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IPE special report May 2018

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Asset manager calls on companies to reconsider quarterly reporting

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UK listed companies have been urged to abandon quarterly reporting, with the country’s largest manager of institutional assets calling for greater focus on long-term business growth.

Mark Zinkula, chief executive at Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), said quarterly reporting was “not necessarily conducive to building a sustainable business” and suggested FTSE 350 companies move away from reporting on short-term performance.

In a letter to the chairs of FTSE 350 companies, Zinkula said the manager supported a shift away from the status quo, now that quarterly reporting is no longer a legal requirement.

“While each company is unique, we understand that providing the market with quarterly updates adds little value for companies that are operating in long-term business cycles,” he said.

However, Zinkula said LGIM accepted that certain industries “with shorter market cycles” and those competing on a global level might still opt to report more than twice a year.

“Company management and boards will make appropriate judgements on the relevance of quarterly reporting, taking into account the potential benefits against the additional resources required,” the letter added.

“We expect the updates to the markets to continue to be in accordance with the obligations under the Listing Rules.”

In the letter, Zinkula insisted that a move away from quarterly reporting would not result in a “deterioration” in communication between businesses and shareholders.

“On the contrary, it can lead to more articulation of business strategies, market dynamics and innovation drivers, which are linked to key metrics that drive business performance and long-term shareholder value,” he said.

Quarterly reporting was identified as a source of short termism by the UK government’s Kay Review on long-term decision-making, with the then-coalition government pledging to call for an end to quarterly reporting across the European Union.

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