Investors and Analysts Use Extra-Financial Information in Decision-Making

Investors and analysts use extra-financial information reported by companies to help analyse the performance of those companies and ultimately inform investment decisions, according to new research.

Amsterdam, 10 August 2010 - According to the report "What Investors and Analysts Said", extra-financial information – such as disclosures on governance and environmental issues – has become an important and influential consideration for investors and analysts.

Sarah Nolleth, A4S Project Director, said, "We are delighted to see that the investor community is increasingly seeking extra-financial information as part of their decision-making processes. The increased credibility of, and demand for, these sources of information will help sustainability considerations become embedded into investors’ assessments of a company’s long-term value. The report highlights the importance of integrated reporting, but it is important to remember that companies also need integrated thinking i.e. embedding sustainability into their decision-making and strategy, as the precursor to successful integrated reporting.”

According to the survey results, governance information is the most relevant type of extra-financial information for investors and analysts, with 70 percent of respondents rating it very relevant, while 64 percent of respondents said information on natural resources is very relevant to their analyses of companies. Social and community information ranks lower, although 52 percent of respondents say such information is very relevant.

The relatively low relevance of social and community information could, the researchers say, be due to the difficulty in comparing company performance on these issues. 61 percent of investors and analysts surveyed said they find social information difficult to compare; whereas only 41 percent said the same for environmental information. In contrast, only three percent of respondents said they find it difficult to compare financial information.

Preferred sources and formats for extra-financial information

The research also investigated preferred communication channels and formats for receiving extra-financial information. A key finding was that investors and analysts use a wide range of sources to gather financial and extra-financial information. However, some channels – notably PDF format publications – were more popular than others for certain types of financial and extra-financial information.

Other key findings from the research include:
Investors and analysts use extra-financial information in decision-making, suggests new research The research was commissioned by The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and undertaken by Radley Yeldar.

Read the original article and the report from the GRI website here.
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