HARD COMMERCIAL EDGE OF PR 1998: Concerns over added power of financial PR

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.’

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

subverted.’



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