Quarterly reports damage behaviour of firms and investors, says Kay Review

Critics claim Cadbury's takeover by Kraft was driven by demands for a quick reward

Quarterly reporting by companies may be damaging the behaviour of both firms and shareholders, according to the preliminary findings of the Kay Review into investment in UK equity markets.

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, commissioned the report last June following concerns that short-term incentives are damaging the way British firms are owned and managed, particularly in light of Cadbury's takeover by the US food conglomerate Kraft Foods. Critics claimed that acquisition was driven by investors demanding a quick reward.

John Kay, a professor of economics at the London School of Economics, consulted with shareholder groups, insurers, pension funds and individual investors for the review.

His interim report said that quarterly reporting and interim management statements could be "useless or misleading".

It also described executive pay as a "principal source of friction" between groups representing shareholders and company managers, and noted criticism of "rewards for failure" was widespread.

Professor Kay also flagged up the concerns of respondents over the impact of high-frequency trading, and said he will examine using legal changes to ensure that equity markets function mainly for the benefit of the companies whose shares are traded on them and the investors whose money is involved, rather than in the interests of the asset management industry.

Ideas to combat takeovers that are damaging the long-term health of firms outlined in the report included creating a public body to review such deals, or give greater voting rights to long-term shareholders.

"One of the big, overriding themes in economic policy has to be generating – in both equity markets and corporate Britain – a belief in the importance of the long-term perspective," Mr Cable said.

The review will make its final recommendations about corporate activity and governance this summer.

Investor groups, including UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and campaign group FairPensions were amongst those to back the interim report.

Penny Shepherd, the chief executive of UKSIF, said: "Effective transparency and procurement are not the sexiest of topics, but they must be embraced if we want to create genuine long-term relationships between companies and investors."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk