S&P Ranks Companies On Investor Disclosure

October 15, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Standard & Poor's has unveiled a study that ranks companies in the S&P 500 Index based on their transparency and disclosure.

According to a Reuters news report, the move comes amid continuing debate about how to bolster investor confidence and improve the way publicly traded companies report details that affect their business.

Based on a 1-to-10 ranking — with 10 representing the fullest and clearest level of transparency and disclosure — Standard & Poor’s listed an overwhelming majority of S&P 500 companies as 7s or 8s overall, based on a composite analysis of the companies’ annual reports and other regulatory filings, the S&P announcement said.

The study hinged on 98 questions and looked at issues ranging from ownership structure and investor rights to board management and processes.

“American corporations could do a lot to improve their disclosure to individual investors who don’t have access to regulatory filings,” Standard & Poor’s President, Leo O’Neill, said at a Manhattan press conference, according to Reuters “By looking at annual report disclosure alone, the study found that US companies do not uniformly provide an abundance of public information voluntarily.”

S&P also announced that it had launched a US corporate governance practice.

For a full copy of the study go to  the S&P Web site .