William Fry’s Reputational Risk Management team work to oversee risk strategy, contain damage, protect confidential information, and advise on critical legal requirements.
Recognising the risk of reputation damage
As a number of recent high profile examples demonstrate damage to a business’ reputation can strike without warning and cause significant long-term loss of value. Such is the growing recognition of the risk of reputation damage that it is now regularly identified in investor communications, financial reports and regulatory filings as one of the most significant risks to future results.
Mitigating the risk through pre-crisis planning
There are a variety of measures businesses can take to mitigate against the risk from reputational damage and senior management need to ensure their businesses are availing of these protections and are not unnecessarily exposed. We help our clients reduce their risk exposure well in advance of the emergence of any reputational challenges by identifying critical reputational risks and designing a strategic plan to minimise damage in the event of a crisis.
We assemble multidisciplinary teams of our industry leading experts who work closely with clients to ensure they are prepared to immediately and effectively deploy this tailored strategy. This typically involves the identification of a crisis management hierarchy, the appointment of emergency response teams and the delivery of training, including crisis simulation exercises.
Navigating through a crisis
In our experience where a reputational crisis occurs the extent of the damage caused to the business will usually be determined by the strength of the strategic plan in place and the speed at which it is implemented.
If a reputational crisis strikes we work with management to oversee the implementation of the strategy, contain the damage as quickly as possible, protect confidential information and advise on critical time sensitive legal requirements such as market announcements, regulatory notifications and law enforcement reporting. Once the crisis has subsided we advise on the implementation of change in the business to restore value and ensure the risk of a repeat crisis is minimised.
Reputational challenges can strike any business at any time and the consequences of unsuccessfully dealing with these challenges can be severe and can potentially lead to the total and irreversible destruction of the business’ value. When a reputational crisis does strike management will very often be required to deal with critical reputational issues of which they have no prior experience. We have helped many of our clients prepare for and successfully navigate these challenges and whatever the reputational challenge our clients face we have the skills and experience to help.
The following are examples of our recent work:
Acting for a major financial institution in connection with the Oireachtas Banking Inquiry
Providing advice to various current and former executives of regulated financial institutions in connection with appearances at public hearings of Oireachtas Committees
Advising numerous clients on litigation readiness techniques such as the development and implementation of systems for the preservation and subsequent identification, collation and reproduction of large volumes of sensitive confidential data
Acting for a large professional services firm who suffered substantial financial loss as a result of the fraudulent activities of an employee of a firm engaged by our client to provide property services
Advising various regulated financial service providers on inspections, investigations and enforcement actions by the Central Bank of Ireland
Advising various public companies in connection with investigations by the Takeover Panel
Advising various clients in connection with audits and actions by the Data Protection Commissioner
Establishing and operating a highly confidential internal investigation into alleged criminal staff misconduct on behalf of a global software provider which involved the carrying out of sensitive interviews, the provision of advice in relation to disciplinary actions against senior employees and compliance with statutory law enforcement notification requirements
Advising private clients in connection with two separate cartel investigations by the Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (formerly the Competition Authority)
Acting for various clients in relation to defamation proceedings
Acting in the first case to consider the law in Ireland relating to privacy, which is regarded as a seminal decision