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Capital Market Survey

Each year we complete a survey, aimed at the capital market, to understand stakeholder demands of the corporate website. The results aims at helping companies to improve their digital corporate communications.  Our survey consisted of 180 analysts, investors and journalists; all playing different roles in the capital market. We wanted to find out what they think of corporate websites, and what they find important. Read on to understand why we’re so keen on this information.

2018 in brief: Capital Market Survey highlights

What is needed on a corporate website? It’s an age-old question, and we’re trying to make it less complex!

This report, based entirely on the responses from the Capital Market Survey, will lay the foundations for this year’s Webranking criteria, where we rank websites based on stakeholder demands. Through a series of 50 questions, on topics from sustainability to social media, we have been able to paint the picture of how analysts and other stakeholders respond to websites. We want to share this information with you. In our Capital Market Report, we will explain the results while taking that further step and dissecting what we know, giving hints and tips along the way for corporate websites. Follow us on this journey, where we’ll learn about sustainability, trust and much more!

This year’s Capital Market Survey has brought up some interesting trends! Rapid increases in independent sources are the main attention grabber for this year, followed by low satisfaction in mobile expericences. Below are the highlights from 2018 in brief.

  • The corporate website is used as a source for information about listed companies by 99% of the respondents, followed by databases/news agencies such as Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters Financial (96%).

  • Results have shown the growing importance of share information on corporate websites. At the same time, there has been a drop in the number of people who demands to share information, making it joint lowest to improve alongside career sections.

  • When rating the experience of using corporate websites on a tablet or smart phone, the average score was 2.96 on a scale from 1 to 5. Improvements needed!
  • There is a larger demand for downloadable data and other sources of information (PDF, spreadsheets, webcasts, etc).

  • Reading the annual report as a PDF on the screen is still the most common way of reading the annual report according to 85% of the respondents. 42% read the online report, and 40% a printed PDF from the website.

  • The stakeholder's view on sustainability strategies has grown in importance for three years in a row. Also relating to sustainability, for three years running the respondents have called for improvement in sustainability information on corporate websites.
  • A substantial increase in usage of independent sources when gathering information on corporate companies.
    2017 average = 1.62/5.00, and 2018 = 4.55/5.00. 

  • However, contrary to this, the results also showed a drop of 30% in people using news agencies to receive news and updates on listed companies.

Understanding the demographic of respondents

The consensus from the survey showed that although respondents are mostly interested in the share and investor relations information, they are looking at the bigger picture of corporate websites. The material on websites needs to be not only easily accessible and functioning, but also well-rounded, to cover all bases. More recently, analysts and investors are looking for websites that include all corporate information, including an increase in general environmental information and other outlets of information.  

In the new era of MIFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II) the importance of a corporate website will increase for investors, as there is a limit on the availability of small and mid-cap research. Investors will look to the corporate website more heavily when gathering information.  

Read more about MIFID II here

The participants professionally followed over 20 sectors, with industrial goods/services, technology, and banks being among the most reviewed. For collecting information on corporate listed companies, the most used external sources were databases such as Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters Financial, and/or news agencies. However, the overall main information source was corporate websites – 99% of respondents agreed.

Markets that Respondents Cover
Western Europe
The Americas
Northern Europe
Southern Europe
Asia and Asia Pacific
Rest of the world

When asked about their occupation, 53% of the respondents described themselves as analysts, while 32% defined themselves as investors. The graph shows the total breakdown of occupations. In the ‘other’ section, responses were submitted from students, data journalists, economists, etc. Respondents covered an entirely global market, including every continent, with some people working on a global scale.

Occupations of Respondents
Sell-side analyst
Institutional investor
Buy-side investor

Please tilt your phone into landscape mode to see the graph properly

Please tilt your phone into landscape mode to see the graph properly

Corporate website challenges - through the respondents' eyes

As mentioned above, the largest respondent demographic was analysts. When asked to comment on their opinions of corporate websites, a large percentage of the responses were based around how data can be presented, and how this could benefit analysts. Below are direct comments from this question:

More downloadable Excel data available on the morning of quarterly results (not 24 hours later!). Why analysts still have to spend their time typing up numbers from PDF documents is an aberration.
They need to keep up past webcasts and associated presentations longer. Numbers and webcast/transcripts and financial reports are the most important, then press releases.
Most important thing for a sell side analyst is a well done and structured excel for quarterly data, where company should improve in a) # of info provided b) homogeneity in labels quarter after quarter.
Excel Spreadsheet for key financial statements with long (> 10 year) history. Quarterly breakdown if available. Segment breakdowns if available.
What respondents think is the most important content on corporate websites:

Latest annual report in PDF


Latest interim report in PDF


Financial targets


Financial presentations from roadshows, capital market days, AGMs, etc.


Financial target achievements


Financial outlook


Overview of financial key figures


Group strategy


Business model


Financial calendar


Dividend policy


Ability to filter press releases by time & category


Comprend tip – the five highest rated information  

Financial targets

  • When assessing a company’s future revenue streams and earnings, the targets set by the company are very useful, as they reveal to stakeholders what the company itself thinks is achievable. This is valuable information that helps stakeholders make their own judgements. 

  • Systemair present their financial targets professionally and clearly, with a quick description, and then more in-depth information. 

Latest annual report in PDF

  • Annual reports in PDF are always in high demand. The downloadable PDF version should be fitted with bookmarks and headings/chapters that make the report more readable and easier to navigate. Having these features saves the stakeholder time. 

  • Once downloaded, the SSAB Annual Report 2017 is entirely interactive, and fully navigable. These features make the entire process clearer and more direct. 

Financial presentations from roadshows, capital market days, AGMs, etc.

  • An archive of financial presentations and speeches in PowerPoint or PDF enables stakeholders to keep themselves updated on what has been discussed in results/investor presentations or other information-disclosing meetings. 

  • On SNAM's corporate website, they include all financial presentation details, in a range of formats, dating back nearly five years. By including this, more people can access the information they require, in their preferred format, meaning people are more likely to return for the same information. 

Latest interim report in PDF

  • Interim reports are also in demand, complimenting the annual report. The downloadable PDF version should be fitted with bookmarks and headings/chapters that make the report more readable and easier to navigate. 
  • On their reports holding page, Deutsche Bank offer the opportunity to order reports and provide an extensive archive. The PDF of the interim report is presented clearly and kept up to date. 

Financial target achievements

  • Reviewing past target achievements and reporting on progress towards achievement of current targets should complement the targets themselves. Knowledge of the company’s track record in achieving goals is an important element to assessing future target achievement. 

  • Hera Group not only include their relevant financial achievements, but include graphs to present information in a different manner. This allows faster viewing and a clear representation of the company's finances to be evaluated. 

By Rebekah East

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