Criteria

Criteria catalogue for value reporting

University of Zurich

Prof. Alexander F. Wagner, PhD
Dr Sascha Behnk
Leandro Künzli

The original version of the value reporting ratings emerged as part of the dissertation project of Dr Peter Labhart for Prof. Rudolf Volkart. The criteria catalogue was developed further together with Prof. Florian Eugster.

Copyright by the Department of Banking and Finance, University of Zurich

Introductory comments

The criteria catalogue consists of a total of ten criteria blocks, split into two sections: “annual report” (criteria blocks 1–9) and “Internet” (criteria block 10). The ten criteria blocks consist of individual sub-criteria, which in turn are based on individual questions.

The criteria blocks and their sub-criteria are understood to be the definitive list. However, the judges assessing the annual reports are afforded some discretion to identify similarities and include these in the evaluation. This discretion is deliberate and should be conducive to an evaluation that is as balanced and comprehensive as possible across all sectors. One way in which quality is ensured is through the selection of well-qualified judges (students of Economics at the University of Zurich) by the Department of Banking and Finance and an evaluation system based on the multiple-assessor principle.

The annual report and Internet sections are evaluated independentlyof each other and according to differentprocedures. The resulting final scores for both sections are then aggregated to produce the final rankings. The final rankings are based on 80% for the annual reports section and 20% for the Internet section.

Evaluation procedure for value reporting in the annual report

Each sub-criterion within a criteria block is evaluated on the basis of the associated questions and the amount of discretion allowed. Points are awarded based on scores of 1 to 6 as follows:

Score

Meaning

6

information content available and very good

5

information content available and good

4

information content available and usable

3

information content available but barely usable

2

hardly any information content and only available indirectly

1

no information content available

The average number of points awarded for each criteria block is equal to the average of the number of points accumulated in the respective sub-criteria. The individual averages are then weighted with a specific factor for each criteria block:

Criteria block

Weighting    as a %

Weighting
for final ranking
as a %

1

General impression

5

80

2

Background information

20

3

Key non-financials

20

4

Trend analysis

5

5

Value-orientated remuneration policy 

10

6

Wertorientierte Vergütungspolitik

10

7

Management discussion and analysis of annual financial statements

10

8

Objective data and credibility

10

9

Sustainability

10

 

Overall score for annual report

100

For the sake of simplicity, the following example is based on just two criteria blocks with two sub-criteria and equal weighting (i.e. 50:50). The company in the example has been awarded the following points:

Criteria block 1:4 points in sub-criterion 1.1 and 6 points in sub-criterion 1.2
This results in an average value of(4+6)/2 = 5

Criteria block 2:5 points in sub-criterion 2.1 and 6 points in sub-criterion 2.2
This results in an average value of (5+6)/2 = 5.5

Total scores in the example (total of the weighted averages): 50% * 5+50% * 5.5 = 5.25

Evaluation procedure for value reporting on the Internet

Unlike the annual report section, most questions regarding the company’s website are answered with either “Yes” (available) or “No” (not available), thus resulting in a score of “1” or “0” being fed into the evaluation. For particular questions, a grading of “0, 0.5, 1” or “0, 1, 2” is possible to take account of the subjective nature of these questions.

The number of points scored is divided by the number of maximum possible points available for each sub-criterion. The average is calculated from the resulting percentages (all sub-criteria 10.0 to 10.9 are equally weighted, i.e. with 10%). This average is then multiplied by a factor of 5 and increased by the summand 1, so that the resulting final score for a company in the Internet section is compatible with the score in the annual report section.

Unlisted companies

Some questions are specifically designed for listed companies. As only listed companies can satisfy the relevant requirements, these questions are skipped for unlisted companies in the evaluation and disregarded when calculating the final scores or final ranking. Such questions are marked with an asterisk.

Relevant reports

The classic annual report comprising the annual financial statement and, where applicable, the consolidated accounts as well as the management report are of primary relevance for application of the criteria. Reports on sustainability and corporate social responsibility are also evaluated, provided that they were published no more than three years prior to compilation of the ratings.

Additional publications (no more than three years old) or information available on the company’s website are only included in the rating if direct reference is made to these in the actual annual report (for example, by naming the relevant report or specifying the website) or if these reports are detailed on the company’s website alongside the annual report.

Additional comments

The criteria catalogue often mentions “products”. As well as physically manufactured products, this is also understood to include abstract financial and insurance products and services.

The definition of terms such as “investor” or “investor relations” issomewhat broader within the context of this criteria catalogue (particularly in the “company website” section). These may also therefore be taken to include other stakeholder groups (e.g. taxpayers, cooperative members, etc.), particularly as regards unlisted companies.