Allianz Chief Risk Officer Balances Risk and Reward

Thomas Wilson, one of the executives on the 100 Most Influential List in 2012, has worked to professionalize the financial services firm’s risk management operations.

A chief risk officer can never rest on his or her laurels, especially one heading up risk management at Munich-based Allianz Group, the international financial services firm with more than $100 billion in annual revenue that provides products and solutions in insurance, asset management and banking.

Thomas Wilson is the fluent economist who runs the global risk function at Allianz and is responsible for day-to-day management of limits and controlling of all risk positions. Given the topsy-turvy global economy over the past five years, it’s a full-time job.

Fortunately, when the financial crisis broke, Allianz, traditionally a conservative institution, had less than $400 million worth of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and was relatively well positioned on the cash side of the balance sheet.

“We’ve always been conservative with regard to solvency and solvency ratios, which clearly supported us in the flight to quality financial institutions,” Wilson says. “Of course, as an insurance company, we were brushed with the same tar as the banking industry, but less so because of our recognized conservative profile and [manageable] property and casualty exposure.”

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