This content is from: Portfolio

As Investors Ask What’s Next, Executives Focus on Growth

Eighty-three percent of respondents to a PwC survey said that growing their business is more important than tackling any number of potential threats.

As investors navigate a turbulent market environment, business executives say they are largely focused on growing their companies, according to a PwC pulse survey released Thursday. The survey, which focused on managing business risks, was conducted from August 1 to August 4 and included responses from 722 respondents, 63 percent of whom were from Fortune 1000 companies. Respondents included U.S.-based CFOs, CIOs, COOs, and CMOs. 

Specifically, 83 percent of respondents said that their companies are primarily focusing their business strategy on growth. Seventy percent of respondents told PwC that they’re considering an acquisition, and 53 percent said that they’re increasing their investments in the digital transformation of their businesses. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they’re investing more in IT, while 48 percent are targeting cybersecurity, and 48 percent are using their investments to enhance the customer experience at their companies. 

In a Thursday press briefing, Kathryn Kaminsky, vice chair and U.S. trust solutions co-leader at PwC, said that it’s crucial for investors to gain insight into the areas in which a company hopes to grow. “[It’s important] for investors to see where the growth and the investments are coming from, whether it’s digital transformation, IT, or cybersecurity,” she said. 

The report said that these growth-oriented strategies are “somewhat surprising” given the precarious economic environment, which includes high interest rates, record inflation, and geopolitical concerns. According to the report, executives are concerned to some extent about these issues, with 27 percent of respondents citing the prolonged conflict in Ukraine as a potentially serious risk and 30 percent saying that they’re concerned about the potential effects of a recession. 

“The interesting part is that many of them say that they feel very comfortable [in their ability to] handle these issues, and that the past two and a half years were incredibly helpful in [teaching them] how to pivot and how to be agile,” Kaminsky said. 

While corporate executives are cautiously optimistic about the future, they’re also aware of other non-macroeconomic risks, including cybersecurity. In fact, 40 percent of respondents said that the biggest risk to their companies was the threat of more frequent or widespread cyber attacks. 

In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed amendments to its rules to make cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident reporting by public companies more clear and standardized. Sean Joyce, PwC’s global cybersecurity and privacy leader, said that the proposal was meant to protect investors by making them aware of the level of cybersecurity risk that the companies in their portfolios are facing. 

“If you see it in the SEC rule, it’s about disclosure to protect the investor,” Joyce said. 

Related Content