5 tips when moving from the second line of defence to the first line

Written by Ruth Hutchinson on Tuesday April 28, 2020

The three lines of defence model is an important way of managing risk within a business. If you're working in the second line and have recently moved to the first line, you could find this a daunting experience. We've put together these five tips to help you make the transition confidently and successfully.


1. Recognise your own limitations

Listen and learn from client-facing colleagues. They will be able to share their specialist knowledge about the markets, customers and products and help you to build your own understanding. This experience will help you improve product and client knowledge and, when mixed with your expertise as a subject matter expert, makes for an ideal combination when developing risk assessments.


2. Bring your commercial awareness to the fore

Understanding business strategy plays an integral role in ensuring your control solutions are fit for purpose; experienced first line colleagues can work together with you to help you develop and design controls that work both to manage risk and operate successfully in the commercial environment.


3. Learn the governance model

Identify the governance model in place in your new area and find the best places to engage. Talk to people and find out if there are any meetings or events that will give you this information. Remember, that this might include meetings that cover non-risk topics. Interact, introduce yourself and be seen.


4. Bring your humility but stay strong to the values of risk mitigation

Organisational psychology tells us that leaders who demonstrate humility receive better engagement from others. If you’re used to overseeing teams you’re now working with, this skill becomes even more crucial. As mentioned before, you are not going to know everything. Admitting your own knowledge gaps, and respectfully deferring to others will lead to far more constructive discussions about mitigating risk than any display of arrogance would.


5. Appreciate the opportunity

Cultivating a positive compliance culture is integral to effective control performance. Here’s a rare chance to work across levels within your business, mutually educate and learn from each other, as well as giving you the opportunity to help colleagues truly understand why risk management is so important.


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