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  1. Wealth
February 7, 2024

The best reputation managers 2024

Reputations can take a lifetime to build and hours to lose. These are the experts trusted with supporting HNW clients

By Spear's

In the age of social media and fast-paced 24-hour news cycles, reputations can take a lifetime to build and hours to lose. Reputation managers work with their clients at strategic and tactical levels to influence how they are perceived, whether by peers or the public. 

This level of support is of paramount importance to high-net-worth individuals as their wealth and social standing leads to increased outside interest and exposure – even if they don’t want to be famous. 

[See also: the Spear’s ranking of the best reputation lawyers, 2024]

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The best reputation managers have the tools and means to ensure that their clients’ interests are protected and furthered, that they avoid potential pitfalls and communicate effectively. Our list of names — which includes former journalists, lifelong publicity gurus, branding experts and digital savants — is more extensive than ever before. 


Litigation is sometimes necessary but often it’s the issues away from the courtroom that matter most. Digital presence of your own or on others social media, online security risks, crisis management and traditional media profiles all need to be attended to. The reputation managers in the Spear’s list are the best people to help you achieve security’

Ian Douglas, Spear’s Head of Research


A new era for Schillings

Photographed for Spear’s, Schillings CEO David Imison (left) and the founding partners of the firm’s strategic communications business, Victoria O’Byrne and George Pascoe-Watson / Image: David Vintiner

Schillings has launched a new strategic communications business, Schillings Communications, which will enable PR and comms professionals to work hand in glove with the firm’s lawyers and other experts to advise clients on acute challenges and to seize opportunities.

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[See also: why Schillings is branching out into strategic communications]

This in-house PR operation is spearheaded by former Portland boss George Pascoe-Watson and Victoria O’Byrne, previously communications director to the Prince and Princess of Wales. Both were interviewed by Spear’s editor-in-chief Edwin Smith in our most recent issue. Both enter our list as Top Recommended. Also new to our rankings from Schillings are reputation law partner Sam Ahuja and Phil Hartley.

Where PR meets the law

Schillings is not the only firm to be increasingly turning to PR experts to handle the softer aspects of reputation — to help clients tackle PR challenges that cannot be fixed using the courts system alone. 

Leading financial comms specialist Lawrence Dore goes up to Top Recommended — one of London’s leading reputation law firms tells Spear’s it uses his services. 

Another reputation lawyer tells us about the importance of the work of Digitalis. Its head of digital risk, James Hann, moves up to Top Recommended in recognition of his expertise seeing off disinformation and digital threats. 

Political challenges 

This year, UHNWs will need specialists who know about politics like never before. One savvy operator at the forefront of this work is PR guru Mark Borkowski. He retains his Top Flight place.

New to our rankings this year is Ameet Gill, who can help clients to understand the shifting political sands as both parties gear up for the most expensive UK election in history. As founder of Hanbury Strategy, Gill’s understanding of politics comes from first-hand experience. He served as chief speechwriter and later director of strategy under former prime minister David Cameron.

Names to know: who moved up the Reputation Managers Index 2024?

Tim Maltin is added to Top Flight this year, reflecting the strength of his firm’s work in litigation PR. Maltin PR is recognised internationally for its work, which includes supporting clients in commercial matters, where the sums at stake often run into the hundreds of millions of pounds. The firm has also attracted star talent, including former BBC legal correspondent Clive Coleman (who this year moves from Recommended to Top Recommended).

Also moving to Top Flight is Ed WilliamsEdelman’s international president — a figure who previously led the corporate comms of the BBC and Reuters. He was appointed in May 2023 after serving as the firm’s EMEA chief executive. 

Philip Allen of Theseus Risk moves up to Top Flight, after entering our rankings last year on the recommendation of a leading reputation lawyer. Allen’s work — helping HNWs to quell threats from threatening and obsessive actors — is of critical importance to figures in the public eye facing acute threats. 

Tim Maltin, managing partner of Maltin PR is named on the best reputation managers index
Tim Maltin, managing partner of Maltin PR

Tim Maltin – Now Top Flight 

Maltin PR

One of London’s leading litigation PR and crisis management experts, Maltin PR managing partner Tim Maltin supports HNWs with complex legal and financial disputes.

In his spare time, Maltin is a historian and Titanic expert — and has even presented TV documentaries on the famed ocean liner.

Read Tim Maltin’s full profile on Spears500.com

Ed Williams – Now Top Flight 

Edelman

A veteran PR expert who previously served as Edelman’s EMEA chief executive, Ed Williams assumed the role of international president of the global PR firm last May.

Read Ed Williams’ full profile on Spears500.com

Philip Allen, of Theseus Risk Management is one of the best reputation managers 2024
Philip Allen, of Theseus Risk Management

Philip Allen – Now Top Flight 

Theseus Risk Management

Focusing on ‘fixated threat and risk management’, Philip Allen helps private clients and leaders in politics and business to identify threats from nefarious actors — helping to defend online reputations and protect clients from stalkers and those engaging in obsessive behaviours. 

Read Philip Allen’s full profile on Spears500.com

PHA Group

Formerly news editor of the News of the World, Neil McLeod understands how reputations are made and broken in the print media.

He was central to the PHA Group’s efforts supporting Sir Cliff Richard in his four-year dispute against the BBC, following the raid of his home by South Yorkshire police.

Read Neil Mcleod’s full profile on Spears500.com

David Imison, CEO of Schillings, is now Top Recommended in the Best Reputation Managers Index
David Imison, CEO of Schillings

Schillings

Schillings CEO David Imison – a former KPMG management consultant who stepped up to the top job in May 2022 – has overseen the launch of strategic communications business, Schillings Communications, which marks a major change of pace for the fearsome law firm.

Read David Imison’s full profile on Spears500.com

Beatrice Giribaldi Groak of BGG
Beatrice Giribaldi Groak of BGG

BGG

Beatrice Giribaldi Groak of BGG works with

an impressive array of HNWs and financial professionals. A a digital specialist — who’s also au fait with legal considerations — Giribaldi Groak helps international banks and private equity leaders address reputational risks.

Read Beatrice Giribaldi Groak’s full profile on Spears500.com

Farrant Group

Formerly head of digital under David Cameron’s coalition government, Anthony Simon now plies his trade as a communications professional at the Farrant Group, where he supports a mixture of private individuals and corporates. 

Read Anthony Simon’s full profile on Spears500.com

Lawrence Dore, of DRD Partnership, is now Top Recommended in the Reputation Managers Index
Lawrence Dore, of DRD Partnership

DRD Partnership 

Financial comms expert Lawrence Dore of DRD Partnership was once dubbed the ‘crisis king’ — owing to his broad career supporting business leaders and HNWs with risk preparedness and litigation issues.

Read Lawrence Dore’s full profile on Spears500.com

Digitalis

Head of digital at Digitalis, James Hann is a go-to adviser for HNWs who need fast-paced support following threats caused by disinformation. 

Read James Hann’s full profile on Spears500.com

Methodology

In selecting and ranking reputation managers, the Spear’s Research Unit conducts extensive research of the market, including interviews with well-informed observers, industry insiders and of course the advisers themselves. These take place both face-to-face, and on video and telephone calls. Candidates for inclusion are asked to fill in a form to provide data and a description of their work and client base. In finalising its selections and rankings, the Spear’s Research Unit employs a proprietary methodology that includes a weighted scoring system. This takes into account factors including an adviser’s standing, reputation, client base, recommendations and testimonials, the firm they represent, their level of engagement with the process and certain industry-specific criteria.

Best reputation managers: the complete list

Click on the individual names to be directed to more detailed profiles on spears500.com. The table is ordered by ranking.

Find out more

To explore all the Spear’s indices, and to use our find-an-adviser tool to identify the private client adviser who is right for your specific requirements, go to the Spear’s 500 website.

To receive relevant research updates from Spear’s – and thereby give you and your firm the best chance of being included in future Spear’s indices – please register here. If you are an adviser featured in an index and would like to update your profile or provide additional information, please email research@spears.co.uk. If you are not featured but would like to be, please fill out our form.

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