FDs told to talk.

Canary Wharf Group finance director Peter Anderson told delegates at the Finance Directors’ Forum last week that it was vital they communicate well with both City analysists and shareholders, writes Andrew Sawers, editor of Financial Director magazine.

Speaking at the four-day event, attended by 300 FDs on a P&O cruise liner in the English Channel, he said: ‘There are plenty of companies where the (FT’s) Lex column articulates the strategy better than the company itself. That is dangerous.’

But it’s not just about talk, it’s about results: ‘Deliver what you say you’re going to deliver, deliver early – and let people know you’re early. Then reset the goals,’ he advised.

Canary Wharf is totally focussed on cash generation and return on capital – not on accounting earnings.

‘I never look at the financial statements except when I have to sign them off. People ask us “What are your earnings going to be this year?” I haven’t a clue. We focus on cash and IRR (internal rate of return).’

Anderson also argued against diversification, claiming that ‘companies can only do one thing well’.

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