DUSHANBE, April 13, 2011, Asia-Plus – International Financial Corporation (IFC) is partnering with the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) to help local banks and microfinance institutions become more sustainable and offer greater financial products and services by strengthening their risk management capacity and practices, press release issued by the IFC Dushanbe Office said.

IFC and GARP signed an agreement to develop a formal risk management education and certification program to be implemented for the first time in 9 countries including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.  The program will train employees from local financial institutions to reduce vulnerabilities of local institutions to future financial shocks.  For the first time in the region, the training and certification will be conducted in Russian, enabling many more individuals and local firms to participate.  IFC will select and engage partner-organizations in each country to provide on-site trainings and review classes.  IFC risk experts will help participants identify and mitigate financial risks such as credit, market, and operational risks.

“IFC is working to build the capacity of financial intermediaries in Europe and Central Asia to better manage risk” said Patrick Luternauer, Business Line Leader Access to Finance Advisory Services.  “The collaboration between IFC, GARP and local training partners in bringing this Risk Certification Program to the region will provide risk managers and other financial professionals with an opportunity to prepare and take exams under the auspices of an internationally recognized certification program in their own countries. This should further strengthen the financial risk management culture and climate in the region."

This initiative is part of the IFC Azerbaijan-Central Asia Financial Markets Infrastructure Advisory Services Project and the IFC Financial Markets Crisis Management Project, funded by the governments of Austria, Switzerland, Finland and the Netherlands.  These Projects aim to strengthen financial markets in the region through strengthening credit information systems, risk management practices and education as well as facilitating the distressed loan resolution.