2016 Global Investor Survey: Redefining business success in a changing world

Over 400 investment professionals gave us their views on the threats and opportunities facing the companies they follow and where they see areas for improvement in strategy and communication.

This report is a companion to our 19th Annual Global CEO Survey, which included interviews with over 1,400 chief executive officers. The CEO Survey explores business leaders’ views on the challenges and opportunities facing their businesses, the expectations of stakeholders and the evolving purpose of a company.

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  • 13%

    of investors are very confident about company revenue growth in the next 12 months compared to 35% of CEOs

  • 80%

    of investors are concerned that geopolitical uncertainty is a threat to growth compared with 74% of CEOs

  • 57%

    of investors are concerned with the increasing tax burden compared with 69% of CEOs

  • 77%

    investors and CEOs see technological advances as a top-three trend affecting businesses over the next 5 years

The speed of technological change is seen as a major business threat to company growth prospects by both investment professionals and CEOs. Investment professionals and CEOs also see technological advances as playing a major role in transforming wider stakeholder expectations of businesses over the next five years.

67% of investment professionals are concerned about the threat to growth from the speed of technological change, compared to 61% of CEOs.

77% of CEOs and 77% of investment professionals say technological advances are a top-three trend that will transform wider stakeholder expectations in the next five years. 

Investment professionals clearly think that providers of capital should have a higher impact on company strategy than CEOs say they do in practice.

62% of investment professionals think providers of capital should have a high impact on company strategy, but only 41% of CEOs say they do. Investors ranked providers of capital the 3rd most important stakeholder to have a high impact on strategy, compared to CEOs who said in practice providers of capital have the 6th largest impact on their company’s strategy (out of a list of 10 stakeholder types).

CEOs and investment professionals both agree that a skilled, educated and adaptable workforce should be the top priority for business.

75% of CEOs and 62% of investment professionals think that a skilled educated and adaptable workforce should be a top priority for business.

Investment professionals appear to be more pessimistic than CEOs, being almost twice as likely to believe that global economic growth will decline over the next 12 months. 

CEOs are more confident than investors about their company revenue growth prospects. If CEOs’ greater optimism is justified, why aren’t they getting the message across more clearly?

Investment professionals are significantly more likely than CEOs to consider misaligned performance incentives as a barrier to change. This highlights another potential area where reporting (in this case, remuneration reporting) could be improved.

49% of investment professionals think that misaligned performance incentives are a barrier to companies making changes to address wider stakeholder expectations, compared to just 17% of CEOs. 


"I am very concerned about geopolitical uncertainty. It adds a layer of volatility; there is no way to plan for it or analyse it and you cannot insulate your portfolios from something you can’t analyse.”

USA equity investor

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Hilary Eastman
Director of Investor Engagement
Tel: +44 20 7804 1818
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