City & Corporate: OFR splits opinion on non-financial risk

The leaders of quoted companies are divided about the value of new rules requiring them to report 'non-financial risk', a survey has revealed.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of company chairs, CEOs and MDs interviewed by MORI for a survey commissioned by Edelman opposed Operating Financial Review legislation, which came into effect on 1 April.

But the survey of 105 UK 'captains of industry' at FTSE 500 companies and the top 1,000 firms by turnover also found a sizeable minority (43 per cent) who supported the OFR. Eight per cent were neutral.

MORI director and author of the report Jenny Dawkins said company heads were similarly divided on whether producing an OFR would lead to better risk management. Two out of five agreed that it would but the same proportion felt the OFR would not improve their risk management.

Dawkins said support for OFR reporting was concentrated among the top 100 companies, which have more resources to implement the scheme, while companies in the banking and financial sector were more sceptical.

'A lot of organisations are in denial about the impact of the OFR,' Dawkins told PRWeek.

'More and more people expect companies to be transparent and are less trusting of companies that are not transparent. Why go against that trend?'

But despite a feeling among sceptics that they were already disclosing enough non-financial information before the OFR came into force, more than half of company heads (53 per cent) disagreed that the OFR was a distraction from the things that are important to the running of a business.

Only 38 per cent said the OFR was a distraction.

MORI also surveyed 100 institutional investors, who were similarly split.

Forty-one per cent supported the new rules, while 34 per cent were against them. A quarter of institutional investors interviewed were undecided.

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