Here on BankThink, risk is certainly a popular topic of discussion, as an adequate means of assessment is necessary if we are to avoid repeating past (and perhaps current) mistakes.

But a majority of our posts focus on new and existing tools, systems, agencies or legislation pertaining to risk management. Rarely do we talk about the personnel hired to implement them.

This is one of the reasons why a recent LinkedIn discussion thread piqued our interest.  On a message board dedicated to the International Organization for Standardization 31000 Risk Management Standard, one group member asked:  "What are the characteristics of a good risk manager? If you were to employ a manager of risk in your company, what attributes would you expect them to have?"

While responses were varied (and, at times, hotly contested), respondents generally agreed risk managers needed to possess strong analytical skills, natural leadership abilities, a basic knowledge of applicable software and a head for numbers.

Another overarching theme was the need for experience. While some said qualified personnel should have around four to six years of managerial experience under their belt, another commenter emphasized quality versus quantity by suggesting the ideal new hire come "with a track record of implementing Risk Management in an organization from conception."

"Start with the policy," this commenter added. "I personally don't really care if you use a crystal ball, if you can show that it works."

Ultimately, the question yielded a list of buzzwords so long (among them, "innovative thinker," "visionary" and "team player, but self-starter") it was hard to think any mortal could fill the role.

As one commenter wrote, "A lot of comments about the risk manager's attributes are so perfect that could you find such a person in the real world? This is a question."

What qualities do you think make for a strong risk manager? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jeanine Skowronski is the deputy editor of BankThink.