Singapore company websites failing on IR
Companies in Singapore are being urged to improve the quality of their IR websites as a new study shows that 69 percent offer no information on sustainability and 9 percent do not even have an IR section.
The research – the first of its kind covering all SGX-listed companies – was conducted by the Investor Relations Professionals Association of Singapore (IRPAS) and EQS, rating the quality and efficacy of listed company IR websites out of a maximum 100 points.
The highest score achieved by a company was 70 points, while the lowest was just 13. The average score across the 711 company websites surveyed in April 2017 was 42, leaving ‘ample room for improvement’.
Market cap also presented points differences, with small-cap firms (below $300 mn) averaging 38 points while those at the large-cap end of the scale (above $1 bn) average 49 points.
Half of the points were allocated to the content of an IR website, while the remaining 50 points ‘were allocated according to technology (20 points), usability (15 points), design (10 points) and up-to-date-content (five points),’ according to an IRPAS press release.
‘Clearly, the results of this survey show that on average, the quality, depth and attributes of investor relations websites administered by public listed companies in Singapore are below par,’ comments Harold Woo, president of IRPAS, in the statement.
‘The overall results of this survey are a cause of concern as the trend of engaging investors and getting investor buy-in for a listed entity is moving towards [the] digital medium, with the IR website as the first point of contact.’
Commenting on the finding that almost 70 percent of firms’ websites offered no information in relation to the company’s sustainability commitment, Woo adds that from an IR perspective, ‘sustainability has become a critical success factor to ensure long-term value creation, and as such, more and more investors are now paying close attention to enhanced transparency on listed companies’ ESG practices.’
EQS says it is collaborating with IR societies in other markets to run similar surveys, with regional director Mervyn Kwan describing it as ‘quite alarming’ that some companies in the SGX research were found without an IR website. ‘Given how time-sensitive company and financial information are, we found that during the survey, many company websites contained outdated content, or worse yet, lacked content altogether,’ he says.