Financial Brands Dominate Brand ‘Black List’

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Transparency is, and has always been, a hot topic in political and business circles.

Run a news search on “transparency” and reams of recent articles turn up. The most notable brand to made the headlines for transparency? Groupon.

Now, Corporate Responsibility Magazine has released its annual “Black List” of the large companies who with the worst transparency and corporate citizenship.

Surveyed companies are selected from the large-cap Russell 1000 companies list. The Black List’s rankings are based on an audit of seven categories from publicly-available data. And it’s not pretty.[more] 

Lacking no dramatic panache, the report begins:

“Long before Harry Potter donned his invisibility cloak, the tale of the ring of Gyges could be found in Plato’s Republic. There, Glaucon relates the story of a shepherd who finds a ring of invisibility in a cave, then uses it to seduce the queen, kill the monarch, and take over the kingdom himself.”

Someone’s finally putting that MFA in creative writing to use!

The list includes a lot of names that the average consumer wouldn’t recognize, such as Partnerre Ltd., Solera Holdings and Eaton Vance Corp. But there are a few names that will raise knowledgeable eyebrows, including New York’s fabled Madison Square Garden.

Of the 58 companies making the list this year, 32 are — no surprise — financial services brands.

Asked if the predominance of financial companies might have to do with that industry’s desire to maintain investment secrets, Dirk Olin, Editor & Publisher of CR Magazine, told us, “We’ve heard from some financial concerns, particularly holding companies, that they don’t feel obliged to track the transparency of their subsidiaries or suppliers.”

He further speculated that these companies might feel removed from their product, “but the fact of the matter is they are causing work to be done and profiting as a result, so we think that such willful opacity is just a plain and simple avoidance of responsibility.”

The lack of well known brands of the magazine’s corporate transparency “black list” means it will probably get less press than another recent list: “The 19 Most Hated Companies in America.”

The three most hated brands on that list, which parsed the latest data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index? Time Warner Cable, Delta and (#1 with a lump of coal!) Pepco.

[image from the now defunct YourBrandsSuck.com]

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