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Professional services firms 'interested in PR'


Communicating effectively with investors has rarely been more important for British businesses - as the financial crisis continues and the funding situation tightens for many firms, getting the message out to people with a stake is crucial.

This was highlighted when KPMG acquired investor relations specialist Makinson Cowell last month for £15 million. While the deal is relatively unimportant financially, involving the kind of sums KPMG would find left in its washing machine, it does mark a shift in how PR is being perceived.

KPMG's UK chairman Simon Collins described the move as the fulfilment of a long-held ambition to provide a full capital markets advice service on both the debt and equity sides, reports PR Week.

"At a time when companies are increasingly looking to ensure advice is independent from the underlying sources of finance, the combination of KPMG's debt advisory business with the equity services provided by Makinson Cowell will create a market leading independent capital advisory business," he explained.

But what impact will this have in investor relations recruitment? Is it likely to create new jobs in the industry, or will it see big firms take control of the market and drive out their smaller competitors?

Alan Leaman, chief executive of the Management Consulting Association, argued that the professional services sector as a whole is becoming more aware of the wide range of advice it can offer clients - with investor relations a major part of this.

The shift has been driven by the financial crisis, a need to improve governance, and the emergence of social media platforms such as Twitter that can be used to spread news quickly, he declared.

While the way the market works might change, it looks like the movement will be positive for communications experts, with more focus being placed on the relationship between investors and businesses.

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