approach and solutions to face the continuously evolving regulatory framework. Joining Ensur was then kind of a no brainer!
I am also happy to be part of what can be called a family sized consultancy firm, with room to take on initiatives, grow, take on new challenges, and have fun!
Coming back to you Patricia, what are the key areas that you focus on?
Patricia Goddet: We want to support our clients around five themes:
- Regulatory change & compliance: I already spoke about the wave of regulation, that is not likely to end soon, and the challenges this entails for our clients. Maybe one thing to add is that we also launched a Regulatory Watch. So within our focus areas, we research and monitor all relevant publications and bring them together in a monthly newsletter that can we found on our website.
- Sustainability: The buzzword par excellence and therefore an extremely topical theme, I am aware of that. But I am convinced that this topic is going to be on the agenda of insurers (and brokers) for the years to come. We approach sustainability in a very broad way, being well aware that climate change is the top priority number one. There are the requirements coming from the EU Sustainable Finance Action Plan, which are in itself like a big monster homing in on the sector at a fast pace. And here of course we can help our clients digest and develop a realistic action plan. But we also consider these and other requirements, like for instance the TCFD disclosures, as an enabler to really move the needle. So for those insurers that want to start developing their own trajectory towards net zero, we can support them to define a transition plan in the short and longer term and convert this into very concrete actionable objectives (smart goals) in all their core business activities.
- Risk culture & governance: We support insurers to enhance the maturity of their internal governance model, with particular focus on the internal control environment, the risk culture, and the overall risk management methodology. Very practically, the internal control environment has been under pressure for quite some time, and the constant wave of new regulations, organizational changes, and people operating more and more remotely have in many cases reinforced the issue.
- AML: Its clear that we are just at the beginning of the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. In July of this year, the European Commission presented a set of proposals to again strengthen the rules including a proposal for the creation of a central AML Authority. The aim is always to improve the detection of suspicious transactions and activities, and close loopholes used by criminals. But all of this poses an enormous challenge for our clients to keep up to speed, and continuously update their internal processes and systems. And that is exactly where we can support them.
- Privacy: Data and information are becoming more and more valuable even critical for organizations. New trends in the space of data analytics and artificial intelligence are even enlarging the type of data that we gather and use. For insurers this is very often personal and sensitive client related data, health data, etc. A correct handling and protection of this data is crucial. We can support insurers to place privacy in the hart of their data management environment to ensure that they not only meet the obligations towards customers, employees, partners and authorities, but also reap the benefits of correct processing of personal data.
Searching for solutions together with the customer
Many people would quickly call Risk & Compliance 'boring'. Wrongly in your opinion?
Patricia Goddet: Of course (smile)! I know that “compliance” is often associated with lengthy and complex legislation, and “risk management” is considered a limitation to do business. But that’s not how we look at it at Ensur. First, we want to help Risk & Compliance departments to become that strategic partner that the organization and business urgently needs. To create the environment and context that focusses on solutions, and were the answer is not always 'no’. It can also be 'yes, but'. And secondly, we deal with risks (including compliance risks) primarily from within the business strategy of an organization. Effective risk management should make it clear for the organization what their true challenges and boundaries are in realizing the business strategy (“risk limits”), but at the same time, and maybe even more important, indicate where lie the opportunities to create value. Precisely the challenge of looking for solutions and opportunities together with our clients allowing them to be innovative and do business is what attracts me.
Let me give the example of Sustainability. The role of the insurance sector in the transition to net zero is of utterly importance and I am truly convinced that there are a lot of new opportunities to be exploited. First of all there are the investment opportunities, driven by new technologies, a shift in investment behaviour and don’t forget regulatory evolutions. Insurers are amongst the largest institutional investors, so the decision where to place their investments can have a real impact on e.g. the development of new technologies around carbon removal, new sources of renewable energy, the storage of energy etc. But secondly, and foremost insurers are underwriters. As Marc Carney said, committing to net zero would imply making underwriting contingent on underlying companies having credible net-zero transition strategies. But also offer solutions through product innovation for instance by integrating adaptation measures in the features and trigger mechanisms of your product.
So bright prospects ahead. How do you manage to maintain your own work-life balance?
Patricia Goddet: Well, for starters by realizing that there is no such thing as work-life balance, as it implicitly assumes that both our opposite to one another. My work is a very important part of my life, but off course not the only part. What helped me throughout my career was rather the concept of “Manage Yourself”. Depending in which phase of your life you are, you might have different priorities. Important is to denominate them as such, and manage your life, make decisions and choices with these priorities in mind. Know what you are choosing for. The hardest part in consultancy is the fear of missing out. But priorities change, and hence your choices will change over time as well.
And the crucial aspect for me in managing my career has been “flexibility”. Flexibility in every sense of the word. Flexibility in how I manage my agenda, where I work, but also in mindset. Consultancy, but I assume this goes for many organisations, is a lot about give and take. It is important to keep a good balance between these two. Go the extra mile when needed, do what it takes to reach the deadline. But on the other hand, don’t be afraid to take back some time when needed. For instance I have always picked up my kids from school 2 days a week, until the day they asked me otherwise (smile). O
“Support our clients by guiding them through a transformation journey to become future proof”
Business Line Lead Risk & Compliance