“It takes 20 years to build a reputation
and five minutes to ruin it.
If you think about that, you'll do things differently.”
Reputability LLP specialises in reputation risk and strategy. We help leaders to understand and find the widespread, but hidden, behavioural and organisational risks that lie at the root cause of most reputational disasters. Our insights will bring you foresight.
These hidden risks are found everywhere in businesses, right up to the board, yet they often remain unrecognised and therefore hidden from view. Unseen, they remain unmanaged and a constant source of danger.
Our latest report, 'Deconstructing failure - Insights for boards' confirms how widely these risks are at work, right up to board level, in organisations that fail. The report is gaining a growing readership not just in the boardroom but also among leading City law firms, risk-aware regulators, D&O insurers and professional investment managers.
We use our expertise and specially designed tools to identify these hidden risks that are key drivers of reputational risk. We then share our deep and diverse experience with you to assess them. The understanding that follows is the starting point for mitigation and better risk governance.
“We can afford to lose money.
We can afford to lose a lot of money.
But we cannot afford to lose one shred of our reputation.”
Warren Buffett, biennial letter to top managers
The main drivers of reputational risk - behavioural, organisational and board risks – are not found by conventional risk analysis, so they do not feature in risk maps. Yet they can be lethal to the whole business.
As a result, the opportunity to manage potentially catastrophic risks is missed by many large organisations.
Why are these risks not found? It’s partly because standard risk techniques were not designed to find them.
However, there are two deeper problems. Behavioural, organisational and board risks are particularly hard for insiders to recognise; and they are often dangerous to discuss internally.
The result is that directors are often in the dark about what could cause or exacerbate the next reputational crisis.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
It is common to find that vulnerabilities with the potential to threaten the survival of a firm are well known to people within the firm - whilst the leadership remains in the dark. Internal politics, hierarchies, taboos, culture, incentives and glass ceilings often obscure these risks. This situation is made worse by the inability of people and organisations to see themselves as others can – what psychologists call cognitive biases.
We call this the ‘Unknown Knowns’ problem.
Our latest report, ‘Deconstructing failure – Insights for boards’ confirms that previously unrecognised classes of behavioural and organisational risks both cause crises and tip them into reputational catastrophes. The report goes further, finding patterns and concluding that these potentially lethal risks typically have their origins in the board.
It is especially difficult for boards to uncover these destructive risks because classical risk management hasn’t evolved far enough to find them. That is how boards find themselves with a dangerous hole in the risk management systems for which they are ultimately responsible. And it is why the widely promoted 'Three Lines of Defence' risk management model gives boards a dangerous delusion of security.
Board Vulnerability Evaluation is a new tool designed to help boards to see into this foggy area.
“Plan for the difficult whilst it is easy.
Act on the large while it's minute.
The most difficult things in the world begin with
things that are easy.”
Laozi, third century BC Taoist text
We tailor our pioneering techniques to the needs of each client. These combine confidential peer review and the know-how we have gained from extensive research into reputational risk and its behavioural drivers. We add the experience gained in diverse roles over many decades to bring you insights.
How long does it take? That depends on the task you set. A morning spent with your board will bring deep, systematic insights into these dangerous vulnerabilities and an understanding of how they destroy organisations. A day spent with a careful selection of your senior managers could systematically identify where which of these potentially catastrophic risks are at work within your organisation. We tailor what we do to what you need.
In a crisis, these risks can be like a tsunami. But given the foresight of our analysis, you can mitigate them while they are quiescent. The result is you set your company’s reputation on strong foundations.
“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.”
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1852)
Our team shares deep and broad know-how gained over lengthy careers and through thought-leading research. Each of us comes with a lifetime’s expertise and a different perspective. Together we shine brighter.
Working side by side, our experienced team combines many perspectives to bring you clear insights.
Anthony read engineering at Cambridge, then he became a solicitor specialising in international liability and insurance law.
During two decades as a partner in one of the leading legal specialists in the handling of international disasters, he refined strategies to prioritise and reconcile the reputational, humanitarian, commercial, legal and insurance issues arising in crises. He also advised major brands in the wake of severe adverse events.
As well as Chairman and founder of Reputability, Anthony is a member of the Editorial Board of the Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance. He was a co-author of ‘Roads to Ruin’, the Cass Business School report for Airmic.
Professor Derek has 30 years’ experience in the insurance industry. Formerly UK Strategy Director for Royal and Sun Alliance, he has co-authored many books on risk analysis, risk management and insurance, notably ‘Reputational Risk: A Question of Trust’. He was a co-author of ‘Roads to Ruin’.
He currently teaches risk management, reputational risk, and insurance on the Cass Business School MSc course. Derek is chairman of the Board Risk Committee for Trust Re and a partner at Reputability. He was also a member of two UK government working groups on risk related issues, and was awarded the Exceptional Service Medal of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
After graduating as an aeronautical engineer, Mike flew fast jets for the RAF and went on to become the UK’s Chief Test Pilot.
As Group Safety Director and Executive Board Member of the Civil Aviation Authority, he was responsible for all safety regulation in the UK aviation industry and built a global reputation for aviation and safety assessment. He also worked in the design of safety cultures and implementing design changes with aircraft manufacturers worldwide.
A partner at Reputability and a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Mike was awarded a CBE for services to UK civil aviation.
Rob Haslam spent 40 years as a Government Communicator. After graduating, his varied career included spells at the Department of Health, the DTI, Health and Safety Executive, Prime Minister's Office, Cabinet Office and the Central Office of Information where - as Director of the Government News Network - he was a member of the national media emergency forum.
He was part of the Gold Command response team after the London bombings, having previously been involved with media handling at the scene of events such as the Lockerbie disaster and the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy.
After graduating in economics from LSE, Jane joined a team, which sold into Saatchi and Saatchi. She went on to head the Leedex PR Group, joining the board of its parent company, Birkdale plc.
One of only a few Chartered Communicators, Jane has 30 years’ international and award-winning experience. Republic, the corporate communications business she founded was sold to Engine, the UK’s leading independent marketing services consultancy.
Jane is a partner at Reputability, a fellow of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations, a founding Fellow of the Public Relations Consultancies Association, a trustee of Fair Trials International and a Quantum NED.
After leaving Manchester University where he was a Research Fellow in Monetary Economics, John trained as an equity analyst at Philips and Drew, which later became UBS.
He has dedicated most of his working life as an investment analyst covering banks and financial companies. He was a partner at Laing and Cruickshank and was appointed as Head of European Research at Nomura, before moving on to Société Générale as senior bank analyst in London.
Today John is a partner at Reputability and Chairman of Blue Planet European Trust – a quoted Scottish Investment trust.
A Professor of Psychology at City University, Peter’s research centres on the psychological theories of judgement and discusses how people make decisions and judgements. His published books include ‘Subjective Probability’ and ‘Judgemental Forecasting’.
A member of the European Association for Decision Making, Peter has been a visiting Professor at the Anderson School of Business UCLA, Princeton and Carnegie-Mellon universities in the USA, as well as the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.
Educated at Harvard, Rick went on to become a Director and Executive Committee Member at the IMD Business School in Lausanne.
Later he was first Chief Claims Strategist at Swiss Reinsurance Company, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, General Counsel and COO of Touche Ross, and Global Director of legal and regulatory affairs for Deloittes.
Richard is currently Chairman of the Board of the Center for Capital Markets at the US Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Board of the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation and Director of Liability Research for the Geneva Association.
PR is not always the best response
PR Week 26 July 2013
Reputation at risk
Ace European risk briefing 2013 July 2013
There's no strength in ignoring flaws
London Evening Standard 17 July 2013
The risk of boards
Financial Times video June 2013
A new tool to sniff out boardroom risk
London Evening Standard June 2013
Deconstructing Failure - Insights for boards
Better Boards by Peter Whitehead
Financial Times June 2013
Embattled bank's troubles far from over
London Evening Standard July 2012
Common Core of Corporate Culture Risks
BBC Today Programme July 2011
Here's how firms can learn from Murdoch
London Evening Standard July 2011
Boards can be Blind to Risk
Sunday Times July 2011
When does a tax issue become a risk?
Ernst & Young Tax magazine May 2010
'Deconstructing failure': Practical steps for Chairmen and Boards
Governance October 2013
Behavioural and reputational risk for insurers
Journal of the Insurance Institute of London September 2013
Deconstructing failure - Insights for boards
The report: Reputability LLP June 2013
The boardroom and risk
Good Governance Forum June 2013
Catastrophe risks - the Boardroom perspective
Governance December 2011
'Soft' risks - the risk managers' perspective
Geneva Association Risk Newsletter November 2011
Roads to Ruin
The Analysis July 2011
Roads to Ruin
Full Report by the Cass Business School for Airmic July 2011
Reputational Risk for Chairmen and Company Secretaries
ICSA International June 2010
ContactPlease get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to discuss – in confidence, of course.
You can call us on +44 20 7812 6690 or email us at email@example.com
Amadeus House, Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DP
T:+44 20 7812 6690
Reputability briefs Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris13. 11. 2013On 13 November, Reputability Chairman Anthony Fitzsimmons gave a briefing on behavioural, organisational and reputational risk to the Corporate Governance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris.
The 45 minute briefing was followed by a question-and-answer session.Read more...
The meeting was attended by about 90 delegates from about 40 countries, with additional representatives from major international organisations.
City University Seminar08. 11. 2013Professor Derek Atkins and Anthony Fitzsimmons will be speaking on "Lessons from corporate catastrophes - The unrecognised risks of allowing people to run organisations" at a City University Seminar in London on 13 December.
The complete seminar panel is:
- Professor John Adams (University College London);
- Professor David Spiegelhalter (University of Cambridge);
- Anthony Fitzsimmons (Chairman Reputability LLP);
- Professor Derek Atkins (Cass Business School and Reputability LLP);
- Professor Larry Phillips (London School of Economics);
- Professor Ragnar Löfstedt (King's College London);
- Professor David Nutt (Imperial College London);
- Professor Mandeep Dhami (Middlesex University).
The conference is free of charge but you must register here: http://tinyurl.com/kjv9rwq .Read more...
- Professor John Adams (University College London);
Anthony Fitzsimmons to deliver lecture to the Insurance Institute of London02. 10. 2013Anthony Fitzsimmons will deliver a lecture to the Insurance Institute of London on 20 March 2014.
The subject will be: "Why respected companies unexpectedly fail - Insights for liability and D&O underwriters and Chief Risk Officers"
The lecture will be chaird by Derek Thornton BSc(Hons) ACII, Chairman of Market Insurance Brokers Limited and of Amlin Insurance (UK) Limited.Read more...
More details of the lecture can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lj82mc4
Board vulnerability: Practical steps for Chairmen and Boards02. 10. 2013Governance, the international specialist magazine for corporate governance, has published an article by Anthony Fitzsimmons and Rob Haslam.
Reputability's latest report, 'Deconstructing failure - Insights for boards' identified board vulnerabilities that were widespread among companies that failed. The article focuses practical steps Chairmen can take to deal with these potentially lethal issues before they cause harm.
Forthcoming workshop for insurance company NEDs01. 10. 2013Two Reputability partners, Professor Derek Atkins and Anthony Fitzsimmons, will be among the four presenters at the forthcoming Insurance Non-executive Director Workshop that has been organised by Rick Hudson, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Insurers.
Dr Sandy Scott, Chief Executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute, will preside at the workshop which will take place on 14 October. The speakers will be the four authors of 'Roads to Ruin', the Cass Business School report for Airmic, Professor Derek Atkins, Anthony Fitzsimmons, Professor Chris Parsons and Professor Alan Punter, together with Rick Hudson.Read more...
The workshop will focus on the behavioural and organisational risks that 'Roads to Ruin' identified as potentially catastrophic but yet not within the scope of classic risk management. It will also concentrate on their board-level manifestations, an aspect that emerged more clearly from Reputability's latest report, 'Deconstructing failure - Insights for boards'.
Reputability contributes to the Journal of the Insurance Institute of London01. 09. 2013Reputability partners Professor Derek Atkins and Anthony Fitzsimmons have contributed an article to the 2013 edition of the 2013 London Journal of the Insurance Institute of London.
The article, written before the publication of 'Deconstructing failure - Insights for boards', summarises the findings of 'Roads to Ruin', the Cass Business School report for Airmic of which Derek Atkins and Anthony Fitzsimmons were two of the four authors.Read more...
You will find the article at page 30 of the Journal.
© Reputability LLP 2013
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