“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 is the leading consultancy for educating Boards and senior leaders about the importance of behavioural, organisational and reputational risks, and instructing them in how to respond to these issues. Reputability is outstandingly effective in this because of our unique blend of research, experience and expertise.
We believe that if there is only one lesson to learn from the corporate catastrophes of recent years it should be that most big problems ultimately emerge from board level, with human frailty in its many forms being a key factor in precipitating the crisis or tipping it into a disaster.
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) will shortly require boards, in their Annual Report & Statutory Accounts, to disclose and describe Principal Risks arising from behavioural and organisational matters.
Our insights will bring you foresight.
“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 included in conventional risk analysis, so they do not feature in risk maps.
As a result, the opportunity to manage potentially catastrophic risks is missed by many large organisations. This gap can prove lethal to the viability of the entire business.
Only board-level intervention and input can deal with this.
We believe that long-term, sustainable business success depends on leaders who understand, and take action to abate, the risks arising from unwanted behaviours from the bottom to the very top of their organisation.
“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.
We combine confidential peer review with the know-how we have accumulated from extensive research into reputational risk and its behavioural drivers. We add the experience each of us has gained in senior roles, in diverse fields over many decades, to bring you fresh and compelling insights.
One important but often overlooked requirement, which all boards need to recognise, arises from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) dictum that boards should regularly update and refresh their skills and knowledge so that they can function effectively.
Our offer includes:-
Introduction to behavioural and organisational risk
This seminar and discussion draws on topical case studies and the latest research to reveal the ways in which behavioural and organisational risks can inflict lethal reputational damage.
Behavioural and organisational risk workshop
This module combines the introductory seminar with an in-depth case study. Working in small teams, participants deconstruct and consider the root causes of a real reputational crisis, and gain deeper insights into the analysis of corporate disasters.
Board Vulnerability Evaluation
Board Vulnerability Evaluation is designed to deliver a forensic assessment of board-level vulnerabilities, as well as other risks which are visible to the board.
Corporate Vulnerability Evaluation
Corporate Vulnerability Evaluation extends and complements Board Vulnerability Evaluation by drawing on additional knowledge that is often only available below board level- information that leaders want to know, but can't find out.
It is important to say that all evaluations undertaken by Reputability on your behalf will be underpinned by fact-finding preparatory work appropriate to the task in hand. The result of our input is that you will be able to set your company's reputation on sounder foundations.
Our multi-disciplinary team shares deep and broad know-how which has been accumulated through diverse careers and thought-leading research. Each partner brings to bear a lifetime's experience and a different perspective to consideration of your issues.
Together we can offer clear insights and an attractive and persuasive proposition to all those who are seeking protection from, and mitigation of, reputational risk.
View the biographies of our partners to see more:-
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’ and the Chartered Insurance Institute textbook on insurance company management. 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.
Getting real on reputation protection
Evening Standard January 2014
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
Financial Reporting Council prepares for action
Governance and Compliance Magazine February 2014
Response to the FRC’s Consultation on Guidance on Risk Management
Reputability LLP January 2014
'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
Download the report by Reputability June 2013
Deconstructing failure - Insights for boards
Buy a print copy of the report
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
Download 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
- Policy and Governance for Risks to Reputation November 2009
Reputational risk - A question of trust
Professor Derek Atkins, Ian Bates and Lynn Drennan 2006
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 to lead session at ICSA Charity Governance Summit07. 02. 2014Anthony Fitzsimmons will lead a session at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries' Summit on Charity Governance on 2 April 2014.
The session's working title is "Reputational risk: looking good and being good".
Its aim will be to bring participants an understanding of how behavioural and organisational risks cause severe reputational damage and how these risks can be brought under control.
You can find more details about the Summit, and book a place, at http://tinyurl.com/mntb2toRead more...
'Getting real on reputation protection'28. 01. 2014Anthony Hilton has cited Reputability in his article today 'Getting real on reputation protection'.
Having recognised the weaknesses inherent in the hierarchical nature of risk management systems, he continued:
"This is even more the case because so many of today’s challenges are reputational. This is already a weak area for risk management, which is usually numbers-driven and often out of its depth when it seeks to identify and deal with softer intangible risks. Further, as Anthony Fitzsimmons of Reputability argues, it is particularly bad at identifying people risk in the upper echelons of business."
"Directors under pressure may be as prone to rogue behaviour as employees further down the pecking order, but they are too far up the food chain to be tackled by those in charge of monitoring risk who suspect, often correctly, that they will simply be fired for their candour."Read more...
"Boards may be adequate at interpreting risk analyses from the bowels of the organisation but they are generally hopeless at dealing with the risk embodied in the behaviour of colleagues across the boardroom table or down the corridor. They rarely have the skills to do it, and in common with most of us they may well have a greatly inflated idea of their own abilities"
You can read the full article here.
Reputability makes submissions to the Financial Reporting Council consultation on risk20. 01. 2014Reputability has welcomed the laudable aims of the Financial reporting Council's Consultation on Guidance on Risk Management, Internal Control and the Going Concern Basis of Accounting.
However, we believe the draft guidance leaves a large elephant trap for unwary Boards. The trap has two aspects.
Firstly, it is unrealistic to expect internal risk and internal audit teams to draw out board-level risk issues. Our research shows that large numbers of corporate failures happen in part because of what ‘Roads to Ruin’ described as ‘Risk glass ceiling’ effects. Part of this effect concerns risks in or emanating from board level.Read more...
Second, it is impossible to expect Boards to be able reliably to self-assess behavioural risks emanating from themselves and their peers. The problem is partly that boards too do not yet have the requisite skills to know what behavioural and organisational risks to look for, let alone how to find them. But it is more fundamental than that. No-one can be confident that their own perception of their own shortcomings is accurate. Modern psychologists analyse the problem in terms of phenomena that lead us all to have a view of ourselves that may range from uni-dimensional to delusional.
You can find our submission here.
We hope that the guidance, when issued, will deal with these issues.
© Reputability LLP 2013
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