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Reputation cited as biggest global risk: Study

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Damage to reputation is the main concern facing multinationals today, according to Aon Global Risk Management Survey 2007.

"While intangible, reputation is one of the most important corporate assets and one of the hardest to protect," said Chicago -based Ruth Joplin, managing director at Aon in a statement. More than half of the responses from 320 organizations in 29 countries cited damage to reputation as the most worrying risk.

And while 70% of the respondents were prepared for business interruption, 30% said they were not. "Preserving earnings power is clearly one of the top priorities of senior management, and there is a growing realization that the resulting loss of income following an event could pose a greater threat than the physical damage itself," said Ms. Joplin.

The rise of "compensation culture" across the globe has prompted a growing concern about third party liability risk too. Other concerns include distribution or supply-chain failure, market environment, regulatory changes, failure to attract or retain staff, financial risk, physical damage, mergers and acquisitions, and disaster recovery plan failure.

In Europe, M&A/restructuring is the leading concern, while in the Asia/Pacific region, weather and natural disasters top the list. Technology failure and loss of data are the leading American concerns.