Corporates want to see enhanced pan-European disclosure standards

Most European companies believe that current minimum disclosure obligations are not sufficient to keep investors well informed and would support an enhanced pan-European disclosure standard.

The majority of those surveyed were highly supportive of a change; only 12% agreed that current regulations should not be reviewed, reveals new research published today by PR Newswire, the world’s leading corporate news distribution service.

The full results of the survey, which received responses from senior Investor Relations Officers of leading corporates across Europe, will be announced today at the Dow Jones Corporate Governance and Disclosure Summit in Brussels, being held on the 7th and 8th of October 2002.

’Against the backdrop of the recent financial disasters in the US, it is encouraging to note that larger European companies are starting to adopt excellent disclosure practices’, said Vicky Unwin, Managing Director of PR Newswire. ’ However, as our research shows, these best practices are voluntary and the availability of news to investors in Europe is highly fragmented. Respondents were aware of the initiatives within the European Union to improve standards, and broadly supported those initiatives’.

Other trends that emerged from the research were that greater communications with all shareholders was more essential than ever; that the present gap between minimum disclosure requirements and best practice was unsustainable; and that benchmarking against US practices is now widely used. It is also clear that the Internet alone is not widely regarded as sufficient for informing investors, only 22% of respondents thought that Internet posting should on its own constitute disclosure.

The research was carried out in two stages. Detailed research of the current minimum requirements and best practices was conducted by personal interview among some of Europe’s senior Investor Relations Officers, followed by a large-scale questionnaire to companies across Europe, which attracted a strong response.

The interview research, carried out by specialist financial journalist Richard Carpenter, has now been published as a book - PR Newswire’s Guide to European Disclosure. It contains expert commentaries from industry professionals and offers a guide to some of the ways in which different European markets define, release, and disseminate price-sensitive information. It also highlights some of the means by which European-listed companies tell investors about their activities and gives an insight into current practice in 17 different markets.

(source: PR Newswire)

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