THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: How useful is the web as an investor relations tool?

BA set up a web site in response to new standards for corporate governance from the DTI

BA set up a web site in response to new standards for corporate

governance from the DTI



Chris Milburn



Centrica



’I regard the web site as an important resource. We have a company site

and put our results and press releases straight on to it. The site is

one strand of the communications link and enables users to move away

from endless paper cuttings. It reaches a different audience of private

investors and is more generally accessible.’



Paul Richards



Panmure Gordon



’The last time analysts here looked at one was to refer to the recent

Pearson results which didn’t go out on the regulatory news service but

were on the web site at 7.30 am. We expect all information to be

released to the Stock Exchange first. Most company web sites rehash

published reports and accounts which we get sent anyway. But the City is

not their target.’



Richard Carpenter



Investor Relations magazine



’IR input on a web site is crucial but compared to the US, companies

here are behind the game. This is changing, City institutions are now

using them for research - it’s fast and it’s global. Many companies use

a version of their annual reports but there aren’t enough very good IR

web sites in the UK. However, Severn Trent and Kingfisher have good

sites.’



Miles Lewis



European Investor Services



’An IR web site is useful for companies that have a fairly simple USP

For instance, a biotech company that is working on two products and

doesn’t have any earnings. But for complex companies like BA, all a web

site can do is provide annual results and reports because a company

can’t be seen to be soliciting the public to make an investment in its

stock.



A site may be useful to private clients who hold investments in nominee

accounts under their brokers’ name and do not get to see the printed

annual report.’



Steve Jacobs



Financial Dynamics



’Most people looking at the average web site would lose the will to live

at the end of five minutes. Companies don’t make full creative use of

their web sites, they transplant two dimensional documents, such as

annual reports, on to the site and expect users to be excited by it.



Web sites should be interactive and graphically interesting without

being so complex and sophisticated that the average home computer

technology can’t cope with it.’ I’m ambivalent about the value of the

internet in communicating with investors.’



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