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Veteran Bank Risk Executive Joins Third-Party Monitoring Firm

After 17 years with Deutsche Bank, Victor Meyer becomes chief operating officer of Supply Wisdom

Friday, May 22, 2020

By Katherine Heires

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As COVID-19 and the global economic slowdown expose vulnerabilities in third-party networks and industrial supply chains, a firm specializing in monitoring and managing those risks has hired a former Deutsche Bank executive as chief operating officer.

The appointment of Victor Meyer, who held various risk management positions over 17 years with Deutsche Bank, took effect May 1. He joined a C-suite that includes chairman Atul Vashistha, who is also founder and chairman of the parent Neo Group; and John Bree, a Neo Group partner and Supply Wisdom's chief evangelist and chief risk officer, whose past affiliations include Citi and Deutsche Bank.

Victor Meyer Franco headshot
“No one has ever seen a risk situation quite like this,” says Supply Wisdom's Victor Meyer.

Meyer says in an interview that he will not function as a traditional COO, but rather will be providing clients with insights related to current global conditions, which, he stated in the press release announcing his move, have “shone a spotlight on the serious deficiencies of point-in-time risk assessments of limited risk categories. Forward-thinking executives realize they must embrace the shift to continuous risk monitoring and go beyond cyber and financial.”

At Deutsche Bank, Meyer's roles included group head of operational risk and group anti-fraud unit, and he had group-wide responsibility for third-party risk management, information security and technology risk, and operational resilience.

Meyer has also been active with the World Economic Forum, where he was vice chairman of the Global Agenda Councils for both pandemic and catastrophic risk. In 2019 he participated in the forum's advancement of strategies and training to help companies understand and cope with the rising threat of infectious diseases.

“My experience with the World Economic Forum will certainly help to inform how I serve our Supply Wisdom clients during COVID-19,” Meyer says.

He adds that “no one has ever seen a risk situation quite like this, where we have a combination of emergencies that were never expected to occur together - an epidemiological crisis, an economic crisis, a financial crisis, and a shut-down crisis for many small and medium-sized businesses.”

Disruption and Dislocation”

In normal times, Meyer notes, the supply-chain risk assessment process centers on the inherent risk associated with a supplier. It would involve a controls assessment and identification of risks to be mitigated, with an understanding that there would be further, periodic reviews.

“Right now, given all the disruption and dislocation associated with COVID-19, supplier risk profiles are changing on a daily if not hourly basis,” he says. And very few firms are prepared “to conduct assessments on an ongoing basis.” Instead, they are “just throwing people at the problem and inundating suppliers with questionnaires and requests for status updates,” which only results in overwhelming many suppliers and the firms they service.

A solution in the current environment, Meyer says, is to simultaneously monitor and assess multiple supply-chain risks with real-time and continuous risk intelligence. While at Deutsche Bank, Meyer had evaluated and favored the solution from Supply Wisdom, which was founded in 2012 and has offices in New York and Bangalore, India. Its clients are primarily in the financial and health care industries.

Patent Award

On May 12, Supply Wisdom announced that it obtained a patent for its real-time and continuous risk management technology and methodology, which, the company said, “enables users to generate on-demand risk scorecards and executive-level reports that are populated with real-time intelligence to show the current risk picture. Supply Wisdom's risk framework monitors over 300 risk parameters covering six categories of third-party risk and eight categories of location-based risks in a single solution, eliminating the need for multiple subscriptions or solutions.”

The system delivers “an external view that is very comprehensive across the risk taxonomy,” Meyer explains, including financial, cyber, people, governance, regulatory, compliance, solutions maturity, and business risk factors.

The firm monitors location risks according to geopolitical, legal, financial, scalability, macro-economic, infrastructure, business, and quality-of-life factors. It publishes an annual ranking of 60 global sourcing destinations on these criteria. As of March, Mexico ranked No. 1, with the highest risk exposure, followed by Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Ukraine. Singapore was lowest, at No. 60.

Supply Wisdom's multi-factor monitoring, Meyer says, can make connections: A gradual deterioration in the financial condition of a third-party firm might coincide with weaknesses in cybersecurity controls. One might then surmise that the firm is not adequately investing in cyber protections.

A Progression of Emerging Risks

Amid the current pandemic, interactions of risks across a supply chain become critical because of the possibility of what Meyer describes as “a geometric progression” of the risks.

Meyer explores the outlook for supply chains in a blog article, “The Next COVID-19 Shoe to Drop: Actually, It's Potentially an Avalanche of Shoes.” An immediate concern is deteriorating financial conditions and bankruptcies of third parties.

Beyond that, he calls on risk leaders to “take their financial blinders off” and not simply focus on point-in-time, financial risk assessments, which he views as “virtually useless and even counterproductive in a rapidly developing situation like COVID.” He advises that they closely monitor operational and non-financial risks “which are arguably larger and even more difficult to handle in terms of disruptions to their business in the short term.”

Among emerging supply-chain issues that Meyer says will require closer attention: Risks associated with a remote work environment; compliance risks at third-party firms, and lawsuits against third parties that fail to adequately protect employees; rising absenteeism and layoffs; employee mental health; and loss of business that could endanger the partner's survival.

Location-risk issues include: Increases in crime, social unrest and corruption; government regulations that restrict operations; a decline in credit availability; increased labor costs; economic conditions such as inflation, currency fluctuations and sovereign defaults; and overtaxing of the internet infrastructure.

“It's almost inevitable that the cascade of risks will in some way affect your supply chain and third parties,” Meyer stresses. “Continuous monitoring across a broad framework of risks beyond financial risks enables successful navigation of the challenges ahead.”

Katherine Heires is a freelance business journalist and founder of MediaKat llc.




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