LONDON, May 17—Brunswick Group has built its reputation on its ability to provide counsel to clients during the most sensitive situations, emerging in recent years as f London’s premier financial communications firm. But now Brunswick, which has been expanding aggressively in the U.S., is learning that even the slightest lapse in security can create a major embarrassment.
The financial pages of London newspapers have been buzzing with news of documents left behind in a Covent Garden restaurant, apparently by a Brunswick employee. There is some disagreement over the characterization of the documents: The Guardian newspaper, which first reported their existence, said they contained “secret details of planned corporate deals,” while Brunswick says they contained only a press clippings distribution list pertaining to deals that were already in the public domain. But there’s no doubt that the security lapse is an embarrassment to the firm.
“We take security very seriously,” says Cindy Leggett-Flynn, a senior associate in the firm’s New York office. “So this is being dealt with in a very serious manner. We got in touch with all our clients right away and told them what the documents contained. And we have reminded our own people about the right way to deal with client documents.” Clients have been “very supportive,” she says.
According to The Guardian, the misplaced dossier provides “code names for a string of potential multi-billion-pound mergers, acquisitions and flotations,” and includes names of bankers, lawyers and other City advisers for each deal. The Guardian suggested that some who had seen the dossier had been buying shares on the basis of information it contained.
In a statement, Brunswick said the dossier was merely “a weekend press cuttings distribution list for clients and advisors. It only contains names, addresses, and telephone numbers. It contains no description of projects or price-sensitive information.”