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Every two years BELRIM grants a prize to a student having produced a remarkable paper, or thesis on the topic of Risk Management.

This year, Belrim received valuable papers for the prize and it was very difficult to choose. So exceptionally, we have decided to give two prizes, due to the fact that we have two totally different papers, both providing added value.

The First prize, Belrim prize 2013 is attributed to Ms. Laurien Van den Meerssche and Ms. Julie Van Heghe, from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Ghent University, supervised by Prof. Regine Slagmulder. Laurien and Julie have successfully completed their thesis on the topic of “Risk management in non-financial companies in Belgium, a state of affairs”. Thesis 1st Prize

Their thesis synthesizes a wide variety of literature on risk management into a coherent whole, including such topics as different types of business risks, the risk management process, risk assessment tools, organizational responsibilities, regulatory environment and challenges for the future. The state of affairs in risk management in Belgian non financial companies was documented based on two case studies and a survey among BELRIM members. The overall observation was that companies are expending significant efforts on the implementation of enterprise risk management, yet there is still room for further improvement, especially in developing strategic alignment and a proper risk culture across the organization.

Unfortunately, Laurien and Julie could not attend this Belgian Evening, so Julie Vandenhouweele represented them.

The second prize is attributed to Gil Delcour from the Faculty of Business and Economy, department Accountancy, Finance and Insurance of the university KU Leuven, supervised by Professor Jan D’Haene. The thesis submitted to obtain the degree of Master of Science in Financial and Actuarial Engineering was: “On the use of risk-free rates in the discounting of insurance cash flows”. Thesis 2nd Prize

This topic is currently under a lot of controversy because of its use in Solvency II, where the choice of discount rates will have a huge impact on the solvency capital requirements and more generally on risk management practices of insurers. Simply summarized, he has developed a tool for managing interest rates used by life insurance companies. He was not afraid to take a controversial point of view, searching for answers and questioning the work of academic specialists in this matter.

Congratulations to all three laureates!