Professor Steve Young’s research into companies’ financial reports has proved beneficial to several national organisations.
Professor Young leads a multi-disciplinary team at Lancaster University, whose work led to contact from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the primary financial markets regulator in the UK – the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) – an industry body representing pension funds in the UK – and, most recently, RPMI Railpen, who manage the Railways Pension Scheme.
Professor Young worked with them all in consultancy projects which have yielded practical benefits for the organisations.
“Our work with the Financial Conduct Authority is being used to build a model they can apply as part of their market regulation activity,” says Professor Young.
“The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association were particularly interested in workforce reporting – how corporations describe their interactions with employees and how much transparency there is through things like diversity policies, the gender pay gap, health & safety, and training. Our work involved surveying corporate reporting practices in annual reports, and summarising current practice.
“RPMI are interested in using our textual analysis methods to support their investment strategy. The success of initial collaboration meant they came back looking to build an ongoing research relationship. We now have a PhD student working closely with them on developing new methods and applying his research ideas.
“One lesson we have learned is that one project often leads to another; the benefits reach beyond the initial intentions of the partnerships.”