More than 1,500 risk management professionals have registered to use a new Web site, eRisks.com, that offers news, advice, forecasts, and benchmarking information, the site's creators say.
The response, during a free introductory period, has far exceeded the expectations of Oliver, Wyman & Co., which created the site a month ago and estimated about 1,000 risk managers would sign up by yearend.
The interest reflects demand for on-line information that meets the needs of busy risk managers, said James Lam, president and chief executive officer of Enterprise Risk Solutions, a subsidiary of Oliver Wyman, a New York consulting firm. The creators plan also to offer customized risk analyses and broker transactions designed to neutralize or offset risks in a company's portfolio.
Currently eRisks.com is supplying news culled from 6,000 sources. It also offers commentaries and advice from experts like Mr. Lam, who was formerly the chief risk officer at Fidelity Investments.
Another feature is indexes that Enterprise Risk Solutions developed to forecast risks in four major global markets: equities, fixed income, foreign exchange, and commodities.
Users can also compare their firms' risk management practices with other companies' by filling out questionnaires. Enterprise Risk Solutions tallies the results and tells users how they lag, lead, or match their competitors or companies in other industries.
The site asks a risk-related "Question of the Week" and runs the results on past polls. A recent question was, "Does your firm have methods for both measuring and insuring against operational risk?"
"As an insurance company, you might see that banks' risk managers are reporting to the board, and you can say, 'Hey, we should do that too,' " said John P. Drzik, president of Oliver Wyman and chairman of Enterprise Risk Solutions.
Starting in the first half of next year, the company plans to offer detailed analyses of users' risk exposure, based on data they submit.
There are also plans to provide an Internet brokerage service for companies interested in offsetting risks by buying customized packages of investments. eRisks.com plans to charge users a fee for connecting them with securities firms that would sell the packages. Mr. Drzik said the cost, which has not been decided on, would be less than a company would have to pay directly to a dealer.
Midsize banks - those ranked between the 26th- and 300th-largest in assets - fall into the prime market for the risk analysis service and electronic brokerage, Mr. Drzik said. Bigger banks typically have their own risk management software and trading capabilities, he said.
Nonetheless, professionals at big banks have started using the site's services, Mr. Drzik said.
"They find the material on the site useful for communicating with the less risk-savvy people in their organizations," he said.
Services are free until next year. Then a monthly fee, probably about $100, will be charged. Revenue will also come from sponsorships and advertising.