PracticeConsulting‘Fickle’ City slammed by FDs

'Fickle' City slammed by FDs

An overwhelming number of finance directors believe the City imposes unrealistic demands for growth on UK companies, according to the latest Accountancy Age/Reed Personnel Big Question survey.

A resounding 61% questioned said the City concentrated on short-term gains at the cost of long-term development.

One frustrated FD said: ‘The City is a law unto itself – fickle.’

Another, Mike Heythorpe, FD at Aspect Roofing, said: ‘It is difficult to have long-term plans,’ while Nicholas Watkins at Constisteel said: ‘In my opinion the City suffers from short-termism.’

The views emerge just days after investor pressure brought about the early departure of John Mayo from troubled electronics giant Marconi where he had worked as FD and was serving as chief executive designate.

Mayo is, however, still set to become a millionaire through Marconi after investing in 200,000 shares in the company on Friday, at a cost of nearly a quarter of million pounds, bringing his total holding up to 364,000.

Marconi’s new finance director, Steve Hare, also invested, buying 25,000 shares.FDs believe the pressure to make short-term gains affects a company’s ability to put money into areas that would grow an organisation.

‘If companies are under pressure to deliver dividends, investment in areas such as IT, infrastructure and R&D is bound to suffer. In the long-term companies will find they are left behind. The utilities are an example,’ said one anonymous FD.

Just 20% of those asked said City demands were not unrealistic and pointed the finger at managers and companies predicting results they could not possibly fulfil. One FD said: ‘Companies are putting themselves at risk by making forecasts they cannot match or exceed.’

Links

High-flying companies threatened by profits nosedive in share options

Marconi FD faces US court action

Marconi directors buy up stock

Marconi man loses Pounds 200,000

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