Risk and opportunity management system
In a dynamic market environment, the early identification and systematic exploitation of opportunities is a fundamental entrepreneurial task. This is the precondition for our company’s long-term success. We are continuously exposed to risks that can impede the realisation of our short-term and medium-term objectives or the implementation of long-term strategies. In some cases, we must consciously take controllable risks to be able to exploit opportunities in a targeted manner. We define risks as internal or external events resulting from uncertainty over future developments that can negatively impact the realisation of our corporate objectives. We define opportunities as possible successes that extend beyond the defined objectives and can thus positively impact our business development. We consider risks and opportunities as inextricably linked. For example, risks can emerge from missed or poorly exploited opportunities. Conversely, exploiting opportunities in dynamic growth markets or in new business areas always entails risks.
With this in mind, we regard our company’s risk and opportunity management system as a tool that helps us to realise our corporate goals. It is a systematic, group-wide process. It helps the company’s management to identify, classify and control risks and opportunities. As such, risk and opportunity management is a uniform process. Risk management renders developments and events that could hinder us from reaching our business targets transparent at an early stage and analyses their implications. This allows us to put the necessary countermeasures into place in a timely manner. At the same time, this forecasting process allows us to systematically exploit emerging opportunities.
Centralised management and efficient organisation
Group-wide risk and opportunity management tasks and responsibilities are clearly defined and reflect our corporate structure. We combine centralised business management by the management holding company METRO AG with the decentralised operating responsibility of the individual sales lines.
It is the responsibility and a legal requirement of the Management Board of METRO AG to organise a governance system for METRO GROUP. We regard the risk management system, the internal control system and the compliance management system as well as internal auditing as components of the governance, risk and compliance system (GRC system). This organisational structure is based on the governance elements identified in § 107 Section 3 of the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) as well as the German Corporate Governance Code. The fundamental principles of the GRC system are defined and documented in the governance, risk and compliance guideline. The goal of this guideline is to render structures and processes more transparent as well as provide for a uniform procedural-organisational framework for the subsystems. The guideline sets the binding framework for existing and future regulations. This is the foundation on which we plan to increase the overall efficiency of the GRC system within METRO GROUP and to continuously enhance its effectiveness.
The group committee for governance, risk and compliance (GRC committee) co-chaired by the Chairman of the Management Board and the CFO of METRO AG regularly discusses ways to harmonise and refine the GRC subsystems. The committee also regularly discusses the current risk and opportunity situation. Permanent members include representatives of Corporate Accounting (including Risk Management and Internal Control Finance), Corporate Planning & Controlling, Corporate Treasury, Corporate Legal Affairs & Compliance (including Internal Control Operations), Group Internal Audit, Group Strategy as well as the Group Finance Director. In addition, since April 2015, representatives of Corporate Public Policy and Corporate Responsibility have taken part in the meetings to prepare the semi-annual GRC reports.
The Management Board of METRO AG assumes overall responsibility for the effectiveness of the risk management system as part of the GRC system. The sales lines and group companies are responsible for identifying, assessing and managing risks. Key elements of internal monitoring include effectiveness checks in the form of self-assessments by the management of the sales lines and group companies as well as internal audits.
The Supervisory Board of METRO AG also oversees the effectiveness of risk management. In compliance with the provisions of the German Corporate Sector Supervision and Transparency Act (KonTraG), the external auditor submits the company’s early-detection system as part of the risk management system to a periodic review. The results of this review are presented to the Management Board and Supervisory Board.
The Risk Management department within the Corporate Accounting department of METRO AG is responsible for overseeing and refining our risk management system. In coordination with the GRC committee, METRO GROUP’s risk management officer determines the company’s risk management approaches, methods and standards. The risk management officer also coordinates the underlying process. Together with representatives from individual group departments who are also members of the GRC committee, the officer continuously and promptly informs the Management Board of METRO AG of important developments in risk management, facilitates an exchange of information within our company and supports the continued development of risk management in all sales lines, group companies and central departments.
The risk management system is organised as a closed loop. As a result, we ensure the design’s effectiveness with respect to the defined risk management rules. In addition, this allows us to guarantee effective implementation and continuous improvement of the system based on results and experiences.
Risk management as a closed loop
Systematically identifying and communicating opportunities is an integral part of the management and controlling system of METRO GROUP. Opportunities may refer to internal or external events and developments that can have a positive impact on our business development. In principle, we strive to balance opportunities and risks.
We conduct macroeconomic analyses, study relevant trends and evaluate market, competition and location analyses. In addition, we analyse the critical success factors of our business models and relevant cost drivers of our company. The Management Board of METRO AG specifies the derived market and business opportunities as well as efficiency enhancement potential in the context of strategic as well as short-term and medium-term planning. To this end, it entertains regular dialogue with the management of the sales lines, group companies and central holding units. As a company, we focus primarily on business approaches driven by the market and by customers. We continuously review the various elements of our profitable growth strategy.
Group reporting is the central element of internal risk and opportunity communication. It is complemented by risk and opportunity management reporting. The aim is to allow for the structured and continuous monitoring of risks and opportunities and document this in line with legal and regulatory stipulations.
We conduct an annual risk inventory to systematically map and assess all material group-wide risks based on quantitative and qualitative indicators and uniform criteria relating to loss potential and the probability of occurrence. The results of the risk inventory and the risk portfolio are updated on a regular basis.
The centrally responsible risk coordinators in functional terms, for example, in procurement, sales or administrative functions, validate the results reported by the sales lines, group companies and central departments. In a second step, they summarise these in a functional risk profile coupled with a detailed description of material individual risks. In a third step, risk profiles for selective categories are validated in direct interaction between the risk coordinators and the GRC committee, and specific steps to improve risk management are devised.
In addition, we consider the results of the SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis carried out as part of the strategic planning process. We also consider analyses of reports that we compile as part of our medium-term planning and projections. Furthermore, we examine relevant results from the internal control system, the compliance management system, the opportunity management system and internal auditing.
The overarching risk and opportunity portfolio at METRO GROUP that emerges from these findings enables us to gain a very good understanding of the company’s risk and opportunity situation. The so-called GRC report describes the current situation and includes recommendations on risk management and measures to improve the effectiveness of GRC subsystems.
The Management Board regularly informs the Supervisory Board and the Accounting and Audit Committee about risk and opportunity management issues. Once a year, the Supervisory Board receives a comprehensive written report informing it about the organisation and alignment of risk and opportunity management as well as the current risk and opportunity situation.
At the same time as the half-year financial report 2014/15 was being prepared, we reviewed and updated the overarching risk and opportunity portfolio for METRO GROUP that was compiled in the previous year.
Furthermore, an emergency notification system takes effect if serious risks to our asset, financial and earnings position arise. In this case, the Management Board of METRO AG directly and promptly receives the necessary information.