While they’re all very different companies, our top 10 reporters share a commitment to open and transparent communication. They tell their stories coherently, giving investors real insight into areas such as strategy as well as the past year’s performance and future prospects.
This year, we’ve seen a change at the top, with ARM taking the title for the first time. Communication is clearly important to ARM. The company understands the value of telling an engaging story with style, passion and transparency – and it’s not stretching the point to say that ARM’s recent high profile takeover by SoftBank could indicate how accurately the investment case has been presented.
It’s good to see some new names in this year’s best reporters. First- timers in the FTSE 100, Provident Financial Group worked hard to demonstrate the wider value the business creates for customers, while Ashtead scored well with an engaging discussion of the business model and market environment. BT also made our top 10 on the back of a consistent, detailed and balanced discussion around performance and risk.
None of these reports are perfect. There are things they do well and others where there’s still room for improvement. However, on balance they provide the most transparent, coherent view of their particular businesses. They score highly across most of our criteria and are good role models for other reporters to follow on the journey towards a more joined-up, integrated approach to the annual report.
This is a great report – one that the reporting team of any company in any sector would be proud to call its own. The strategic report narrative tells a complex story in a simple yet powerful way. The business model, for example, presents a compelling investment case with a strategy that is continuing to drive strong performance. Logic and transparency abounds throughout – you can see the linkages, understand the business, and measure its future opportunities.
Fresnillo has a proud track record with HDISU over recent years, based on providing a consistently high level of detail. The company doesn’t shirk its responsibility to clearly lay out its aims and progress. This deep content is material and well-linked across the report – investors are able to gain a comprehensive and valuable understanding of the business.
3. Land Securities
Land Securities scores highly on all our criteria, but does exceptionally well in our ‘How sustainable is the business’ category. The governance section goes further than describing board activities, using case studies to demonstrate governance in action. The risk section is equally clear, featuring helpful graphics and content that is linked back to the strategy. The language is clear throughout, presenting the investment case with transparency and verve. Overall, this is a great read.
4. Provident Financial Group
This is Provident Financial’s first report as a FTSE 100 company. Words and graphics combine to present a clear explanation of the company as well as its various divisions – what they do, where they operate and the social benefits they generate. These add up to a transparent, easy-to-grasp overview of a business that could potentially be challenging to understand.
Antofagasta has excelled with a clear explanation of the business and value chain. What’s interesting with this report is the easy way in which the reader can see at a glance what the company does at each stage from inputs through to restoration and outputs, with signposting to where more information can be found.
6. British Land
This report takes the company’s strategic vision of creating ‘places people prefer’ and uses it as the main theme to anchor the narrative. This key message is brought to life in both the strategy content and in case studies that tell great stories with style and conviction. The language throughout is easy to understand, with an engaging narrative guiding the reader through the various sections.
This is another report that features a logical, easy-to-follow discussion around how the risk environment has changed during the year. Risks are linked to the business model and strategy, helping the reader grasp how these risks could materially impact the business in the future. The section on stakeholder relationships and environmental performance includes clear reference to the company’s targets for 2020 – an excellent way to convey BT’s commitment to being a sustainable company.
AngloAmerican successfully use their report to discuss the difficult market conditions facing the mining industry and clearly align their strategic objectives to the issues they face. They also carefully link the risk narrative to the strategy and interweave sustainability issues throughout.
9. Lloyds Banking Group
Risk presents the financial sector with an abundance of challenges. LBG gives a clear overview of the principal risks alongside risk indicators and a transparent explanation of how risk relates to strategy. There’s also an excellent forward-looking focus to the report, while the ‘helping Britain prosper’ plan tells a strong sustainability story that is material to the business.
10. Ashtead Group
The business model discussion is the key highlight of what is a good all-round report from the equipment rental specialists. While the graphics present a clear picture of what the company does, how it works and how it adds value, the copy rewards the reader with valuable detail about how Ashtead adapts the business model across different stages of the economic cycle, and also diversifies the fleet and customer base.