As part of our mission to support trends and developments in effective IR communications, Tangelo regularly surveys the annual reporting practices of companies across the world.
In light of the recent announcement by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) that companies could publish annual reports electronically, we decided to look at how the country stacks up to other global markets.
The SGX’s mandate marks a shift towards digital IR communication, evolving from print to embrace downloadable PDFs and even cutting-edge online microsite reports. Ultimately, it’s a move to give greater online accessibility and usability to shareholders, stakeholders, and analysts.
Best practices for downloadable PDFs of your annual report
Across the globe, more and more companies are going beyond downloadable PDFs and “flipbook”-style online PDF readers to embrace microsites.
Also formerly referred to as “online annual reports,” a microsite is a version of the report that exists as its own website—it’s built as a web-first, online-optimized, interactive experience. Unlike static print or PDF versions, microsites can feature interactive graphs, videos, Excel downloads and more.
It’s easy to see why microsites are gaining traction: they’re far more engaging, accessible, and easy-to-read.
DBS, Keppel Corporation, SATS, Sembcorp, Singtel, and UOB all published their 2016 Annual Report as a microsite.
In Singapore, 20% (6/30) of Straits Times Index (STI30) companies surveyed used microsites in 2016, while 23% (7/30) use outdated flipbooks and 57% (17/30) only offer downloadable PDFs. That means Singapore is lagging behind countries like Switzerland (SMI) and Germany (SAX/MDAX/SDAX), where 55% and 36% offer microsites, respectively.
But Singapore is also outpacing other countries in Asia-Pacific: only 12% listed on the New Zealand NZX50 used microsites in 2016, along with 17% of Australian ASX200 companies. Austria is also behind its Western European counterparts, with only 12% on the ATX offering microsites.
With videos, dynamic graphs, and customizable content, it’s clear that microsites are more engaging than print and PDF annual reports.
They also make your annual report far more accessible to shareholders—there are no files to keep track of and most microsites are responsive, meaning they adapt their design to work on smartphones and tablets.
Investors also appreciate the tools microsites offer, like the ability to highlight, annotate, and download select parts of the report as PDFs or Excel files.
Companies have more to gain, too. Using web analytics, you can get insights into how stakeholders read your report—like how many view it, where they spend their time, and what locations they’re viewing the microsite from. You can also easily direct people to a particular section of the report using a hyperlink.
While flipbook-style PDF viewers are technically “online,” there’s clearly no comparison with microsite reports.
This shift towards microsites will only speed up, but the need for print and PDF versions will remain. This shift also means companies need to take up new tools and processes when creating microsites in conjunction with PDF and print versions.
Tangelo makes it easy to produce all versions simultaneously from a single, shared source. Secure, collaborative, and time-saving, our platform empowers you to streamline your team’s process and create professional IR documents in-house.
“This research was originally presented at an event hosted by Investor Relations Professionals Association of Singapore (IRPAS) in August, 2017.”