Financial Printing — Bulls in a Bear Market

BY Chris Bauer

Managing Editor

No segment of the printing industry has undergone the vigorous changes that the financial printing market has experienced in the past few years.

Financial printers traditionally positioned themselves as document experts, who helped clients manage production of documents and regulatory filings. They would manage the style and formats necessary to satisfy SEC financial regulations. As long as the economy sustained business growth, financial printers report that they saw no reason to change. When the economy was booming in the 1990s, financial printers simply invested in building an infrastructure parallel with a market acceleration that, odds are, will never be seen again.

Top 5 Financial Printers
  Company Segment
Sales
(millions)
Total
Sales
(millions)
1 Bowne & Co.
New York
$642 $1,003
2 RR Donnelley
Chicago
$475 $4,754
3 Merrill Corp.
Saint Paul, MN
$232 $581
4 Ennis Business Forms
DeSoto, TX
$50 $240
5 St. Ives Burrups
Philadelphia
$25 $50

Sales figures are based on above printers’ self-reported total and market segment breakdowns.

That business model just doesn’t cut it anymore. In recent years, several shifts in the marketplace collided to challenge the capital markets and investment fund industry—and, by affiliation, financial printing, explains Terry Trayvick, president of RR Donnelley Financial.

“The economic environment decelerated, and then almost halted activity,” Trayvick recounts. “Market cycles mandated increased flexibility and a decrease in cost infrastructures that were too large for sustainable value. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, combined with recent regulation impacting the mutual fund industry, generated sweeping change that has amplified transparency, accelerated greater disclosure and demanded flexible filing options for the increased documentation. New technologies spawned new protocols, new opportunities and new requirements for collaborative communication systems.”

These cyclical markets, new technologies and continuous regulatory change have produced huge and dynamic challenges for the capital markets and investment fund communities, the financial printing exec says. And, in serving this community, members of the financial printing industry faced a choice—adapt to meet the needs of the client’s changing landscape, or be left behind.

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