Visa, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo Ranked Strongest Reputations in the Financial Services Industry, According to 2015 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study

NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Makovsky, a leading independent integrated communications and crisis management firm, today released its 2015 Strongest Reputation List of financial services brands.    

This list is part of the 2015 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study, which examines the current state of the financial industry’s reputation and identifies best practices and emerging trends in communications and marketing. The study was conducted by Ebiquity among marketing, communications and investor relations executives at large and mid-sized financial services firms, both publicly-traded and private.

The 2015 Makovsky Strongest Reputation List*:

  1. VISA                                                     
  2. J.P. Morgan 
  3. Wells Fargo                                              
  4. AXA                                                       
  5. Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney
  6. PIMCO                                                    
  7. Merrill Lynch
  8. Bank of America
  9. Fidelity
  10. Citibank

*Respondents asked, “Thinking about today, what one financial services company has the strongest reputation in the industry?”

“Trustworthiness, handling a crisis and negative situation effectively with transparency and minimizing negative news compared to others were the top definitions for a strong brand in the financial services industry today,” said Scott Tangney, Executive Vice President, Makovsky.  “Surprisingly, these factors ranked higher than other top responses, including a profitable and stable company, a visionary CEO and offers the best consumer experience through technology/mobile.” 

According to Tangney, Wells Fargo, J.P Morgan, Merrill Lynch, VISA and Bank of America have been perennial brands on the top 10 list. This year, Visa leapfrogged to among the top ranking from the number four spot last year and AXA joined the list for the first time, while Bank of America and Merrill Lynch dropped to the bottom of the 2015 list. “These firms demonstrated a well-executed integrated communications program targeting stakeholders directly to build reputation.  Overall, our study finds that financial services reputation is fluid and highly sensitive to negative situations.” 

Makovsky unveiled its 2015 Strongest Reputation List at a dinner in Manhattan last week co-hosted by the Gramercy Institute and attended by 25 communications and marketing executives of leading financial brands.  During the dinner, the executives reacted to the study’s findings and discussed their efforts and experiences in rebuilding trust for their brands.  Some of the key takeaways include: 

  • Companies need to be better prepared to manage crises and minimize negative news and the damage it creates to the bottom line.  Additional data breaches will create customer service issues with all age groups, especially Millennials.  Customers report threats to personal info and privacy as the greatest current risk to the brands with which they do business.   
  • Companies have no room to “mess up.”  And if they do they need to “own” their crisis and handle it with transparency.  There is no room for finger pointing as it ruins authenticity.  
  • In many cases genuine communications has been displaced by legal rhetoric during a crisis which complicates the issue and prevents the company in communicating clearly how it is fixing the problem.
  • The effective role of communications within companies is to educate and create a culture that is responsible so crises don’t happen.
  • Executives debated whether a B2B or institutional brand needed the same reputation rebuild as a consumer-facing brand in the industry.
  • There has been a shift in emphasis to reputation from money in the industry, where protecting reputation and coming out of a crisis well can be more beneficial than financial results.
  • Cybersecurity is of greater importance at financial brands in terms of reputation.  There are more discussions and planning internally about the ramifications.

For a copy of the 2015 Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study visit:

Research Methodology
Ebiquity completed 227 interviews with executives and managers responsible for the management and supervision of communications, investor relations or marketing at large and mid-sized publicly traded and private financial services institutions.  Additionally, Ebiquity polled a random sample of 1008 adults representing the general U.S. population.  Both surveys were completed online.

The type of companies surveyed included banks, brokerage firms, asset management firms, insurance companies, real estate companies, credit card companies, mortgage lender, venture capital firms and credit unions and financial technology firms. Respondent titles included Chief Marketing Officer, Vice President, Director and Manager/Supervisor.  The study conducted online and completed in March 2015. The margin of error associated with this level of reporting is +/- 3.1% (consumers) and +/- 6.5% (executives) at a 95% confidence level.

About Makovsky
Founded in 1979, Makovsky ( is one of the nation’s largest and most influential independent integrated communications firms.  The firm attributes its success to its original vision: that the Power of Specialized Thinking™ is the best way to build reputation, sales and fair valuation for a client. Based in New York City, the firm has agency partners with nearly 2,000 professionals in 100 cities through IPREX (, the second largest worldwide public relations agency partnership, of which Makovsky is a founder.

About Ebiquity
Ebiquity is a leader in above- and below-line communications tracking and research, providing independent data-driven insights to the global media, CMO and CCO community to continuously improve clients‟ business performance”.


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