Its true that life was a lot simpler thirty years ago. News reports appeared perhaps twice daily, the
people who made TV programmes went to bed at night and PC was neither an essential piece of
office equipment nor a way one needed to be careful to conduct oneself in conversation.
But equally it is true that simpler is not always better, as these examples illustrate. Nowhere could
this be more true than in the case of financial markets. Life is far from simple for those supplying
services to the industry or indeed for the owners of assets. Take institutional investors for example,
a cohort of our industry who are under ever closer scrutiny be it from boards, pension scheme
members, sponsoring employers, regulators or indeed the media. This heightens the requirement
for accurate reporting.
Fortunately, probably as a consequence of having had so much practice and because of trial and
error (or should that be plural?) our reporting capabilities have improved. We have also set industry
standards for ourselves and had others imposed upon us. As professionals, we are acutely aware of
the requirement for accuracy.
In addition, as we embark upon the third decade of the 21st century, access to up-to-date financial
information is almost instantaneous. Technology has put virtually everything at our fingertips.
Consequently, reporting deadlines can be pulled ever closer to quarter and year-ends without
compromising accuracy. Were it not for that human intervention requirement, often referred to as
analysis, reporting could be more prompt, without any loss of accuracy.
Doubtless soon we can look forward to robots providing us with the ultimate in accurate reporting.
Then surely the point of maximum customer satisfaction will have been reached.
Reports, regardless of how accurately assembled or rapidly distributed are of limited benefit if
unaccompanied by useful insights. There will always be a human user at the end of any report and
the true value-added for them will always be in what can be learned from its contents. So accurate
reporting can move us in the direction of greater customer satisfaction, but it will never fully get us