BMI risk programme is world class

BMI risk programme is world class

Potchefstroom - The Hons BSc Quantitative Risk Management (QRM) programme of the Centre for Business Mathematics and Informatics® (Centre for BMI) at the North-West University (NWU) has received international recognition from two global professional risk management bodies namely the Professional Risk Manager’s International Association (PRMIA) as well as the Enterprise Risk Management Institute International (ERM-II). Also, the Director of the Centre for BMI, Prof PJ de Jongh, has been asked to represent the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) on the ERM Global Syllabus Committee.

PRMIA (see ) has accredited the Hons BSc Quantitative Risk Management training programme for Level I and II of their PRM certification programme. The Centre for BMI’s Hons BSc QRM programme is the third in the world to be granted this status. Previously the risk programmes of the ICMA Centre at the University of Reading (United Kingdom) and the Applied Finance Centre at MacQuarie University (Australia) received similar status for their Masters programmes in Risk Management and Applied Finance respectively. The Professional Risk Manager (PRM™) certification programme is the global standard for the world's top financial risk professionals. Endorsed by leading businesses and leading graduate programs, it counts candidates from more countries than any other programme for risk managers.

ERM-II (see has been established by an international group of universities, mainly from the USA, with a focus on education, research, and training within an enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) conceptual framework. ERM-II was established to meet the needs and challenges of future risk professionals and enterprise risk managers, and is especially focused on the actuarial profession. Several actuarial societies support the activities of ERM-II namely the Society of Actuaries (USA), the Casualty Actuarial Society (USA), and the Institute of Actuaries Australia.

To achieve accreditation, both organisations (PRMIA and ERM-II) reviewed the quality of the Centre for BMI’s risk research programmes, the quality of the risk training programmes, the quality of personnel teaching these programmes (through their CV’s) and the interaction with the financial industry.

Recently, the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) , through its president Mr Garth Griffin appointed Prof de Jongh to represent ASSA on the Global ERM Syllabus committee of the International Association of Actuaries. Globally, actuaries are becoming more involved in enterprise-wide risk management and the objectives of the ERM syllabus is to develop standards and content for a specialist professional risk training programme for actuaries.

According to Prof de Jongh, the accreditation by PRMIA and ERM-II as well as the recognition by ASSA is clear evidence that the risk training programme of the Centre for BMI and NWU, has established itself as the best in South Africa and on par with the best in the world. This would not have been possible without the support of quality staff from the subject groups of statistics, economics, accountancy, mathematics and computer science and, of course, NWU management.

Other international ventures by the Centre for BMI include the marketing of the systems developed by Prof Dawie de Jongh (UltimateAlpha: to fund managers in the UK) and Prof A de Waal (AutoGann: to banks in the UK). Prof Machiel Kruger frequently visits Europe to present courses in Risk Dimensions, a SAS product, and recently a BMI masters student, Eddie King, completed his industry directed research project at Barclays in London. Mr Ian Wilson (Barclays, Group Credit Risk) hailed Eddie as the best masters degree student he ever had the privilege of working with.

It is worthwhile to note that Absa (part of the Barclays group) is also still actively supporting this programme via an operational support grant, a bursary programme to deliver 10 MSc graduates annually and the establishment of a applied risk research programme. SAS Institute has also established a RiskLab at the Centre for BMI. Naturally, most of the programming tasks of students are done in SAS which increase the market value of students, since SAS solutions are used widely in the financial services industry.