Portfolio management perspectives on governance and risk - two big challenges: event review

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Posted by APM on 21st Jul 2016

Two critical aspects of portfolio management, namely governance and risk, generated lively and enthusiastic discussions amongst around 40 attendees at the Portfolio Management SIG AGM on 5th July.

This part of the evening was creatively facilitated by committee member Nancy Olson and started with Lynne Ratcliffe (Portfolio Governance Manager, Yorkshire Building Society Group) briefly  outlining how getting the basics right in information flows  was essential to bring credible governance to support the YBS Investment Committee and Change Board. Swiftly following Lynne, Paul Morgan (Head of Global Business Services Demand & Portfolio Management, SABMiller) highlighted the need for clear, rigorous processes able to respond quickly to market needs and regular effective management routines to enable timely decisions, coupled with assurance to maintain the integrity of the portfolio.

Jo Matthews (Risk & Assurance Manager, Yorkshire Building Society Group) explained how the YBS have taken a robust stance with portfolio risk management across the group, realising that credible information and clear ownership are fundamental to getting the right risks managed effectively. The final presentation from Pauline Stewart-Long (Chair of the Pharmaceutical Industry Project Management Group, PIPMG) showed how the nature of pharmaceutical portfolios meant focusing focus on aspects such as identifying risks that can impact the corporate strategy, monitoring  the external environment for changes and ensuring that all projects use the same core assumptions.

The final session of the evening involved attendees working in 4 interactive groups to consider the following questions:
1.    What are the key dos and don’ts of an Investment Committee?
2.    What are the key links between Project Governance and Portfolio Governance and how can we work better together?
3.    Characterise portfolio risks and what is needed to ensure they are identified, defined and managed effectively?  How should they be managed differently to programme and project risks?  
4.    Strategic portfolio risks should be owned by an Exec or a Board member.  How can we manage these stakeholders and embed portfolio risk management into the exec governance process?  

The groups came up with some great ideas and these will be written up to add to the SIG’s extensive knowledge base, and they will also help develop collaborative ventures with other SIGs as part of the PfM SIG overall research programme. 

Presentations slides from this event can be found here

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