Investor Relations Mediums Challenged

May 8, 2001 ( - While financial analysts now view corporate web sites more favorably as a source of corporate information, the medium has a long way to go, according to a new survey.

Over a third (34%) of respondents to the survey conducted by the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), rated corporate web sites as very valuable, a significant increase from the 25% that rated it as such in 1998.

Conference calls remained the highest-ranking medium for disclosure, cited by 42% of respondents, down from 47% three years ago.

Quality Counts

In ranking the quality of information provided on a 6 point scale, where “6” is outstanding, the mean scores were:

  • 4.07 ? conference calls (down from 4.17 in 1998)
  • 3.97 – Web sites (up from 3.72 in 1998)

However, just 29% of analysts rated the quality of strategic/financial information provided on company web sites as good or outstanding in the survey, and only a quarter said the timeliness of that information was good or outstanding. The most common complaints about corporate investor relations web sites were:

  • out of date information (54%)
  • difficulty of finding what I’m looking for (50%)
  • insufficient historical information (46%)
  • incomplete information (42%)

Only 27% rated the quality of information provided on conference calls as good or outstanding, while just 17% said the specificity of the information received on such calls was good or outstanding. Thirty-nine percent said the timeliness of this information was good or outstanding, but were concerned about a lack of detail about companies’ business lines, sectors and products.

While over three-fourths (76%) of respondents in 1998 said they visited company web sites at least once a month, but in 2000 just 56% did so with that frequency. A large majority (83%) noted that the information usually found on a corporate web site was either sometimes or almost always available from other sources.

Looking Ahead

Audio webcasts, both live and archived, were among the most widely available and frequently used enhancements according to the survey, with 69% of respondents having personally participated in a conference call via audio webcast.

Analysts were interested in:

  • 67% would like copies of executive presentations e-mailed to them in advance of the call
  • 64% would view live video webcasts, if offered
  • 58% would like the ability to e-mail questions to speakers in real time during the call

However, only about half said that at least some companies currently offer these enhancements, and about a third didn’t know whether they were offered.

The most recent questionnaire generated 270 usable responses, a 13.5% response rate. Full survey results and tables are available online at .