FDs ‘spending too much time babysitting investors’

Deloitte vice-chairman
says that managers are increasingly struggling to balance the demands
of investors with management of their companies.

According to a survey by the firm, managers are spending a significant and
increasing proportion of their time on investor relations, instead of focusing
on running their businesses in a UK environment in which investor activism is
already a feature.

Nearly 60% of the companies surveyed had not developed plans to respond to
public activism. Almost half of them had also not appointed professional
advisers to assist with investor relations activity, particularly with regard to
communications and messaging.

Ewing, the former BAA financial director, said it is estimated that 25-35% of
a chief executive’s and chief finance officer’s time is spent on investor
relations rather than direct value-adding business activity.

‘Seventy percent of CEOs and CFOs meet their company’s top 15 investors twice
a year or more, and greater than three quarters of respondents say they meet new
or potential investors when they are identified, regardless of the fact that
many hold shares for an increasingly short period,’ said Ewing.

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