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What is a risk controller?
This position combines controlling with risk management: the main task of the risk controller is to analyze risks for the employer. Is a deal an opportunity or rather a risk? The risk controller assesses, evaluates and quantifies potential risks and reports on possible effects.
The risk controller usually works for a bank or a financial service provider in the area of risk controlling or finance. Even if his area of responsibility primarily includes the development or further development and validation of risk models for the quantification of risks, he also requires sound knowledge of mathematics and business mathematics. In most cases, the risk controller has completed a relevant degree. If, on the other hand, the focus is on the creation of risk reports, i.e. the comprehensive analysis and preparation of the results for the board of directors, a completed degree in economics or business administration with a quantitative focus is required.
Knowledge of regulatory requirements
In the banking environment, a rough distinction is made between the following types of risk: market price risk, credit risk, operational risk and liquidity risk. There are different models and methods for each of these risk types. For credit risk, for example, there are value-at-risk models that require probability of default (PD) and loss given default (LGD) as parameters. The minimum requirements for risk management (MaRisk) result from Basel III, i.e. the regulations of the Basel Committee of the Bank for International Settlements for the regulation of banks. To fulfill this, a regular report on all types of risk must be submitted to the Management Board – this is also a task of the risk controller.
The risk controller is the first point of contact if there are audits by the supervisory authorities such as the Bundesbank, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, the European Banking Supervisory Authority or the European Central Bank. He is available to answer questions about the processes, methods and models for which he is responsible and must demonstrate in a well-founded manner that he has complied with the regulatory requirements. An example of an audit is the special audit in accordance with section 44 (1) KWG, which includes compliance with the MaRisk.
Since new requirements are constantly arising – due to product innovations, new processes or methods – a risk controller is often involved in projects, either as a project employee or project manager.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Studies in business administration, economics, mathematics or physics
- Starting salary: €40,000
- Top salary: €80,000
- Opportunities for advancement: senior risk controller, head of controlling, head of finance, chief risk officer
What does a risk controller do?
- Development, validation and further development of models for quantifying risks
- Creation of risk reports for the board of directors
- Monitoring compliance with regulatory requirements
- Accompaniment of supervisory examinations
- Participation in or management of projects
How do you become a risk controller?
- Studies in business administration, economics, mathematics or physics
- Experience working with models, data and quantitative analysis
- Very good knowledge of Excel, Access, software for statistical analysis (SASS, R, S-Plus etc.)
- Good knowledge of German and English, both spoken and written
What does a risk controller earn?
up to €80,000
A risk controller ‘s salary is significantly influenced by his or her experience. A junior risk controller earns around €40,000 a year, and a senior risk controller can earn twice that (up to around €80,000 a year). But the location and the salary structure of the bank or the financial service provider also influence the salary level. For example, a risk controller in the banking metropolis of Frankfurt can earn more than a risk controller with a similar requirement profile in Berlin.
What do you expect from the risk controller?
A risk controller should have a very good grasp and be able to delve deep into a complex subject. This is the only way he can develop a well-founded understanding of the business model and the connections within his bank or financial services company. Of course, he should have an intense feeling for numbers and methods and also work very carefully in order to deliver correct analyzes and results. A risk controller should be able to communicate clearly and at eye level, as this is the only way to get relevant information from all departments, including the IT department.
In addition, he must be able to present content convincingly in order to stand up to the board of directors or the supervisory authority. Since he works in a very dynamic environment with rapidly changing requirements and needs, resilience, flexibility and initiative are required.
Opportunities for advancement as a risk controller
A risk controller has a wide range of development opportunities within his field of activity, such as further development to become a specialized senior risk controller. If a managerial position is desired, the next step would be management of risk controlling or the position of head of finance. In correspondingly large credit institutions, the vertical career can be further expanded as a risk director.
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