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.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
President and Chief Executive Officer