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data exchange filings fall

January 2008

The number of companies filing non-financial performance data through the UK's online Corporate Responsibility Exchange (CRE) has fallen since it left the control of the London Stock Exchange in late 2006.

The CRE was formed by the stock exchange in 2004 to enable companies to post data in one place rather than responding individually to dozens of requests for similar information from rating agencies and institutional investors.

The venture lost momentum during a period when the LSE was the subject of bid talk, and in November 2006 it was transferred from the stock exchange to ICSA Software, which has sought to rebuild it. However, the number of users has since dipped below the 170 mark claimed by the stock exchange at the time of transfer.

Caron Mann, CRE development and support manager, told EP: 'For legal reasons we had to re-sign all clients, so inevitably we lost a few through that process. A decent amount still use the service, though not anywhere near the figure the stock exchange had.'

Mann could not give precise figures 'because we are currently going through a billing process'. However, she said the project was in good health and still had the support of two main users of non-financial data - Business in the Community, which compiles the annual Corporate Responsibility Index, and Ethical Investment Research Services, which provides research for the FTSE4Good index. Another prominent data user has come on board but wishes to remain anonymous.

Mann said ICSA Software, which is a division of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, the global professional body representing 40,000 company secretaries and senior administrators, has spent a year developing the software and 'enhancing functionality' rather than aggressively marketing the service. 'It's been a bedding-down period, and in early 2008 we will still be in the development phase,' she said.

In the US a similar venture, OneReport, appears to have had slightly more success. More than 20 research and rating agencies have agreed to collect data through its online service.




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