Meet Neilesh Mistry, ERM & Risk Governance Principle
Please tell us about your career journey and your path to Sompo International.
I’ve been working in Enterprise Risk Management (or ‘ERM’) within the insurance industry for nearly 14 years supported by a degree in mathematics. When I first started out, ERM was in its infancy as a dedicated profession. My first position was as a Risk Analyst with a large international insurance firm in the UK. This is where I learned the qualitative components of ERM namely operational risk.
I wanted to expand my knowledge in other quantitative areas of ERM (financial risks and capital/solvency management) thus I took a position with a large consultancy firm which was a great learning experience. During that time, Solvency II regulation was coming in and I had the opportunity to work with several insurers in the London insurance / Lloyd’s market helping them develop and implement their ERM frameworks and best practices.
One of the clients offered me a permanent position, which I gratefully accepted. The position was a Risk Manager at Lloyd’s. I spent the next 7.5 years working my way up the ranks to ultimately lead the internal ERM Function helping grow the department before departing for Axis Capital. I joined Axis to gain more direct experience working in a commercial environment and led the Group ERM team’s qualitative / operational risk pillar
After nearly 3 years, I left Axis to join Sompo International in May 2022 to continue my career journey in the qualitative risk space. Today, I lead the Group Chief Risk Office’s efforts on operational risk across Sompo International. Given our growth ambitions and strategic direction, there is lots of interesting work to get involved in which was one of the key pulls in joining the company.
As I reflect on my career to date, I have enjoyed working on projects and initiatives in the strategic operational risk space of ERM. They provide more of an opportunity to learn and ask lots of questions by getting involved in a variety of areas across a company and to surface key material risks, which while not always obvious, can influence and make real changes within a company.
What advice do you have for prospective Sompo International candidates?
Do your research, Sompo International is a truly global company and you need to adjust your mindset to this. We are growing at a rapid rate, with change happening frequently. My advice would be to embrace and contribute to this wherever you can and try to help things along in any small or big way – but the overriding advice would be to try your best and to just make things better. I’d also say in the same breath to also exercise a level of patience, things don’t happen overnight and don’t always go to plan. I’d say we are on a path of building our company and culture, and anyone who joins the company has been bought in to contribute to this.
Tell us about an initiative at SI that you are most excited for in 2023.
Given that my focus is on operational risk, and in the context of the company’s strategic direction, there are several initiatives planned / in progress which dampen or reduce operational risk exposure. The development of the Multinational Business Unit (creating unified approaches and processes) and initiatives to improve the quality of underlying key business data used in to manage the company are just a couple of examples which provide me with enthusiasm. Also from a personal work perspective, our ambitions to materially grow in areas like Europe and other markets presents new risks (both from an execution perspective and the introduction of new traditional operational risks) – this makes my job more interesting!
What is your idea of a perfect day outside of the office?
I have 2 young children who I obviously love to bits, but they can be very challenging and demanding at times! My perfect day would consist of some sort of enjoyable/fun and calm activity with my kids in the morning (one where we avoid arguments or fights between them!). In the afternoon I would spend time with my close friends or wife playing a round of golf (an activity I took up during the pandemic) in warm sunny weather followed by some beers, a couple of games of pool or snooker. Finally, the day would be rounded off with a nice dinner with my wife and a good night’s sleep! One day…