Best and worst online communications from NZX50 companies

The Best Investor Website Awards have named Fletcher Building’s website as best meeting the needs of its investors out of the NZX50 companies.

The fifth annual awards evaluate how well listed companies’ websites meet the needs of investors and are organised by Wired Internet in conjunction with Christchurch Polytechnic information design lecturer Bruce Russell.  The awards are supported by the New Zealand Shareholder’s Association (NZSA).

Fletcher Building’s investors received the best communication on-line, the awards judged, scoring 86 out of a possible 100, with Goodman Fielder second with 84 and Auckland International Airport third with 83.

Last in the awards was Michael Hill International with 40, down on its 2010 result of 49th, Wired Internet said.

Companies that increased the most were PGG Wrightson, Telecom and ANZ Bank, who increased their rankings more than 20 places, or 33 in PGG Wrighton’s case, through judicious site redesigns, Wired Internet said.

New entrants DNZ Property Fund came in at 9th place.

Key trends highlighted by the Best Investor Website Awards (BIWA) report included the observation that new site design were not necessarily better for the investment audience with the trend over the last three years of more redesigned sites showing an improved investment audience experience reversing – only 46% of redesigned sites improved their ranking. 

Another key trend highlighted was that ethical marketing continued to increase in importance, with 35 listed companies using a combination of social and environmental responsibility as a key part of their investor and customer relations strategies, up from 25 last year.

Social media was being more widely used in investor relations, the report said, with this year the second time the awards surveyd the NZX50 sites to see how many were using social media to enhance communication with investors.  The awards found that 13 sites uses one or more forms of social media, of which almost half used both Twitter and Facebook, up from eight sites using social media in 2010.

“For the first time YouTube is being used to provide video of investor information.”

The gap between best and worst sits continued to widen.  The overall average score remained about the same as last year, the awards found, but the gap between the averages of the top 1 and bottom 10 sites continued to widen.

“This year the average score of the Top 10 was 80.9, and the average score of the Bottom 10 was 42.8 – a ‘gap’ of 38.1 points. This ‘gap’ was 36.3 last year and has increased year-on-year from 2007 when it was 19.4 points.”

A bigger budget was not as important as a clear understanding of what investors wanted, the awards found.

“Every year the ‘largest and most liquid’ listed companies do not fare much above average in the BIWA. Five NZX15 companies made the BIWA Top 10, a slight increase on four last year. But four others also made the Bottom 10, so in general it seems having a big budget is still not as important as a clear understanding of what investors want.”

NZSA chairman John Hawkins said the Internet continued to be increasingly important as an information portal to both retail and institutional investors.

“The NZSA is encouraged by the improvements being seen on company websites. Some of this can be put down to the awareness being generated among investor relations staff by the ongoing BIWA awards.”

BIWA judge Bruce Russell said the best sites were those that directed the online communication with investors clearly at the investment audience, as distinct from retail customers.

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