Firms 'can do more' to beef up investor websites

Study to assess quality of investor relations websites in S'pore finds many to be 'below par'

The vast majority of listed companies in Singapore have an investor relations (IR) website but the quality leaves much to be desired, according to a new survey.

The study, which was aimed at determining the quality and efficacy of such sites, was based on a 100-point system.

It allocated 50 points to assessing the content of an IR website while the remaining points were split between technology (20), usability (15), design (10) and up-to-date content (five).

The poll found that the average score was only 42, compared with 53 for their German counterparts, said the Investor Relations Professionals Association (Singapore), or Irpas, which conducted the survey with EQS Group, a German-based technology provider for digital investor relations.

In fact, 9 per cent of the 711 public listed companies here do not even have an (IR) website.

Irpas president Harold Woo said: "Clearly, the quality, depth and attributes of investor relations websites administered by public-listed companies... are below par."

  • 42

    Average score of public-listed companies in Singapore, based on a 100-point system, in a survey on the quality of their investor relations websites.

    9%

    Percentage of 711 public-listed companies in Singapore which do not even have an investor relations website.

The sub-par results are concerning, as a firm's IR website is the first point of contact for many investors.

"IR websites play a meaningful role in facilitating the company's IR objectives in this digital age," Mr Woo added.

Among the 711 company websites surveyed in April, the highest score achieved was 70 points, while the lowest was 13.

When categorised according to company size, large-cap firms (above $1 billion in market capitalisation) had average scores of 49, with 47 for mid-caps ($300 million to $1 billion), while small-cap companies (below $300 million) scored an average of 38 points.

The survey also found that many company websites contained outdated content or, worse, lacked content altogether.

EQS Group regional director Mervyn Kwan said the findings were alarming. "Adopting best practices is a must as we observe the global competition for capital," he said.

Veteran investor Ang Hao Yao agreed. He said: "Some smaller companies have websites that don't appear to be regularly updated... (and) the IR portion does not carry much information.

"Areas they can improve on include regular updating of information, publishing of AGM (annual general meeting) minutes, or webcasting analyst briefings, major events and AGMs. Also, they should have an IR contact number or e-mail address for investors."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Firms 'can do more' to beef up investor websites'. Print Edition | Subscribe