Client Testimonials

 

"As a consultant to the Chicago Federal Home Loan Bank, James Lam's advice and counsel has been instrumental in supporting the development of a best-in-class risk management organization. James is an excellent partner and a consummate risk management professional."

Matthew R. Feldman
President and Chief Executive Officer 
Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago

"James Lam knows how to design and implement an enterprise risk management program that fits the client's business and culture."

Mike Litwin 
Chief Credit and Risk Officer
Merrill Lynch Capital

"James Lam was a great coach in the early design of our integrated risk framework and helped us prove that risk management can also serve in the pursuit of opportunities for poverty reduction."

Enrique Rueda-Sabater
Director, Strategy and Integrated Risk Management
The World Bank

"GMAC retained James Lam & Associates because they brought a blend of management and consulting experience to the engagement. Together we created an exciting business model, which was met with the approval of the Board and top management."

Anurag Saksena
Senior Managing Director, ERM
GMAC

 

Training and Speaking Testimonials

 

“Along with our board of directors, risk management staff, and corporate and business unit managers, I have attended James Lam’s ERM training course. James has an exceptional ability to deliver in an engaging and accessible manner, with lots of practical examples and case studies from his work as CRO and ERM consultant. More importantly, the feedback was very positive and everyone left with a deeper understanding of ERM and their respective roles.”

Stephen J. Sponaugle
Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati

“We were delighted to have James Lam as the keynote speaker at the annual Compliance Summit. His presentation on “Risk Management 3.0: Strategies, Tactics & Best Practices” was simply outstanding. It was forward thinking and yet practical. He captivated the audience comprised of corporate directors, executive management as well as compliance and risk management executives. He educated, entertained and enlightened. James is truly the preeminent risk management expert who not only knows his stuff but can teach it in a way that is highly effective.” 

Sai Huda, Chairman, Compliance Summit
Vice President & General Manager
Enterprise Governance, Risk & Compliance Solutions
Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.

“I must say that your course was the best I've attended in the past 15 years. The research cited, case studies and anecdotes shared were insightful, relevant and colorful. There are many takeaways I can immediately use in my supervisory work and special assignment."

Johannes Tekle
Manager, Operational Risk & Capital Assessment Services
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada

 

“This week we caught a great speech by former Fidelity Investments risk chief James Lam at a PRMIA event in DC. While the event centered around a new book he recently published, his message was quite clear about enterprise risk management: It is not a fad. He suggested that those companies failing to jump on the bandwagon will ultimately suffer."

John Sodergreen
Editor-in-Chief, The Risk Desk

 

Industry Recognition and Citation

"James Lam, president of risk-management consulting firm James Lam & Associates, has been spouting the benefits of ERM from its infancy. His prediction? “We’re going to make more progress in ERM implementations and its standardization in the next couple of years than we did in the last dozen.” 

In fact, many experts are taking a hard look at how audit committees do, or don’t, get involved in risk management. “I think we will begin to see audit committees evolving into risk committees,” Lam says. “A primary function of the board is strategy development and execution. But, as risk management becomes a key agenda item for corporate boards, linking strategy to risk management becomes a logical and desirable goal. You need to define and assess the key risks that can prevent the organization from achieving the strategic objective, and you do that by establishing key performance indicators along with the key risk indicators. This will require that audit committees improve their expertise in risk management, or that the board form a separate risk-management committee with this competence.”

CFO Magazine, Cover Story, April 1, 2011

“Widely considered the first chief risk officer, Lam has published three books in the past year, and is still going strong.”

Treasury & Risk, June 1, 2008
“100 Most Influential People in Finance” for 2008


“Widely noted as the first ever chief risk officer, Lam is Mr. Enterprise Risk Management, 
championing the practice for the past decade or more. Today, he is one of the few who can say, ‘I told you so.’”

Treasury & Risk, June 1, 2006
“100 Most Influential People in Finance” for 2006

“A pioneer in automation techniques around risk management, Lam was also an early advocate of enterprise risk management.”

Treasury & Risk, June 1, 2005
“100 Most Influential People in Finance” for 2005


“James Lam, top risk advisor….has done much for the risk profession over the years – like 
many, he’s advanced the art and science of risk management and measurement. But more importantly, he’s helped to raise the overall stature of the role across industries and geographies in a very short period.”

The Risk Desk, July 2003

“Lam should know: He is a poster executive for ERM, pioneering the strategy in the mid-1990s at Fidelity Investments, where he had the distinction of being the first CRO in history, a title he actually coined. But in financial services, ERM has lived up to its promise.”

Treasury & Risk Management, March 2002

“Lam argues that managing risk by silos simply doesn’t work, because the risks are highly interdependent and cannot be segmented and managed solely by independent units in the firm.”

FRBNY Economic Policy Review, March 2001

“He’s widely credited with creating the title of chief risk officer…Judging by the number of CROs following in his pioneering footsteps, Lam may have inadvertently spawned a minor revolution.”

CFO Magazine, September 2000

“At one global enterprise we encountered an outstanding individual with the title “Chief Risk Officer.” He is, we believe, the first of a new breed.”

Price Waterhouse Review, December 1998
In reference to James’ work at Fidelity Investments

“The case studies in this chapter profile companies that serve as examples of best practice in the field of business risk management…Fidelity has an integrated approach to managing risk, though this was not always the case.”

The Economist Intelligence Unit, 1998

“The Risk Manager of the Year Award was developed to recognize the contributions of an individual [James Lam] who has advanced the profession of financial risk management.”

Global Association of Risk Professionals, November 1997
In announcing James as the inaugural Risk Manager of the Year


“James Lam is one of the industry’s most 
outspoken advocates of firm-wide integrated risk management.” 

Derivatives Strategy, October 1997

Select Quotes

"Overall, 78% [of chief risk officers] reported to the board level, to the chief executive, or both. That's an important trend, says James Lam, who is credited with inventing the title when he became the chief risk officer at FGIC Capital Markets in 1993.

"It elevates the function to a true C-level executive, and that increases the seniority and visibility of the position," says Mr. Lam, who now runs his own enterprise risk management consultancy James Lam & Associates. 

That still leaves at least two problems, however. The first is the lack of an objective feedback loop for the chief risk officer. At the moment, the function can point to the absence of major losses to prove its effectiveness, but that's not wholly convincing as a proof. As Mr. Lam puts it, "AIG and Bear Stearns were doing fine until they weren't." Just as human resources can point to turnover rates, information technology to systems downtime or finance to unreconciled items, the chief risk officer needs an objective gauge, such as unexpected earnings volatility, to evaluate the success of the company's risk management program. That sort of evidence has been lacking in risk management for years, principally because it is difficult to measure. However, it will be key to the ultimate success of the role.

Wall Street Journal, October 5, 2010

Many boards are “not well organized to provide effective risk oversight,” Lam says, when it comes to governance structure and risk management expertise. They might not have a dedicated risk committee, or don’t spend enough time on risk management issues. They are often not well served, he says, with respect to the right policies, defined risk tolerance levels and useful reporting. Lam advocates that boards add risk management expertise to their ranks, which he stressed is different than financial expertise.

Risk Professional, Cover Story, February 2009

“ERM, for which we collected no fewer than a dozen definitions….We’ll use James Lam’s definition…ERM, he says, is the integrated management of business risk, financial risk, and operational risk and risk transfer to maximize a firm’s shareholder value.”

CIO Magazine, November 1, 2004

“In the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and more stringent corporate governance and compliance requirements, ERM – no matter who is in charge – is here to stay, says Lam.”

AICPA Journal of Accountancy, June 2004

“Mr. Lam contends that the Enron bankruptcy as well as other past experiences with defaults points up the importance not only of adopting sound market and credit risk practices, but also good liquidity risk management. ‘You have to ask yourself, what if one of my major counterparties defaults? How will I manage the direct credit risk and the market risk associated with open positions? Plus, do I have sufficient liquidity to give me enough time to work these things out? In a situation like that, if you don’t have time, you’re dead.’”

Global Financial Markets, Spring 2002

“There’s a tension. The marketplace is more volatile. At the same time, Wall Street wants more predictability then ever,” says James Lam.

Wall Street Journal, July 7, 2000

“Ultimately, all risk-intensive businesses need to develop risk management as a source of competitive advantage, to optimize risk and return of the overall business portfolio and increase the transparency of risk to senior management, directors, and outside constituencies such as shareholders and regulators.” says Lam 

American Banker, February 12, 1999