Information Availability

In a perfect world, every single piece of information would be available for anyone and there would be no information asymmetry. But the world is not perfect. We talk all the time about how undeniably important it is to have accurate, timely and reliable information to use such and come into a decision be it financial or anything else.

But what do we really have to make information available, accurate, timely and reliable? In this revolutionary era of modern technology, the necessity to get oneself updated with the technological knowledge cannot be overstated. With the advent of modern technology, internet and various mobile data services, our dependency on World Wide Web is on a rise like never before. The traditional way of visiting physically to places is on a wane.

But the unavailability of information and accuracy if available in our country is really alarming. Most recently, I had to prepare a report in a group on real estate sector of Bangladesh. Unavailability of the information especially in this sector was really painstaking. The condition and the content of websites having information of real estate sector are very poor. Even different statistical research institutions do not even bother to keep track of the data let alone update it. Furthermore, the available data are highly inconsistent.

For conducting any research, we are highly dependent on Statistical Yearbook published by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. For economic data, we are entirely relied upon the website of Bangladesh Bank. Even after having some shortcomings, the website is reasonably rich with information. Still, building a data bank can be considered in this connection. A research firm or a firm solely concentrated on data service like Bloomberg can be considered to be established. Quality of the company websites in our country is abysmal.

Not only the websites don’t have the required information most often but also the sites are filled with unnecessary images, tickers, quotes which make them much slower. Some of the companies don’t even have a website at all. Regulators have been talking about making it mandatory to have a website for every company for quite a long time now.

But it is far from coming into effect. Website of the famous company Berkshire Hathaway (Owner: Arguably the greatest investors of all time, Warrant Buffet) can be treated as a benchmark for comparison in this scenario. If you take a look at the Berkshire Hathaway homepage, you can find all the necessary financial information required to understand the business.

But the website has got unbelievably simple outlook. There are no unnecessary colors, even no images. Pretty unusual, huh? Probably yes. But the website meets the thirst of information reasonably well and quite efficiently. Information disclosure regarding quality of financial reporting and corporate governance are entirely another set of issues. Let’s not talk about these for now.