The job of a financial analyst is often described as one of assembling a mosaic of information into good investment ideas. Therefore it is often surprising that companies do not do more to help investors find the appropriate pieces of information. Too often the company’s position seems to be, “This is what we are required to disclose. You figure it out from here.” Yet this misses a significant opportunity to help frame your company in the larger context of its industry, markets, trends and external factors affecting performance
In my last post in this series, I pointed out how Total, the French energy company, displays data on external factors such as the dollar/euro exchange rate and the price of Brent crude oil. Today’s example, BT, the telecom company, takes a different tack. As a big, complicated company in a highly regulated industry, what BT does is pull together relevant links to information for investors both from the company’s web site, and from external providers. Of particular interest on their page are the links to Industry Bodies and News and Research, both shown on the bottom of the screen shot below.
By providing links to external information providers, BT is helping to point investors to where relevant information may be found, either about the industry, relevant trade associations, research companies and outside experts. (I’m a bit surprised that I didn’t see a bit of legal boilerplate here disclaiming responsibility for the content of outside sites linked to the BT site, but that may be an abundance of caution on my part.) Even professional investors, when they pick up coverage of a new company or industry, spend a considerable amount of time trying to figure out appropriate sources and benchmarks. so pointing them to good sources is quite helpful. More companies should do this.
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