Yearly Archive for 2020


After nearly three decades in risk management, the founder of Risk Insights Anushka Bogdanov will be stepping down as CEO of Risk Insights to take a medical sabbatical. She has recently been diagnosed with early stages of serious illness and will be focusing on treatment and recovery. Over this period, Anushka has been a role model and mentor for women across South Africa as a leader, educator, mother, daughter and business owner, her perseverance has been showing that woman can achieve success in all spheres of life.
Anashrin Pillay will take up the role of acting CEO of Risk Insights with primary focus on driving the Environmental, Social and Governance based ESG GPS model to the next level.

Some of Bogdanov’s career highlights include:
• Setting up trade finance limits for ABSA London in the 1990s when South Africa became part of the global economy and sanctions were lifted after the abolition of apartheid;
• Being part of Fitch International and rating banks across the globe for emerging market economies including South Africa and the rest of Africa;
• Leading a team of analysts and ensuring that Nedbank’s Basel II models for retail banking (home loans) being the first to be accredited by the South African Reserve Bank at the time;
• Pioneering risk and analytics department at the Development Bank of Southern Africa; establishing and leading first fully-fledged risk and analytics team at Development Financial Institutions in South Africa;
• Founding Risk Insights (Pty) Ltd 11 years ago and (among other successful projected which change risk management landscape in Southern Africa) building SA’s first Artificial Intelligence driven ESG Rating Model; model has been built with a team of young black data scientists from the township in 2020;
• Launching an e-learning platform and digital campus in SA during the COVID19 pandemic through partnership with a multinational company Tata Consulting Services to assist in the democratisation of education in our country,
• Serving on various boards and audit committees for the South African government institutions as well as private sector companies.

Risk Insight’s welcomes Anashrin Pillay, in taking over as acting CEO, previously served as Group Head of Investor relations at PPC, with his primary role to serve as the leader of ESG GPS for South Africa, Africa and the world. Anashrin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics, Actuarial Science and Statistics and recently completed his PGDIP at Henley Business School in 2020 with distinction.
Anashrin is an investment professional with pan-African investment experience. He joined the stockbroking industry in 2005 as a junior analyst. In 2009, he was rated in the annual Financial Mail survey for analysts in the construction sector. In 2010, he joined Stanlib Asset Management as an industrial analyst and was responsible for covering diversified industrials and construction as part of the Stanlib Industrial Team. In 2014, he joined PPC as programme management officer in the office of the CFO, responsible for special projects. In this capacity he was successful in delivering a profit improvement programme in excess of R400m and was project lead on a transaction of more than R100m. In 2016, he was appointed as a senior corporate finance analyst involved in project finance reviews in various rest of Africa countries including (Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Ethiopia and DRC) and investigating M&A opportunities. In 2017, he was appointed as Head of Investor Relations at PPC. He also served as Chairman of the PPC Pension Fund Investment Committee and currently serves as a director on the board of the Investor Relations Society of South Africa.

We wish speedy recovery to Anushka Bogdanov and every success to Anashrin Pillay in his leadership new role.

Risk Insights

Response to the emergency budget June 2020

Dr Anushka Bogdanov
Managing Director, Risk Insights

The tough supplementary budget from the Finance Minister – and his warning that, despite interventions, unemployment remains a major challenge – is ample illustration of the risk knife-edge that South Africa is sitting astride. His assessment comes as our official unemployment rate has climbed to over thirty percent and will worsen once the lockdown numbers are calculated for the second quarter.

I welcome the R100-billion that has been set aside for what he terms a multi-year comprehensive response to the jobs emergency, as well as the President’s job creation and protection initiative. But the debate also has to move internally. So, as we sit at the edge of a jobs precipice, organisations – both in the public and private sector – also need to start thinking differently about new and unknown risks attached to employment.

I’d suggest that sick-pay programmes need to be revisited, to make sure both the company and the employee are properly protected. And there is no doubt that as South Africa moves beyond 100 000 infections and 2000 tragic deaths, the cost of providing healthcare and disability and life insurance is going to increase exponentially.

Risk units have to insist that boards of directors are aware of what will inevitably be a steep change in cost-structure dynamics. Conversely, directors have a duty to make sure their risk professionals are educated and fully up to speed with all critical issues on the employment front. They have a duty to make sure that key strategies are not only developed but constantly revisited, as the pandemic charts towards its peak and eventual decline. The bottom line of most companies – the world over and at home – is being negatively impacted, and absence of key staff is already having an impact on delivery and output. Therefore, it is vital that key employees and positions for which backup is needed are evaluated. This means cross-training programmes need to be developed. The Finance Minister is absolutely right when he says unemployment is the country’s greatest challenge right now. Proper internal-risk programmes can go a long way towards mitigating further corporate haemorrhaging.



SOUTH AFRCA’S first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) AI-developed corporate ratings tool has been launched.

Two years in the making, the product ESG GPS has been developed by Johannesburg-based risk management advisory and consultancy boutique Risk Insights. The online tool rates all companies on the JSE, and provides an ESG rating on a score of 1-4 – four meaning a strong ESG rating.

The tool is aimed principally at asset managers, development-finance institutions, banks and listed companies, all of whom need to augment ongoing valuations and expected losses, particularly in the Covid-19 influenced investment climate. The model also assists regulators with an ongoing understanding of crucial ESG factors that drive responsible governance and systemic risk. The Risk Insights ESG model was conceptualised and developed by founder and MD Dr Anushka Bogdanov, leading a team of young data scientists. Bogdanov has 26 years of international risk-management experience, and a PHD in International Financial Management.

Says Bogdanov: ‘Our ESG model was built specifically for South Africa, taking into account the unique operating and investing landscape. Our system also runs vital peer assessments, which are constantly needed in specific sectors. We have, unlike other international models, also rated an entire bourse in a single exercise. Given several massive corporate failures over the past decade through serious governance breaches, it’s clear that ESG criteria are critically important and need to be taken into consideration in borrowing and investor decisions, in an effort to prevent systemic risk.’ The key advantage of the Risk Insights model is that it takes into account the unique and challenging South African corporate and regulatory operating environment. Notes Bogdanov: ‘The ratings are fully transparent, and companies can and should continue working on all sections in the model to improve their ratings. By having an ESG rating, companies and asset managers are able to access sustainable impact funds growing worldwide at an exponential rate.’
Accessing the model is through subscription. Once you are a subscriber, you are given a unique code and password. Access to the information is based on a subscription agreement.

Bogdanov believes the Risk Insights model is ripe for the time. ‘The new-generation investor is not just looking at shareholder return, but also stakeholder return. This is reflected in how sustainable impact funds and green bonds have increased in volume and growth around the world.
The ESG GPS product will assist fund managers in accessing these funds. It’s now acknowledged that companies that have inclusive and meaningful social strategies – and responsibly include factors like race, gender, age and workable plans to deal with big issues like climate change and societal conflict – will be more successful in the future.’

Bogdanov believes all corporate entities are currently being impacted by these factors, and that valuation and risk will be priced up or down if responsible actions are not taken into account.

We recommend Nouriel Roubini’s latest piece for The Guardian.

Here’s an insight from one of the great contemporary economists on how the private and public sector should be engaging with the pandemic. At Risk Insights, we see geopolitical risks increasing; monopolies and attention to economic concentration risk being examined more closely; as well social disruption due to the fourth industrial revolution coming to the fore.

Risk Insights brings you a Window on the Week with Dr Bogdanov

Risk Insights brings you a Window on the Week with Dr Bogdanov

We’re always here to answer any questions you might have. #RiskManagement #BusinessSavvy #BusinessSense #LockdownSouthAfrica

Anushka’s Monday morning Video for Jeremy Maggs – 20/04/2020

Anushka’s Monday morning Video for Jeremy Maggs – 20/04/2020

Anushka’s voice clip regarding an interview between Devan Murugan from eNCA and Anushka.

Anushka’s voice clip regarding an interview between Devan Murugan from eNCA and Anushka


Applyng the humble principles of ESG during the Covid-19 crisis


The coronavirus is an unplanned global catastrophe, and corporate South Africa has no choice but to step in and assist its employees, however difficult it may be.

Already we are seeing some evidence of this and companies that are rolling up their sleeves are to be applauded. In these current uncharted waters, proactive governance and managing social aspects both from within and outside company offices are paramount, not only for sustainability but also for survival. In this respect we should remind ourselves of what Nelson Mandela said when it came to a society coalescing: “If you want the cooperation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important and you do that by being genuine and humble.”

Right now, a little humility will go a long way. During any time of crisis companies need to re-focus on the important principles of ESG – environmental, social and governance – which refers to the central factors in measuring the sustainability and societal impact of an investment in a company.

This philosophy is now even more pronounced after government’s declaration of a national disaster and a 21 day lockdown which makes the national executive primarily responsible for co-ordinating measures for the mitigation, prevention and recovery and rehabilitation from disaster.

This in turn means companies have to be responsible for implementing many of these measures. It also means company leaders will find themselves working in a completely different and untested paradigm and will have to adapt quickly. They will have to ensure continuity management in the organisation, taking heed of the wellbeing of its employees at all times. Doing this correctly can only enhance the reputation of companies during this difficult time. Organisations can also use the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to showcase their ability to adapt to real crisis management, practically demonstrating robust governance. Disclosure of proactive policies and processes by companies also provides an insight to how well the sS (social) component of the ESG impact is being taken into account.

The management of human resource policies and supply chain disruption provides insights to the g (governance) of the ESG of companies. This will provide investors and society with strong insights into companies that have a better chance in getting out of the crisis stronger and more productively if they are led by ethical leaders who have taken into account sustainable human capital – the S in ESG. Boards of directors and management also need to be fully aware of the coronavirus impact on the brand and strategic reputation of companies.

The kind of support companies need to provide to their employees ultimately assists in flattening the curve of infection which will range from its supply chain management, work from home, resources and infrastructure, paid sick leave and taking the elderly and pregnant women into account. It’s also incumbent on corporate leadership to critically and constantly evaluate the dissemination of crucial information regarding the virus to assist employees in making informed decisions.
By doing this companies are reflecting their investments in people but unlike other investments, the dividend will be reaped in creating sustainable competitive advantage and a loyal productive workforce. It also goes without saying that as part of its governance employers have a legal obligation to ensure a safe workplace. Now more than ever before a company’s work practices directly affect their ability to contain the virus and manage business disruptions in general.

Dr Anushka Bogdanov has 26 years of international risk management experience. She also has a PhD degree in International Financial Management from the London Business School.

Be the first to know

Be the first to know

To all of you at home in these uncertain times, I hope you, your family and colleagues are safe, observing the rules and coping. Every day that passes is small step to our country recovering. And, just like you, we’re busy here at Risk Insights.

Our expert team is modelling and analysing key data daily to make sure corporate risk is well mitigated. Risk Insights apologises for the delay of the ESG GPS Model launch. This Model will be launched in a few weeks’ time.

To that end we’ve accelerated our information pipeline and are putting out valuable and insightful risk-management news and content.

The best that business can do in this country is not only help flatten the curve but also stay ahead of the risk curve.

This is my personal invitation to follow us on:

Facebook – risk Insights Pty Ltdsignature_1402453848
Twitter – @Ptyrisksignature_1740803513
Instagram – @riskinsightsrisignature_1143405163
LinkedIn – Risk Insights Pty Ltdsignature_1184085709

With kind regards
Dr Anushka Bogdanov
Managing Director
Risk Insights