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Proxy advisers 'often inaccurate'

30/07/2013

Concerns have been raised in the investor relations industry that reports provided by proxy advisers are often inaccurate or misleading, muddying the waters when it comes to supplying clear and concise data to stakeholders.

According to a study from the Investor Relations (IS) Society, an organisation established to promote best practice in investor relations across the UK, 84 per cent of their members have been presented with a proxy report containing incorrect or misleading information.

Given that the majority of FTSE 100 companies are signed up with the IR Society, this suggests that the mistakes made by proxy advisers are a serious concern in the UK business world, especially in a climate where investor reports need to be as accurate and informative as possible.

Investor relations officers told the organisation that some 64 per cent of companies were only given two days or fewer to respond to the proxy reports, despite the fact that they often needed to be amended.

Overall, the officers appear to be more dissatisfied than satisfied with how proxy advisers are carrying out their role.

"These findings come in the light of the European Securities and Markets Authority's recommendation last year that the proxy advising industry should develop an EU Code of Conduct that focuses on identifying, disclosing and managing conflicts of interest; and fostering transparency," declared the IS Society.

After the criticism levelled at businesses following the financial crisis and the recent scandal over tax avoidance, investor relations has been placed in the spotlight as a crucial aspect of business management.

One recent study by Thomson Reuters Corporate Solutions argued that one of the most important things investor relations teams can do is identify their target market, as funds with wider remits become commonplace in the current economic climate.

Arguably, industry professionals now need to think to some extent as marketers, identifying the core aspects of the business they wish to push to the fore and finding innovative ways to publicise these areas.

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