By Tom Bovingdon

Chronic fiscal imbalances and income disparity will be the most prevalent risks over the next decade, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

The forum’s Global Risks 2012 report, launched today (11 January) in London, UK, said these risks “threaten global growth” as they are drivers of nationalism, populism and protectionism.

It stated: “Both young and old could face an income gap, as well as a skills gap, so wide as to threaten social and political stability.”

Almost 500 experts and industry leaders were surveyed to compile the report’s list of 50 global risks predicted to dominate the next ten-year agenda, grouped into economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological categories.”

Major systemic financial failure was predicted to be the risk that would have the greatest impact, while chronic fiscal imbalances and severe income disparity were soon as the most likely.

Now in its seventh consecutive year, the report called for better mapping, monitoring, management and mitigation of global risks. It said: “Organisations are far more resilient to major shocks if they have clear lines of communication and employees across the organisation are empowered to take decisions.”

David Cole, CRO at Swiss RE, finished off the press conference launch by telling delegates that risk managers need to increase awareness of future risks by creating "a common language".

He added: "One of the key roles of any risk manager is to ask the right questions. We won’t always have the answers but we can at least try to pose the right questions to the right group of people and then let them work on the answers.”

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