Survey finds IR sites lack information

BOSTON: A new study says Fortune 500 companies' investor relations teams do not put enough information online.

BOSTON: A new study says Fortune 500 companies' investor relations teams do not put enough information online.

IR web sites lack information for investors to make informed investment decisions, according to the survey by CCBN, a Boston-based Internet shareholder communications company.

The company surveyed 100 Fortune 500 web sites, judging them on the inclusion of 13 categories, which investors had rated as most important. They included stock charts, stock quotes, SEC filings, corporate profile, financial news releases, and analyst coverage.

Cisco Systems, Intel and Microsoft led the pack as the only companies to provide investors with 11 of the 13 information categories on their web site. Of the companies surveyed, the average site contained only six categories.

Alex Lenke, manager of investor relations for Intel, said the company 'aggressively' built up its IR Web site two years ago and updates the site weekly. 'Being a tech leader in the personal computer industry, it's natural to use technology to reach our investors,' he said.

Intel currently has 2.5 million shareholders, as compared to 500,000 four years ago, an increase, Lenke said, due partly to the ease with which investors can get online information.

While most Fortune 500 IR web sites are providing incomplete information, there has been a significant improvement within the past year. Of the 100 companies, 99 now have a presence on the Internet, as compared to 86 out of 100 in 1997.

'This year, we found companies getting with the program that hadn't been on the Web before, but companies that developed web sites last year hadn't taken them to the next level,' said Rob Adler, CCBN president. 'Companies will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to put together an annual report, but they're not putting any effort into their web sites, which are touched by many more companies than an annual report.'

While only 49 of the 100 companies surveyed offer more than half of the information categories, this is up from 32 last year.

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