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Letter to Our Stakeholders

To Our Stakeholders:

We are honored to present to you the GARP 2020 Annual Report.

2020 was a year of considerable worry, sadness, and uncertainty. COVID-19 and its personal and business effects were unprecedented. People around the globe lost loved ones and experienced much suffering caused by the pandemic.

For all who lost someone they cared for, personally became sick because of COVID, or know anyone who suffered or is currently suffering from this terrible virus, please accept our heartfelt condolences, and our most sincere best wishes.

As we move beyond the pandemic and begin experiencing a more normal way of life very soon, we’ll never forget those who passed.

Much like the rest of the world, GARP dealt with material challenges in 2020. Our business model depends on offering our globally accepted certification program examinations at about 100 different locations in 52 countries twice each year. The examinations are offered in person at a proctored location, with some examination sites sitting a few thousand candidates at one time.

COVID placed all of that at risk in 2020 almost overnight.

GARP made some unprecedented choices at the very beginning of the pandemic when governments and companies were still very uncertain about the effects of the virus. Our first major decision was whether to hold our annual, in-person Risk Convention in March 2020, which was scheduled nine months prior. While it may have been possible to continue with the Convention as planned as lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions had not yet been issued, we made the decision to cancel any in-person Convention activities and host the event virtually. As the world’s leading global risk management organization, we wanted to clearly convey that there were too many risks associated with bringing hundreds of people together in a very uncertain environment in New York City — a city that soon after became the U.S. epicenter for COVID.

Little did we know then that canceling the in-person aspect of the Convention would be just the start of a long line of firsts GARP would experience and deal with throughout the year as we addressed the numerous challenges presented by the global spread of the virus.

Our COVID-related 2020 decisions were grounded in the firm policy that, irrespective of any financial consequences, we would place the safety and well-being of our candidates, Members, and employees first.

While GARP originally anticipated working from home would last only a few weeks starting in mid-March 2020, we were forced to adjust our office business approach for the rest of 2020 and are only now slowly transitioning back to a more normal working environment. However, the move to a work-from-home environment went extremely well. We adapted and were able to continue our business activities in a virtual environment as if we were in the office. Our staff responded with a professionalism that would make any organization proud, and our technology and business continuity planning held firm.

Our first examination cycle was in May 2020, very early in the pandemic. Governments and companies were still learning about COVID and were highly uncertain about its surrounding science. Lockdowns, social distancing, and other requirements were being imposed around the globe.

This uncertainty required GARP to delay its May 2020 examinations globally, moving the Exams for thousands of candidates to October 2020, an unprecedented decision for GARP, but the right one for a wide variety of reasons. This wholesale move necessitated that our staff regularly reach out to candidates with updates and address a very wide number of personal candidate and company issues. Daily, it also required us to monitor the fluid and rapidly changing COVID-related requirements of governments around the world. These challenges continued throughout 2020 and are still being addressed to this day.

GARP was able to deliver its examinations to all certification program candidates who wanted to sit for their Exam in 2020 (absent government restrictions) while deferring any candidates to 2021 who preferred to wait, a testament to the professionalism and customer-first principles of its staff.

For GARP, navigating the global COVID environment in 2020 was a major success. But our successes for 2020 did not stop there. In addition to offering a record number of virtual events, webcasts and podcasts, building our university outreach programs, expanding the work of the GARP Benchmarking Initiative, welcoming many new faces to Chapter meetings, and dramatically expanding our Corporate Ambassador program, we developed and successfully introduced the world’s first certificate program addressing climate change.

The Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR®) Certificate was offered in May 2020, with its first examination in November. Approximately 1,400 candidates registered for the Exam, objectively demonstrating the relevance and popularity of its curriculum. Based on SCR candidate feedback, we expect the program to continue to grow as the world deals with the risks associated with climate change.

GARP also finalized the complex details surrounding the move of all our certification programs from paper and pencil to computer-based testing in 2021.

While 2020 may not have been as financially successful as we’d have liked, we consider the year to be one of the best in GARP’s history given what was accomplished in such an uncertain global environment.

We hope that 2021 will see the end of the pandemic and a safe return to normal for everyone around the globe. And we expect that GARP — with the support of its Board of Trustees, our exam candidates, certification holders, and Members — will continue to fulfill and expand on its mission to support and build the global profession of risk management.

Thank you all for your support, and we wish you well.

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Bradford Hu Headshot

Bradford Hu
Chair of the Board of Trustees

Bradford Hu Signature
Richard Apostolik Headshot

Richard Apostolik
President and Chief Executive Officer

Richard Apostolik Signature
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The Ultimate Resilience Test

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A deadly pandemic. Historic political instability. Growing unrest over racial equality. The increasing ravages of extreme weather. It’s clear 2020 won’t be forgotten anytime soon. And that’s certainly true for the Global Association of Risk Professionals.

Following a 2019 of growth and expansion, where Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) registrations soared to new heights, GARP was poised for a banner year. But then 2020’s challenges came. Health restrictions around the world forced mass exam postponements. In-person events, from the annual Risk Convention to local Chapter meetings, were rapidly moved online. All Association offices shut down and the entire staff worked from home.

But GARP didn’t buckle under the pressure to respond and adapt. Amid the disorder, the organization rose to the occasion and emerged stronger than ever before, managing to:

  • Successfully and safely reschedule more than half the Exams that were canceled at the outset of COVID-19, thanks to the determination and care of Member Services
  • Launch the Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR®) Certificate, the first new educational offering since 2009
  • Expand the FRM program to meet today’s growing demand for more liquidity, treasury, and operational risk management knowledge
  • Lay the groundwork for the modernization of exam administration methods through computer-based testing (CBT)
  • Grow in its convener role, particularly through the expansion of the Buy Side Risk Managers Forum

Here is the GARP 2020 story.

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Education

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Climate Risk

GARP opened registration for the inaugural Sustainability and Climate Risk (SCR®) Exam on May 1, its first new educational offering since 2009. The first year for the SCR showed how strong, widespread, and diverse interest in climate risk is in the traditional financial risk management community and beyond. The nearly 1,400 SCR candidates who registered for the program in 2020 came from 58 different countries, with 20% holding executive-level positions such as CRO, managing director, and senior executive and with 60% working in banking, asset management, or consulting. An overwhelming majority felt the SCR had helped them; 90% said they’d recommend the SCR course to colleagues.

While the Association's newfound climate emphasis helped widen its risk network, the SCR program attracted significant attention from its community of certified risk managers. In 2020, 149 SCR Certificate recipients were either FRMs or ERPs, amounting to nearly 44% of the 339 total professionals who received their SCR Certificate in 2020.

GARP also organized two virtual celebrations for individuals who passed the SCR Exam and launched a LinkedIn community that rapidly became an active place for the climate risk pioneers to exchange information and build networks.

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1,366
First Year
SCR Registrants
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339
SCR Certificate Holders
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149
Certified SCRS
Also FRMS or ERPS
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Financial Risk

Following years of sustained growth, where registrations had increased each year by at least 18% since 2017, 2020 saw a drop in Financial Risk Manager (FRM®) candidates. This decrease was directly attributable to the pandemic and the challenge of offering Exams in-person. GARP finished the year with 71,546 registrations, a decrease of around 10,000 from 2019 but still a strong improvement over 2018, when registrations were 68,397. 2020 also featured some noteworthy increases in registrations in some regions, with India growing the most, by 19%. Overall, more than 3,800 FRM candidates received their certification, bringing the total number of Certified FRMs to 62,243.

GARP added a new section to its 2020 FRM curriculum on liquidity and treasury risk management, and expanded its coverage of operational resiliency. To improve candidates' learning experiences, GARP created its own specialized books for the Part I curriculum, transitioning from the curated readings approach utilized for years.

Energy Risk

In 2020, GARP shifted its focus in energy risk away from new certifications, working instead to grow, convene, and increase the knowledge base of the robust energy community cultivated over the previous decade-plus. Determining that the Energy Risk Professional (ERP®) program, one of the Association's educational offerings since 2009, was not meeting the needs of today's energy and financial risk management professionals, GARP made the difficult decision to phase out the ERP Exam by the end of 2021. However, this transition afforded GARP the space to engage its energy community in other key areas, such as quality content through podcasts, live webinars, and white papers, as well as timely energy risk discussions at the Global Energy Risk Forum co-hosted with the International Energy Forum, Risk Convention, and local chapter meetings.

Continuing Professional Development

The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program, offering accessible programming and learnings to all FRMs, ERPs, and SCR Certificate holders, saw an 18% growth in activities from 2019. In addition, the GARP CPD program was accessed by nearly 7,900 FRMs and ERPs in 2020 — a 16% year-over-year increase from 2019.

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71,546
2020 FRM
Registrations
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149
Countries with
FRM Registrants
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62,243
Certified
FRMS in Total
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A Staff Comes Together

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Working From Home

On March 15, 2020, with COVID-19 beginning to spread across the world, GARP President and CEO Richard Apostolik officially closed all Association offices and implemented the company’s first-ever work-from-home policy. Despite the distances between staff members, GARP employees managed to make the most of a difficult situation. With Zoom and Microsoft Teams as the main outlets for communication, teams continued to function without missing a beat, while tackling the difficult work of changing exam schedules, new demands for risk management content, and the increasing desire of risk management practitioners to share their experiences with others.

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Diversity Efforts

Always a diverse organization in its staff makeup, 2020 saw GARP step up its commitments to diversity and inclusion on a broader scale. Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent unrest around the United States, the Association released a statement on social media in support of a “peaceful and just future for all” and pledged to continue to “build a risk management community that’s inclusive, fair, and diverse.”

The Association also created a diversity committee whose efforts include reaching out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities to broaden awareness of risk, creating a plan to leverage the existing GARP network to attract and recruit a more racially diverse workforce to risk management, hosting a series of webinars focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and its intersection with risk management, and leading the GARP addition of floating holidays to enable employees to observe their cultural traditions.

Remembering Max Viscio

In 2020, GARP mourned the tragic loss of staff member Max Viscio, who was with the organization since 2018. Max was instrumental in maintaining the editorial quality of the GARP certification programs, and his talents and kind nature will live on.

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Innovations in Tech

Computer-Based Testing

To provide candidates with more options as they faced the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, GARP announced in 2020 that the 2021 FRM and ERP Exams would be administered via computer-based testing (CBT) instead of paper and pencil at secure testing sites around the world. CBT gives candidates more exam scheduling choices, allowing Exams to be offered over a range of dates as opposed to just a single date. It also enabled GARP to add a July FRM Exam in 2021 in addition to its usual May and November Exams. This transition aligns the FRM and ERP with the SCR Exam, which was administered in 2020 via CBT.

Virtual Events

Coinciding with the world's swift, sudden lockdown, GARP was forced to cancel its annual, three-day Risk Convention in New York City scheduled for early March 2020. Despite that disappointment, GARP’s events and multimedia teams quickly pivoted, organizing a free, one-day virtual event in its stead, featuring timely subjects such as cyber intelligence, operational resilience, and climate risk. And the risk community responded: More than 1,800 participants from 100 countries signed up. The Association’s most successful 2020 event in terms of attendance was the second annual Climate Risk Symposium, which garnered nearly 7,500 total registrations for the two-part event.

GARP’s Membership team experienced similar success with virtual programming. In mid-May, Membership worked with the GARP Budapest Chapter team to plan, organize, and host the first online Chapter event. The event saw 420 registrants from around the world. Soon the rest of GARP’s 20-plus Chapters followed suit. With geography and time zones no longer an impediment, and events now playable as on-demand webcasts, GARP saw that the future of the risk management community would include a strong virtual component.

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Digital Media

Overall, GARP saw massive digital media growth in 2020. Throughout the year, the Association released 65 different webcasts, far exceeding 2019’s total of 21; overall webcast registrations ballooned from just under 23,000 to nearly 60,000 by the end of the year. Video engagement also saw strong increases — with total views leaping from around 38,000 in 2019 to around 314,000 in 2020 — and GARP more than doubled its 2019 podcast output, which inspired more than double the engagement. Lastly, the longstanding GARP digital publication, Risk Intelligence, saw its page views grow by 58% in 2020.

Coinciding with the Association’s commitment to sustainability and climate risk management, GARP created Shifting Landscapes, an online knowledge hub featuring podcasts, webinars, articles, and white papers on the latest topics in climate risk management by the GARP Risk Institute and other climate experts.

WEBCASTS RELEASED

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VIDEO VIEWS

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Convening the Risk Community

Membership and Chapters

In 2020, the Association welcomed nearly 28,000 new Individual Members, and widened the GARP community to 263,000 across more than 195 countries and regions. To help Members gain the intelligence they need to address today’s complex risk issues, GARP began a special collaboration with Risk.net, enabling Individual Members to purchase 12 months of access to an exclusive digital content hub featuring more than 80 books, a year’s worth of articles from Risk Journals, and a weekly, hand-picked selection of in-depth news and analysis from Risk.net.

GARP also launched new Chapters in Poland, Budapest, Luxembourg, and Kazakhstan. In 2020, GARP hosted 31 Chapter meetings, with an average of 315 registrants per event and a total of 9,779 registrations overall — more than three times the count in 2019.

GARP Forums

The GARP Buy Side Risk Managers Forum brings together chief risk officers from the largest global asset management firms to share learning, best practices, and actionable discussions of current and emerging risk issues. 2020 was a boundary-breaking year for the Association's Buy Side Forum. Normally meeting two times per year, the U.S. Buy Side Forum staged five different remote meetings, including a joint meeting with the European Buy Side Forum which successfully set the stage for greater expansion and collaboration in the future. The GARP Buy Side Risk Managers Forum also drafted and shared a substantive paper on money market fund reform, distributed to approximately 60 policymakers around the world.

In addition, GARP hosted its 11th Annual Global Risk Forum — virtually convening nearly 70 global regulators, senior financial-market practitioners, and academics — and co-hosted the first-ever Global Energy Risk Forum with the International Energy Forum.

University Partnerships and Business Development

Created to help universities improve their risk management course offerings, GARP’s Academic Partnership Program offers a wide range of benefits for institutions, including exclusive access to FRM scholarships, opportunities to network with local risk professionals, research fellowships, and more. GARP added many new Academic Partners in a variety of regions in 2020, from the University of Cincinnati in the U.S., to SDA Bocconi in Italy, to the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China.

GARP also expanded its global reach and increased the awareness and value of a risk education by partnering with top government and corporate organizations to offer incentives to exam candidates; in 2020, the Association worked with the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) Singapore, YPPB Malaysia, and Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), among others.

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195+
Countries and Regions

28,000
New GARP Members

263,000
Total GARP Members
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Research

GARP Risk Institute (GRI)

GARP Risk Institute published its second Global Survey of Climate Risk Management at Financial Firms, this one featuring more than 70 participants, creating a wealth of climate learning content. GRI also published six other related articles and curated many insightful interviews via its monthly Climate Risk Podcast and webcast series. In November, GRI moderated conversations with top regulators and risk professionals at its second annual Climate Risk Symposium, with approximately 7,500 total registrations for the virtual event.

GRI also helped GARP elevate its status in the broader climate risk arena. Working closely with the Climate Disclosures Standards Board (CDSB), GRI created an online training course that is housed on the Task Force on Climate Related Disclosures (TCFD) knowledge hub. TCFD has emerged as the key framework for climate-related disclosures. The course, released during Climate Week NYC 2020, features videos from regulatory, environmental, finance, climate change, and risk experts, introducing the financial risks arising from a changing climate and its impact on business and finance.

In addition, GRI produced educational and policy-related output on risks of leveraged loans, including a series of articles on the instruments, markets, and sources of risk, and five webinar discussions with experts, as well as an op-ed in Barron’s and two Yahoo Finance interviews.

GRI continued to support model risk managers with meetings of discussion groups, roundtables, and production of a guide to starting up a model risk management program. In cooperation with a group of investment managers, standards for model vendor support of clients’ model risk management were produced and published.

GARP Benchmarking Initiative (GBI)

GARP Benchmarking Institute’s top achievement in 2020 was developing its Pillar III data platform. The culmination of years of public regulatory data collection for study validation, the platform garnered interest from banks looking to view historical trends in regulatory risk measures, capital values, and ratios. GARP leveraged the GBI survey work and built a cloud-based platform that allows users to select a comparison set of banks, and view how capital ratios, RWAs, PDs, and LGDs have trended over time. GBI demonstrated the platform to several banks in 2020 and received a highly positive response, with official launch planned for 2021.

Together with its Pillar III platform, GBI completed 10 different studies in 2020, including research on trading book domains (FRTB, CVA, SA-CCR), Total Loss Absorbing Capital (TLAC), and the benchmarking of internal market risk models.

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Financials

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The following highlights are from the GARP Consolidated Financial Statements as of December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019. For a full set of financials, please contact memberservices@garp.com.

GLOBAL ASSOCIATION OF RISK PROFESSIONALS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF FINANCIAL POSITION AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2020 AND 2019

Assets 2020 2019
Total assets $60,089,090 $60,128,014
Liabilities and Net Assets
Total liabilities $24,325,770 $16,246,589
Net assets - without donor restrictions $35,763,320 $43,881,425
Total liabilities and net assets $60,089,090 $60,128,014

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF ACTIVITIES FOR THE YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2020 AND 2019

Revenues and Other Support 2020 2019
Total revenues and other support $37,714,819 $52,394,985
Expenses
Total expenses $45,832,924 $41,500,171
Change in net assets ($8,118,105) $10,894,814
Net assets - without donor restrictions, beginning of year $43,881,425 $32,986,611
Net assets - without donor restrictions, end of year $35,763,320 $43,881,425
Consolidated
statements of
financial position
as of
December 31, 2020 and 2019
Assets Total assets Liabilities and Net Assets Total liabilities Net assets - without donor restrictions Total liabilities and net assets
2020 $60,089,090 2020 $24,325,770 $35,763,320 $60,089,090
2019 $60,128,014 2019 $16,246,589 $43,881,425 $60,128,014
Consolidated
statements of
financial activities
for the years ended
December 31, 2020 and 2019
Revenues and Other Support Total revenues and other support Expenses Total expenses Change in net assets Net assets - without donor restrictions, beginning of year Net assets - without donor restrictions, end of year
2020 $37,714,819 2020 $45,832,924 ($8,118,105) $43,881,425 $35,763,320
2019 $52,394,985 2019 $41,500,171 $10,894,814 $32,986,611 $43,881,425

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