Meet City National Bank’s Risk Management Guru: Risk All Star Marcelo Brutti: Risk and Insurance


As chief risk officer for a growing financial institution, Marcelo Brutti relied on clear communication, proven processes and a culture he knew he could believe in.

After stints at Visa, Hyundai, Santander and Wells Fargo, Marcelo Brutti wasn’t exactly new to risk management as he was considering taking on the position of chief risk officer at City National Bank, the Royal Bank’s subsidiary. from Canada.

But if Brutti was going to manage risk for what was then, in 2019, a $51 billion asset business, he knew he had to trust the company’s culture if he was going to upgrade and reorganize its risk management processes so that it can grow unhindered. by bureaucracy.

“Culture was one of the main points of attention during the interview. Because if you don’t have the right culture locally and globally, then it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do what you we did,” Brutti said.

And what did Brutti and his colleagues do as City National Bank grew from $51 billion in assets to over $90 billion in assets three years later?

Brutti’s team overhauled its IT risk management, BSA/AML (anti-money laundering systems), operational risk management, reputational, compliance and regulatory risk management, among others.

No small feat.

But all of this had to be done without strangling the bank’s growth engine.

“I wanted to put in place a program that would allow for sustainable and responsible growth without, as they say, ‘crushing the butterfly’,” Brutti said. “We have all these risk management infrastructure controls in place to make sure we are within our risk appetite, that we are meeting expectations, that we have all the right controls, but it has to be done the right way. way, because otherwise it becomes bureaucratic.

Brutti also relied on a management and interpersonal style that emphasizes collaboration and communication.

“I could impose on people what I know they have to do, but that’s not my style,” Brutti said. “I prefer to explain to them what they have to do, why they have to do it and the benefits they will get from it.”

Brutti and his team also had to operate under the uncertainty that supply chain issues, a war in Europe, inflationary pressures and a global pandemic have brought to national and global economies.

What Brutti and his team call their three lines of defense against risk and uncertainty are, first, the risk and compliance teams within the bank’s business units. The second line of defense is its risk management team, called “independent risk management”.

“We are independent from the front line. We create the standards. We apply board risk appetite mandates, across all risk categories, to make sure all the different teams, the different divisions, are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and operating within our appetite for risk,” he said.

The third line of defense is auditing. “It’s an audit before anything comes out of the bank, whether it’s a report, whether it’s numbers, whatever,” Brutti said. Good risk management at City National Bank also means having the infrastructure in place to enable future growth with minimal credit and other losses.

“You have to stay one step ahead,” Brutti said. “Because if you’re late, you’re too late.” &

Every year, Risk & Insurance selects deserving candidates to become Risk All Stars. They are risk managers who, through their perseverance, passion and creativity, make a big difference to the stability of their organizations.

Check out all of the 2022 Risk All Star winners here.

Dan Reynolds is editor of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]

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