Financial Printing–Riding Out The Stocks

John Greco, senior vice president, marketing and technology, at R.R. Donnelley Financial—which reported $485 million in segment sales for 1998—offers the following perspective.

“The financial printing marketplace continued to be a highly competitive environment in 1998, challenging participants to find new ways to differentiate their services from those of competitors,” Greco states. “While securities market activity was strong through the first half of the year, the environment turned all the more competitive with the onset of volatility in the third quarter.

“In turn, that volatility resulted in a softening in new issues underwriting and reduced mergers and acquisitions activity,” he adds.

As for the not-so-ill-fated fourth quarter recap, Greco states the financial segment is—as Packquisition’s Weiss assures—showing indications of improvement.

“Still, it is impossible at this time to extrapolate how those trends might affect the outlook for 1999,” Greco cautions, while turning his thoughts to the SEC.

During 1998, he recounts, the Securities & Exchange Commission introduced a series of initiatives and proposals that, when taken together, represent the most significant changes since the Securities Acts of 1933 and 1934.

One such initiative was the SEC mandate for using plain English in prospectuses. During 1998, Donnelley sponsored seminars in more than two dozen cities in the United States and in London to advise clients how to make the transition to plain English.

The SEC also offered for public comment a series of proposals that conceivably could affect the level and methods of disclosures required for registrants. Depending upon their final outcome, these proposals could significantly impact the financial printing landscape.

“Donnelley Financial is well-prepared for market volatility scenarios because of the diversified portfolio of clients it serves,” Greco reports. “The company’s multiple media capabilities enable it to support potential SEC regulation changes affecting the creation and distribution of financial documents.”

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