FINANCIAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
The future of any business enterprise and corporate institution depends largely on how it reacts to the hopes, aspirations
and demands of its publics. Considering always the interest of the target public,
and working towards satisfying such interest can as well give an institution a good image. This is one of the objectives of
financial public relations.
The need to
foster a better business relationship in today’s turbulent environment characterised by fierce competition and customers
who are increasingly aware of alternatives in terms of services, products and organisations or institutions that provide them,
make financial public relations imperative.
of financial institutions to adequately inform their customers is gradually waxing stronger. Owing to the fact that relentless
pursuit of flawless service is the hallmark of excellence and a better relationship between the parties involved, is capable
of enhancing profitability.
financial public relations, became more pronounced in Nigeria recently due to the parlous
state of the economy and the attendant high competition among financial institutions that either try to win more patronage
or seek the understanding and cooperation of the public. With the media devoting
special pages, columns or introducing publications on financial and economic activities, with occasional misrepresentations,
there is the compelling need by financial institutions to handle their public relations activities, including explaining the
direction of the organisation and correcting erroneous impressions, which may have been created about the organisation.
Being an emerging
concept in public relations, financial public relations is yet to achieve a broad definition. Terrence Collins in his contribution
on the subject admitted that financial public relations people, suffer from inability to define their jobs. He added that
at its most basic, the scope of financial public relations in simple investment terms can be considered as “all communications
activity is based around the simple fact that money only has real value as an investment and that investors are people. Even
though this may sound a bit ambiguous, he made the point in one of his observations that the skills of financial public relations
people is focused on the need for publicly owned and listed companies to communicate with those that own them directly or
indirectly through the media or city analysts.
Based on the
above, it may not be surprising that Sam Black described the specialised sector of public relations, which has developed rapidly
over the years as Investor Relations. While he sees its importance in bid, takeover and right issue situations, he suggested
that a Financial Public Relations (FPR) practitioner must be familiar with the increasing number of disclosure regulations
and insiders’ restrictions applicable to all deals affecting Stock Exchange.
financial public relations as a subject is new in Nigeria,
it is an aspect of public relations, which can be understood through a good look at general public relations principles and
practices. Public relations is defined as a “distinctive management function
which helps to establish and maintain mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an
organisation and its publics.” (Harlow
of management functions in the definition explains the reason for the appointment of public relations officers with the responsibility
of operating at the management level of organisations. Officers responsible for
public relations programmes must, at all times, liaise with the public of the organisation and act as the middle man in-and-out
of the firm, but not as an errand staff.
of Public Relations (IPR), London states that public relation
‘is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation
and its publics’.
As a distinctive
management function, it maintains beneficial line of communication, cooperation and acceptance between an institution and
its publics. It keeps the management fully aware of and reacts appropriately
to diverse outside opinions while counseling it to serve the public interest by making purposeful changes toward ensuring
additional public good. It engages in research regularly, including content analysis
of media reports on trends in the environment and uses professional communication techniques to achieve maximum results.
It is in view
of these onerous tasks that the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) defined public relations as a “continuing
and planned character, through which public and private organisations and institutions seek to win and retain the understanding,
sympathy and support of those with whom they may be concerned by evaluating public opinion about themselves. (Cited by Duyile 1987)
big and small companies make their full and half year financial reports in more informative ways to attract enough publicity
for proper public understanding. It can therefore, be summed up that financial public relations addresses issues bordering
on capital investment patterns, budgets, economic forecasts, mergers and acquisitions as well as profit and losses in the
most sophisticated terms for better public understanding.