Survey: Corporate Disclosure Improving, But Could Be Better

Most publicly traded companies have improved their overall quality of financial or corporate information disclosure in recent years, say 69% of investment professionals. In a global survey by the Assn. for Investment Management and Research (AIMR), 61% of respondents say the quality of information disclosed is good or excellent; 29% say it's of average quality, while 8% say it's below average. Top information sources cited as extremely or very important when analyzing a company: senior corporate executives (74%), annual reports (71%), financial news releases (67%), and quarterly or interim financial reports (66%). Areas that could use improvement because investment professionals deem them "very important" but rate them low in content and delivery:

  • explaining extraordinary, unusual, or nonrecurring charges.
  • providing segment-specific information.
  • providing forward-looking information.
  • disclosing off-balance-sheet assets or liabilities. As for examples of companies that do the best job of disclosing quality information, the most frequently named were General Electric Co., Intel Corp., Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. Inc., and Microsoft Corp.
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