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Know your limits

Risk expert Daryl Koch learnt early in life to control his impulses and stick to the rules — he’s been applying the lesson ever since.

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My whole life has been about risk,” says Daryl Koch, who runs his own business as a risk and governance adviser to small and medium companies. “Yet there are some things in life that will trip you up no matter how well you plan – particularly in the kitchen.”

As much as he guards against cooked books, Koch loves cooking a meal. But he knows how easily things can go wrong. “I was making an old-fashioned Swiss fondue for a dinner party and transferring all the elements from the hob to portable heaters to be filled with methylated spirit. But I was talking and having a glass of wine, and by mistake I grabbed a bottle of white spirit, poured that instead – and there was an explosion. Very embarrassing.”

Avoiding embarrassment has frequently been part of his job description. Before setting up Canterbury Commercial Services in Melbourne in 2013, Koch worked at ANZ for 25 years, orchestrating work around operational risk and compliance for trading in their financial markets. Among other roles, he is also the IPA’s representative on ASIC’s Business Advisory Council, as well as being a director of the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

opzioni binarie 24option truffa aaron opzioni binarie New pastures An unlikely career resume, some might think, for a farmer’s son who grew up in rural South Australia. But training as an accountant after leaving secondary school wasn’t quite as counterintuitive as it seems. His mother had been an accountant before meeting his father – “at a time when women were rare in a male-dominated profession”, he notes with some pride.

The first non-farmer in his family for more than 170 years – “I don’t like getting my hands dirty and hay makes me sneeze” — Koch admits his dad was disappointed with his career choice at first but recognised the world of high-stakes finance clearly held more interest, and prospects, for his son.

It was from his father that he learnt important lessons about the fundamentals of risk – through gambling, says Koch, which he still enjoys occasionally. “Dad liked to bet on the horses, and from a young age he taught me not to be stupid about it and to know your limits. As soon as you go outside your limits, you lose, because you become emotional.”

The farming life held other lessons, too, such as the value of diversifying risk: his father switched from being a pure grain farmer to include beef, lamb and wool.

Koch applied these same rules during his early experience working as an interest rate and foreign exchange trader. “You must be clinical, disciplined and stick to the rules,” he says. “Of course, you’ll lose from time to time, but you’ll get it back; just play the game and be consistent.” Balancing risk and opportunity

Thirty-eight years working in six banks – including the bumpy experience of the Asia Crisis in 1997 and the GFC in 2008 – honed his risk management skills. “Letters after your name look great, but there is nothing like being dropped in at the deep end,” he reflects.

Seeing first-hand what can go wrong left Koch with strong views on how companies calculate – or don’t calculate – risk.

“There’s a tendency in large and medium-sized companies to take their eye off the ball over what can hurt them – they get so focused on sales, income and trading.” he says, “And while it’s great to make revenue, there have to be people who can cover you and prevent operational losses.”

While noting that governance and compliance experts can make big contributions to a company’s success as a trader, Koch says some companies are beset with ‘anacondas’ — governance people who go over the top and strangle a business. “It’s a question of balance, knowing what can bite and how much it can bite you,” he says. “If a risk is insignificant, at the end of the day perhaps let it go.”

Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription A new start

After 25 years working at ANZ, Koch’s role was absorbed into operations head office in Singapore and he saw redundancy as an opportunity. “Even though I’m an accountant and one can make a good living from that, it’s a crowded market. So, I chose to set up a governance business.” He completed a company director’s and company secretary’s course and began preparing himself for corporate life.

Running his own show with a dozen or so clients, Koch says he could never go back. “I do different things for different people and I enjoy that variety and freedom,” he says.

Not being answerable to anyone but his clients is another reward, as is the flexibility to plan his work and spend time with friends and family. He first met his lawyer wife when she worked on foreign exchange documentation with him at ANZ. “We fell out over that but eventually reached a compromise and became friends. That developed into a more serious relationship.”

His wife shares his passion for cooking. Koch, as ever, understands his limits. “Being born in Kuala Lumpur, she makes wonderful Malaysian and Chinese food. So I don’t try to compete with that. It’s too risky!”

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