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Financial Resilience and Good Risk Management for New Zealand

Andy Wood

A speech delivered at the MARSH RIMS New Zealand and Pacific Islands Chapter

23 September 2019, Auckland

By Andy Wood, Head of Supervision

Please note the delivered speech may differ slightly to the published version.


I lead the supervision activities of the Reserve Bank (the Bank): banks, insurers, non-banks, payments etc. And I’ve been at the Bank since 2008 when the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) hit. Initially I dealt with finance companies: Hanover, Bridgecorp, South Canterbury Finance etc. and then with banks post GFC. More recently insurers have come into our world.

I am a banker by trade, so forgive me if I occasionally revert to banking analogies, they are just that - analogies. I could well be talking about insurance companies or other financial firms.

One reason I’m very pleased to be with you here today is because I used to work as a risk manager back in the day at the National Bank of New Zealand (NBNZ).

In fact, my first ‘true’ risk management job was a consequence of Nick Leeson, the trader who single-handedly brought down the venerable Barings Bank in the early ‘90s by unauthorised trading on the Asian markets. This led to the creation of middle office risk management, and so the NBNZ scrambled to build a market risk function and put me, a literature and history grad, in charge of Monte Carlo and VaR models! Not an ideal situation, but one I got away with until my inner imposter syndrome won the day.

Even so, I have Nick Leeson to thank for his contribution to my career ladder. His antics gave me a job that, I think, has given me a reasonable perspective into your world.