• Operational risk and reputation in financial institutions: Does media tone make a difference?

      Barakat, Ahmed; Ashby, Simon; Fenn, Paul; Bryce, Cormac (Journal of Banking & Finance, 2019)
      Operational risk announcements are unexpected adverse media news that potentially harm the reputation of financial institutions. This paper examines the equity-based and debt-based reputational effects of financial sentiment tones in operational risk announcements and shows how such reputational effects are moderated by alternative sources of public information. Our analysis reveals that the net negative tone and litigious tone have adverse reputational effects, and the uncertainty tone mitigates the adverse reputational impact. Additionally, alternative, simultaneous sources of information neutralize the reputational effects of textual tones. First, third-party information about the event (i.e. regulatory announcements and final settlements) dissolves the favorable (adverse) reputational impact of the uncertainty tone (litigious tone). Second, loss amount disclosure and firm recognition substitute the reputational effects of the net negative tone and uncertainty tone only in Anglo-Saxon countries and market-based economies. Overall, our findings indicate that the reputational effects of the media materialize most when there is lack of certain, quantifiable and regulated public information about the operational risk event.
    • The reputational effects of analysts' stock recommendations and credit ratings: Evidence from operational risk announcements in the financial industry

      Barakat, Ahmed; Ashby, Simon; Fenn, Paul (International Review of Financial Analysis, 2018)
      This paper investigates whether more favorable stock recommendations and higher credit ratings serve as a reputational asset or reputational liability around reputation-damaging events. Analyzing the reputational effects of operational risk announcements incurred by financial institutions, we find that firms with a “Buy” stock recommendation or “Speculative Grade” credit rating are more likely to incur an equity-based reputational damage. In addition, firms with lower credit ratings incur a much more severe debt-based reputational damage. Moreover, credit ratings are more instrumental in mitigating the debt-based reputational damage caused by fraud incidents or incurred in non-banking activities. Furthermore, the misconduct of senior management could demolish the reputation of firms with less heterogeneous stock recommendations. Finally, credit ratings serve as an equity-based reputational asset in the short term but turn into an equity-based reputational liability in the long term. Overall, our analysis reveals that stock recommendations represent a reputational burden and credit ratings act as a reputational shield; however, the persistence and magnitude of such reputational effects are moderated by time and event characteristics.