Anthony Hilton, city editor of the London Evening Standard, has
criticised moves by the financial PR community to be regulated by the
FSA as an exercise in self-aggrandisement and said there is a ’danger of
overblowing the role of PR.’
In a speech at the 1998 Hard Commercial Edge of PR conference, he
claimed that financial PR agencies’ bid to ’underpin (their) status in
the heart of the corporate establishment’ will compound existing
problems in the relay of financial information to the press.
The IPR’s City and Financial Group is pushing for specific wording of
the Financial Services Authority (FSA) code to make its link with PR
consultancies more specific. Under the draft code PR Agencies could be
fined for abusing privileged information or issuing misleading
information (PR Week, 19 June).
Hilton said that stricter corporate governance has already increased the
power of PR: ’PR executives are the agenda-setters for bids, they decide
what the issues will be,’ said Hilton. However, he expressed concerns
that further regulation of financial PR will put an end to the open
discussion on which financial reporting by the media is dependent.
’If you have an open system where information is propagated you remove
the conditions in which insider dealing can flourish. If you restrict
the flow of information it provides greater possibility of violent price
movements,’ said Hilton. ’There is a danger the process could be