Report shows decline in levels of in-house design

Just 6 per cent of companies on the FTSE 250 shares index design their annual reports in-house, while 28 per cent change the design consultancies employed for the task every year, according to figures in the fifth annual Merchant Handbook.

Published this week, the document ranks annual report design consultancies on the basis of FTSE 250 clients. The figures show that 43 per cent fewer clients designed their annual reports in-house than in 1995.

Pauffley is ranked first in this year’s list, with 21 FTSE 250 clients, followed by Bamber Forsyth, Addison, the handbook’s author Merchant and CGI.

The book also records how many clients each consultancy has gained and lost over the five years of the handbook. Pauffley, for example, gained 20 new FTSE 250 clients while losing 13. Addison had a greater client churn, losing 22 and gaining 20.

Increasing levels of Internet access will change the annual report sector, but will not kill off the printed word, predicts the document. Among private investors, 41 per cent have Internet access, rising to 47 per cent among the most active traders. But 70 per cent of all investors, and 71 per cent of the most active, still prefer to receive annual reports on paper, via the traditional postal service.

Robert Moser, partner at Merchant, says the Internet will lead to a “democratisation of information”, as traditional relationships between companies, analysts and investors are bypassed.

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