Marsh and McLennan Companies

Published 12 Jan 2005
Reference 5322
Industry Insurance
Region Global
Summary

This case deals with the problems facing MMC in three of its key business areas, which surfaced in quick succession in 2003 and 2004. Its focus is primarily on the reputation risks facing the firm, and how shareholder value can be destroyed when such risks materialize. In two of the three cases, the market capitalization losses dwarf the accounting losses attribuable to fines, penalties, restitution, restructuring, etc., associated with the events.

Teaching objectives

Key teaching points relate to the sources and consequences of operational risk in the financial services sector. These include: Was the problem, in part, a product of rapid growth through acquisitions, which might have made it difficult to build a culture resistant to exploiting conflicts of interest? Was it related to the emergence of an aggressive winner-take-all culture at MMC, especially during the latter years? Was it a matter of established industry patterns of questionable conduct, where MMC was simply among the most aggressive players? Was it, in part, a product of the times, with prosecutors

Keywords
  • Reputational risk
  • Insurance
  • Insurance brokerage
  • Mutual funds
  • Financial conglomerates
  • Ethics
  • Financial services
  • Operational risk RISK
  • AR0506