Managing reputational risk key to corporate gov in banks – RMB Merchant Bank

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Executive Director and Chief Risk Officer  Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria Limited, Peter Blenkinsop has said that, “effective management of both organizational and personal reputational risk is key to sound compliance and corporate governance in the banking sector”.

Peter Blenkinsop made this know in his keynote speech at the November 2017 Monthly Meeting of the Association of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria (ACCOBIN).

He noted that FirstRand Group’s informal take on reputational risk defines it as “the risk of reading what you don’t want to read about yourself in the newspaper.”

According to him, a bank’s approach to managing reputational risk should be no different from managing any other risk faced by banks in the operations of their banking business.

He further mentioned that banks should pay special attention to what he called “values/character-based reputational risk”.

According to him if this materializes, it leads to perceptual organisational loss or destruction of shareholder value, which ultimately leads to financial loss.

He added that this loss is much more difficult to recover than financial losses as it is that “silent killer” that is difficult to fully manage.

Blenkinsop  said that executives of banks need to look hard at themselves and ask, “If my staff listen with their eyes, what do they see? Am I a living example of how I want my staff to portray to manage my brand both at work and in my private life?”.

Blenkinsop  stated that management of reputational damage needs to be addressed at both internal and external perceptual levels. For sound corporate governance, all banks should work to vest an organisational culture where the board, executive management and employees align with the bank’s stated values and ethical risk appetite to achieve long term business success. He further tasked all banks to be honest in the evaluation of their Board’s and executive management’s performance insofar as reputation and ethics management is concerned, and also tasked all bank staff to be honest about their own contribution to the organizational health in this regard.

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