Reputability is the leading consultancy specialised in reputational risk and its root causes. Our research demonstrates that most major crises are predictable, particularly to well-informed outsiders; and most are avoidable. This is where our insights will bring you valuable foresight.
“Rethinking Reputational Risk: How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You”, written by our Chairman Anthony Fitzsimmons and our late partner Professor Derek Atkins is a ground-breaking exposition of the field in which we work: behavioural, organisational, board and reputational risks. The Financial Times review is here.
Our research shows that the root causes of most reputational damage and many corporate failures are behavioural, organisational and board risks. These fundamental vulnerabilities evade conventional risk analysis. Long-term success depends on leaders who understand and deal with these risks.
Using eight case studies, our book ‘Rethinking Reputational Risk: How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You’ explains and illustrates these risks, before outlining how to deal with them.
The latest guidance from the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) expects companies it regulates to pay attention to behavioural, organisational and reputational risks. Such companies are expected to disclose and describe in detail Principal Risks including those with behavioural and organisational origins and reputational consequences
The FRC also expects boards to consider whether they, board committees and management have the skills knowledge and experience to assess the risks the company faces. Skill gaps are to be filled.
Boards should consider how to comply with this guidance and bring these risks within their risk management systems.
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 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 and organisational 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.
We use two main approaches. First, we provide tailored education for boards and risk professionals so that they gain the skills needed to meet the FRC’s expectations.
Second, we help boards, executives and risk leaders to develop an 'informed outsider' perspective which can reveal previously unrecognised risks and opportunities.
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 team to see more:-
Anthony read engineering at Cambridge, then became a solicitor specialising in international liability and insurance law.
He spent decades in a firm specialised in handling international disasters. He refined strategies to manage the legal fallout from crises whilst minimising reputational damage to clients. He advised major brands in the wake of severe adverse events.
Following his retirement from the law, Anthony founded Reputability, of which he is Chairman. Anthony is a co-author of ‘Roads to Ruin’, the seminal Cass Business School report for Airmic and, with the late Derek Atkins, of "Rethinking Reputational Risk: How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You" Anthony is an regular speaker and participant in seminars in the field.
After graduating in economics from the 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.
John HurrellJohn Hurrell has gained immense experience over nearly 40 years spent in the risk and insurance sector.
John joined our team after 9 years as Chief Executive of Airmic, the renowned London-based association for everyone who has a responsibility for risk management and insurance in their organisation. Before that he spent nearly 30 years at Marsh and McLennan group companies, most recently as CEO of Marsh Risk Consulting for the UK and Europe.
At Airmic he commissioned several pieces of ground-breaking research, including ‘Roads to Ruin’ and ‘Roads to Resilience’ and is a regular speaker on risk governance.
John is a Fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute and a Chartered Insurer.
Vanessa started her professional life as a solicitor in a city firm specialising in handling multinational commercial and insurance issues.
She joined KPMG LLP as an in house lawyer and was rapidly promoted to General Counsel, a role she performed for 17 years. She advised on a wide range of legal, risk and reputational management issues, and as board secretary advised on, and managed board structures across UK and Europe. Having left KPMG, she is a charity trustee and a Council member and Chair of the Finance and Resources Committee at Goldsmiths College, University of London. In all of these positions she has led or played a role in governance and board effectiveness reviews.
We help boards to promote long term success and meet the latest standards for good risk governance. Our minimally intrusive processes help your board and leaders to see what intelligent outsiders would conclude if only they knew what insiders know. Our aim is to help you see reputational, behavioural and organisational risks and their roots so you can fix them before they cause harm.
Reputational Risk Evaluation delivers our analysis of your organisation's exposure to reputational risks, identifying strengths as well as weaknesses and how to fix them.
Our Masterclasses and Workshops for Boards and for Risk, Internal Audit and Human Resources specialistsbring you practical insights into the hidden behavioural and organisational risks that underlie reputational risks.
Please email our Chairman, Anthony Fitzsimmons, at ajef [AT] reputability.co.uk or telephone 020 3755 3309 for a confidential preliminary discussion.
"Anthony Fitzsimmons is a major-league blogger on the subject, as well as the co-author of [an] important book on the subject, "Rethinking Reputation Risk”."
Andrew Hilton, Director of the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation
"Splendid performance in front of our highly appreciative NED audience. ... You conveyed your message in a clear and highly convincing manner which obviously impressed the delegates. ... After your delivery many of the attendees used the same words ... "enjoyable" and "thought-provoking"."
"Anthony Fitzsimmons [is a] corporate reputation sage"
"Timely... valuable ... direct"
"Quite superb. You packed a great deal into the short period available."
''It exceeded my expectations and we now have something to build upon. As I said, the timing could not have been better''.
''Let me thank you cordially for your excellent workshop [for Chief Risk Officers] on organisational and behavioural risk management. We had planned your contribution to be the climax of the event, and so it was.''
''Many thanks again for your presentation.......we got very positive feedback from the Committee members, who found your presentation highly interesting, relevant and well presented.''
''I thought it was a (well moderated!) fascinating discussion and it was great to get so many different perspectives. ..This topic is obviously relevant to a large number of boards and I suspect we're at the beginning of a significant change in the way they address their duties''.
''Your presentations were uniformly well received and highly valued. We are most grateful to you all for making this event such an unqualified success......The feedback from delegates was uniformly positive. ''
A resolution for UK Plc and people who can help
London Evening Standard December 2017
Boardrooms’ missing voices undermine risk management
Financial Times November 2017
Reputation for the long term requires a change of attitude
Board Agenda October 2017
Worried your reputation is like Bell Pottinger’s? Then don’t do bad things
The Guardian September 2017
Cost-cutting has opened the door to hackers
London Evening Standard May 2017
'We're only human': a review of 'Rethinking Reputational Risk'
Civil Service World May 2017
Review: Rethinking Reputational Risk
The House April 2017
Review: ‘Rethinking Reputational Risk’
Spear's Magazine March 2017
Review: ‘Rethinking Reputational Risk’
Financial Times January 2017
When the workforce is the weakest link
Finanical Times November 2016
Corporate governance lessons of VW affair
Andrew Hill and Michael Skapinker
Financial Times October 2015
Martin Wheatley’s FCA exit raises questions
London Evening Standard July 2015
The ‘devil’s advocate’ directors who could wake up boardrooms
London Evening Standard July 2015
Give the Devil a Voice in the Boardroom
Financial Times July 2015
Learning from Mistakes
Financial Times April 2015
Time for a clean boardroom sweep?
Financial Times March 2015
Learning right lessons from FCA’s own goal
London Evening Standard December 2014
With great power comes great responsibility
Financial Times November 2014
"It is the board’s job to monitor behavioural risk"
Financial Times November 2014
Too Big to Jail
Evening Standard October 2014
Boards will Struggle to Manage Hidden CEO Risks
Financial Times October 2014
Boards need Trust
Financial Times May 2014
Big bonuses bring risks
Evening Standard April 2014
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
Rethinking Reputational Risk:
How to Manage the Risks that can Ruin Your Business, Your Reputation and You
Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins
Deconstructing the FRC's new Governance Proposals
Anthony Fitzsimmons January 2018
Designing Better Boards
Anthony Fitzsimmons November 2017
Challenging the way we think
The Actuary Magazine
Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins November 2017
Learn from Mistakes – the Key to Flying High
Anthony Fitzsimmons August 2017
Predictably vulnerable: Why do seemingly sound organisations unexpectedly fail?
Enterprise Risk Magazine - Institute of Risk Management
Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins July 2017
A Test of Leadership
Anthony Fitzsimmons June/July 2017
United Airlines: Predictably Vulnerable?
Governance and Compliance Magazine
Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins May 2017
NHS hack: Lessons for the Civil Service from WanaCrypt0r Cyber Attack
Civil Service World May 2017
The Work of the Civil Service
Reputability Evidence to the Parliamentary Public Administration Committee April 2017
Rethinking Reputational Risk:
Discussing the Unmentionable
Governance Magazine March 2017
Understanding behaviour is key to protecting reputation
Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins January 2017
Prevention is Better than Cure
Anthony Fitzsimmons November 2017
Don't Overlook Human Fallibility
Management Today November 2016
Reputational Risk Revisited
Governance September 2015
Whitehall's neglect of people risks is wasting public money
Civil Service World April 2015
- Reputability Submissions to OECD Consultation on Corporate Governance January 2015
- Reputability Submissions to Basel Committee Consultation on Bank Governance January 2015
Behavioural and Organisational Risk: The New Frontier for Boards
EY Independent Intelligence November 2014
Risk for Chairmen, Chief Executives and Boards
International Corporate Governance October 2014
Behavioural Risk in the UK Government Service
Civil Service World October 2014
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
Roads to Ruin, the Cass Business School report for Airmic
Download the Analysis July 2011
Roads to Ruin
Full Report by the Cass Business School for Airmic July 2011
Catastrophe risks - the Boardroom perspective
Governance December 2011
'Soft' risks - the risk managers' perspective
Geneva Association Risk Newsletter November 2011
Reputability LLP are pioneers and leaders in the fields of behavioural, organisational and reputational risk. We help business leaders to find the widespread but hidden behavioural and organisational risks that regularly cause reputational disasters. Our process also helps them to find unrecognised strengths.
Here are our thoughts on some recent stories which have captured our attention. We are starting to include views from guest bloggers. We are always interested to know what you think too.
ContactPlease get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to discuss – in confidence, of course.
You can call us on +44 20 3755 3309 or email us at email@example.com
Amadeus House, Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DP
T:+44 20 3755 3309
Reputational risk: ‘a potent danger’ for any company08. 10. 2010The Public Relations Society of America has cited Reputability Chairman Anthony Fitzsimmons.
“Even state-of-the-art risk management misses large and important risks to reputation,” [said] Anthony Fitzsimmons, chairman of Reputability, a reputation and risk-management consultancy. ....Read more...
Only a chief executive or company chairman will have a broad enough overview to understand those expectations. “The challenge is to build strong foundations that will make a reputation sustainable through bad times as well as good,” Fitzsimmons says. “Culture, behavior and leadership are key.”
Maintaining brand value05. 10. 2010The Wall Street Journal has cited Anthony Fitzsimmons, Chairman of Reputability, on the value of a good reputation, information glass ceilings and the root causes of reputational damage.
Anthony Fitzsimmons was qoted as follows.Read more...
"Anthony Fitzsimmons, chairman of Reputability, a consultancy that provides reputation and crisis risk management, believes that up to 40% of the value of a vibrant company can be attributed to its reputation. But he argues that traditional approaches to risk management fail to adequately protect this vital asset. "Even state-of-the-art risk management misses large and important risks to reputation," says Mr. Fitzsimmons. Part of the reason for this is that reputation is such a nebulous term. It doesn't explicitly appear on balance sheets and therefore is hard to quantify within risk management frameworks that require measurable inputs." "
Only a chief executive or chairman of a company will have a broad enough overview. It can be difficult for more junior members of an organization to recognize the impact of particular operational risks to reputation. Traditional risk management approaches can often filter out these risks before they reach a senior level.
"One perception of BP is that the board didn't know what was going on in the engine room," says Mr. Fitzsimmons. "If that is true, it is not surprising. It regularly emerges from large organizations that staff at lower levels have all kinds of information about what is going on but don't pass the information to their bosses."
Many risk professionals believe that the strength of a company's reputation is its own best protection. "The challenge is to build strong foundations that will make a reputation sustainable through bad times as well as good," says Mr. Fitzsimmons. "Culture, behavior and leadership are key."
When your name is mud01. 09. 2010Lynn Strongin Dods has extensively quoted Anthony Fitzsimmons, Chairman of Reputability, in relation to 'Policy and governance for risks to reputation'.
Anthony Fitzsimmons was quoted as follows.Read more..."Many companies still don't recognise reputation as one of a company's most valuable intangible assets. Part of the problem is that it is hard to value and doesn't appear in most balance sheets. Yet as BP's Macondo punishment has yet again illustrated, a good reputation underpins a strong share price. Remove reputation and the share price, plus a good deal more, can collapse."'Policy and governance for risks to reputation' is the report of a workshop convened by Anthony Fitzsimmons and by John Hurrell, Chief Executive of Airmic. Anthony Fitzsimmons edited the report.
"Some companies are beginning to see their reputation as the valuable strategic asset it is. However few have developed a systemtic approach to identifying risks to it let alone an approach to managemnet of reputational risks that goes well beyond crisis planning in case things go wrong."
"Neither classic risk management nor enterprise risk management were designed systematically to capture reputational risks - and they don't. Worse, because these techniques do capture some reputational risks, businesses are easily lulled into thinking that most have been captured. So many large, respectable companies think they have reputational risks covered - but in fact they have gaping holes in their risks mpas in the region of one of their most important - and most easily destroyed - assets. Boards need to recognise this lacuna and set strategy to deal with it."
When does a tax issue become a risk?01. 06. 2010The new Ernst & Young TMagazine, the new EY magazine on tax planning, has quoted Anthony Fitzsimmons on the reputational risk associated with tax planning and avoidance.
Anthony Fitzsimmons was quoted as follows.Read more...
Tax risk is ... becoming something of a moral issue. "It’s no longer just about whether companies are meeting their strict legal obligations,” says Anthony Fitzsimmons, Chairman of Reputability, a consultancy focused on reputation, crisis and risk management. “Increasingly there is a question whether tax avoidance, though legally permissible, is morally dubious."
"The question used simply to be: ‘Is it legal?’ Nowadays you also need to ask: ‘Is it right?’ This is about corporate citizenship. There is no universal answer: it is a question of degree. But it could become a reputational issue, particularly for consumer facing companies, if their approach to tax avoidance is seen as too aggressive.”
Weathering the storm01. 06. 2010The International arm of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators has published 'Weathering the Storm' by Anthony Fitzsimmons, discussing reputational risk from the perspective of chairman and company secretaries.
Break it or make it15. 05. 2010Anthony Fitzsimmons, Chairman of Reputability, was quoted by Steven Arons in the summer 2010 edition of Finance, the CFO magazine, on the subject of the CFO's role and influence in relation to the reputation of the company.
Anthony Fitzsimmons was quoted as follows in relation to the role of the CFO.Read more...
“Join-up across the company is vital,” says Anthony Fitzsimmons, chairman of Reputability, a consulting firm specialising in reputation and crisis risk and strategy. “The best intentions of CEOs can easily undermine the foundations on which a company’s reputation rests.” By imposing rigorous cost-cutting or efficiency programmes, for example, an organisation's vital reputation for safety may be eroded. Toyota immediately comes to mind. Like all other top executives CFOs need to be part of the feedback loop set up to prevent such disasters from occurring.
But the CFO also has a more specific task. “A risk to reputation occurs where the organisation fails to meet the expectations of a specific stakeholder group”, as a report commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants puts it. It follows that CFOs need to look after investors and lenders. “Chief financial officers should identify the specific reputational risks arising from how that particular group of stakeholders perceives their company,” says Mr Fitzsimmons. “If there’s a misalignment, they need to make sure that either the facts are improved to meet expectations, or expectations lowered to meet the facts.”
© Reputability LLP 2013
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