THE TOP 150 PR CONSULTANCIES 2003: Editorial

For over 15 years now, PRWeek's Top 150 consultancy league tables have provided the most authoratitive measure of consultancy business in this country.

In 2003, you will notice some differences to the league tables. In fact, this year's Top 150 ranking is unlike any that PRWeek has ever published before.

These changes are the direct result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the US legislation brought into play following the corporate governance disasters that shook America in 2002.

Sarbanes-Oxley, and in particular Regulation G, which came into force just as the PRWeek tables were being finalised, places enormous, if rather ill-defined, restrictions on the release of information by companies listed in the US.

The restrictions were not, of course, designed to restrict trade industry league tables, but PRWeek has been caught in the backlash.

Despite the current climate, PRWeek has received a record level of entries this year, with a gratifying number of new entrants to the rankings. However, Grey, Havas, Interpublic, Omnicom, Publicis and WPP - owners of some of the UK's leading consultancies -have prevented their PR subsidiaries from entering the Top 150.

Therefore, in addition to publishing the main Top 150 league tables, PRWeek has worked with Willott Kingston Smith to publish the most recent publicly available figures for those consultancies who were unable to enter, in an attempt to provide a more thorough overview of the industry.

We have also profiled a selection of these consultancies alongside others in the main Top 150 rankings. What we have not done, however, is to make any comparisons with consultancies' ranking of the previous year. For this reason, we are publishing an alphabetical list of profiles rather than the usual 'ups and downs', and concentrating on the income growth, or losses, of the companies rather than their changed ranked position.

As far as PRWeek is concerned, this situation is temporary. And we will now be working closely with the trade associations here in the UK and in the US - and with those companies affected - to ensure that we can return to a more comprehensive analysis of the industry next year.

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