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Risk Matrix

Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 21:15

Risk management is an area that is increasingly important in pensions administration.

We are developing a risk matrix tool which can help you to carry out a high level assessment of current risks within your scheme. You can download the current version of the risk matrix tool below. 

The matrix is an Excel spreadsheet that allows you to select and answer a series of questions to create a tailored report summarising the potential risks within your scheme. It will be developed further over the next few weeks to expand the content and to make it more relevant to insured schemes.

The questions and their corresponding answers do not differentiate between types of schemes, their size or relative complexity, but are based on what is generally considered best practice amongst administration experts. It is essential that the report be considered within the context of your own circumstances and only you can decide if the risks are acceptable. We would urge you to seek professional advice if you are uncertain about any aspect of your scheme's administration.


Instructions for use

Download the risk matrix spreadsheet.

Available questionnaires

Within the spreadsheet is a tab marked "Risk Matrices". The chart shows all of the separate questionnaires that are to be produced by PASA. In each of the four main categories there is a high level questionnaire supported by a set of detailed questionnaires. Questionnaires are being rolled out in stages, the version sub menu shows when new questionnaires are added. Available questionnaires are highlighted in burgundy.

Running a questionnaire

Select an available questionnaire by clicking on it and a window will pop up containing the first question and available answers. Select the relevant answer and move on to the next question. When all questions have been answered, press the button marked "Report" to view your tailored risk report. You can also view this report by clicking on the "Risk Report" tab in the spreadsheet.

Risk report

The risk report is colour coded according to the following criteria:

  • RED items are high risk and corrective action should be taken
  • ORANGE items are medium risk and corrective action should be considered if appropriate
  • GREEN items are low risk and no corrective action should be necessary


The spreadsheet makes use of embedded macros to run the questionnaires. Some organisations disable Excel macros due to the risk of viruses being spread. On opening the spreadsheet, the following error message may be displayed "Macros are disabled because the security level is set to Very High. To run the macros, change the security level to a lower setting and verify the macros are signed and trusted". If this message is displayed, then macro security can be altered within Excel. Select the menu "Tools", then "Options", then "Security", then "Macro Security". This should be set to medium or low and then the spreadsheet needs to be closed and re-opened. Please consult your internal IT staff if you have concerns about whether you should be changing these settings or if these settings are blocked.

Need support?

We have used Excel for the development of the risk matrix. We recognise that some users will be using earlier versions of Excel or other software that is not compatible with Excel macros. Also, some users may be subject to internal IT constraints that will prevent them from running spreadsheets with embedded macros. While we are unable to provide alternative versions of the risk matrix on this site, if you do have issues running the matrix we will be happy to help or to provide you with the same risk management information, presented in another format that you will, hopefully, be able to access.