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Rainier PR Web-Index™ survey finds black hole for investors

Research unveiled today has revealed that the majority of leading NASDAQ and almost half of FTSE 100 companies are neglecting their online capabilities with limited responses to investor relations email enquiries.

The alarming results reveal that on average only 38 out of 100 NASDAQ companies responded to staged emailed investor enquiry with the appropriate answers, while just 53 FTSE 100 companies responded within a three week period. Those companies that did respond had wildly varying results ranging from under three minutes to more than two weeks, according to Rainier PR, the UK technology public relations company which carried out the study.

The Alternative Investment Market (AIM), a sub market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), recently called for all firms listed on its books to have Rule 26-compliant websites under new requirements and firms could face penalties if they are found to be non-compliant. However, at present there are no legal requirements for NASDAQ and FTSE companies to support miscellaneous information requests.

“These results must come as a wake up call for top companies,” said Steve Earl, co-founder and managing director of Rainier PR. “Email is one of the foremost research and communications tools for investors, so it is shocking that these companies - especially in the US - have apparently disregarded the questions of a potential investor. To not even respond after three weeks is amazing, after all, email is supposed to be instantaneous. At best it looks like incompetence, at worst a personal slight.”

Earl added; “Major companies need dedicated resources for answering ‘company’ emails 24 hours a day, with a clear process for satisfying the question or request at a departmental or geographical level if the central communication team cannot do so immediately. Web investors deserve better.”

Rainier PR contacted the top 100 NASDAQ and FTSE companies with a standard email request and noted the response rates using contact details supplied on the corporations’ websites. Some companies did respond quickly, the fastest coming back with a reply within three minutes. The figures below show the companies with the fastest response times in both the FTSE 100 and the NASDAQ top 100.

FTSE

1 – Smiths 3 minutes

2 – BG Group 8 minutes

3 – Royal Dutch Shell 9.5 minutes

4 – Drax 11.5 minutes

5 – Shire Pharmaceuticals 13 minutes

6 – Experian 14 minutes

7 – Kazakhmys 16.5 minutes

8 – Rexam 32 minutes

9 – Rio Tinto 46 minutes

10 – Hammerson 57 minutes

NASDAQ

1 – Patterson Companies 2.5 minutes

2 = Joy Global / Intel 3.5 minutes

4 – Millicom 20 minutes

5 – DENTSPLY 27.5 minutes

6 – Comcast 34.5 minutes

7 – CDW Corporation 35 minutes

8 – Apple Inc 1hr 14 minutes

9 – PetSmart 1hr 18.5 minutes

10 – Tellabs Inc 1hr 31 minutes

However, these fast response times simply serve to place in stark contrast the majority of NASDAQ companies that failed to respond at all, Earl agreed. Researchers were particularly surprised that a large proportion of the high profile NASDAQ technology companies normally renowned for their communications and IT systems were some of the worst offenders and did not respond at all, these companies included: SanDisk, Research in Motion (RIM), BroadCom, Symantec, Logitech, Akamai Technologies, Garmin, Dell, Checkpoint and Google among others.

Even more surprising is that when asked for the name of the CEO and Chairman, Oracle’s investment relations team responded by saying they do not give out employee information. In addition the Yahoo! investor relations email address was inactive. While there are still companies in both Exchanges with no investor email option at all, these include; GlaxoSmithKline and Morrison’s supermarkets on the FTSE and Ryanair and Citrix on the NASDAQ.

All companies in the Rainier PR Web-Index™ Study were contacted on 6 August 2007. Emails were sent at the middle of the UK and US working day for the FTSE and Fortune companies respectively to overcome any time zone factors. Rainier PR acknowledges that different results may occur on different dates and times.

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About Rainier PR

Rainier PR is a leading business-to-business and business-to-consumer technology PR agency. Based in London, with an office in Cambridge and an extensive worldwide partner network, it employs more than 30 people and had 2005 revenues of £1.9m. Rainier PR acquired Lighthouse PR in April 2005 and launched a consumer PR brand, Custard PR early the same year. Rainier PR was recognised as “Best Consultancy to work for in Europe, 2006” by the Holmes Report, repeating its success of the previous year. In 2006, Rainier PR was acquired by leading marketing group, Loewy Group.

For further information please see: www.rainierpr.co.uk.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Speed Communications in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.