EDITORIAL: IPR's role on FSA is only first step

The news this week that the IPR is taking part in the Financial Services Authority's review of rules governing how quoted firms behave marks a step change in the respect the City accords to PR.

The IPR is in august company - others offering their thoughts to the FSA's review include investment bankers, accountants and lawyers.

As it stands, any item of information that might have a significant impact on a quoted company's fortunes must be communicated at the same time to both institutional and retail investors. The use of the word significant lends this test an opaque air, since between announcing the appointment of a new non-executive director and announcing a reverse takeover of a larger competitor is a huge grey area, and one of crucial importance to how financial PROs and IR experts discharge their duties.

The quest for a fair and equitable market in the distribution of price-sensitive information is plainly a worthwhile enterprise, and the IPR can be proud it has been invited to voice its concerns.

But pride in taking part is only the first step on the road to satisfaction that one's views have been heeded. The real thrill will come if the IPR is successful in lobbying for its stated objective: striking a balance between pressure from smaller firms which can find the cost involved in announcing everything through the right channels prohibitively expensive, and the post-Enron sense that the demands of corporate governance and probity require a fully open and transparent approach to company communication.

Only time will tell if the IPR can transform access into influence.

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