Category Archives: Investor relations

OTC Markets Group and PR Newswire Event to Highlight Successful U.S. Investor Communications Strategies for European Companies

NEW YORK  /PRNewswire/ — More than 700 European-headquartered global companies are cross-traded in the U.S. on off-exchange marketplaces, yet few of them garner the U.S. investor attention or trading volumes they seek.  What separates successful U.S. investor relations (“IR”) programs from unsuccessful ones often comes down to communication – regular, systematic communication of a company’s news, financial disclosure and corporate story to U.S. investors.

“Trans-Atlantic Information Flow: Making Sure North American Investors Don’t See Blank Screens,” a breakfast forum taking place in Paris on January 21, will educate European global companies about the OTCQX and OTCQB marketplaces in the U.S. and provide guidance and best practices on cost-effectively reaching U.S. investors.  The event is organized by OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCQX: OTCM), operator of the OTCQX®, OTCQB® and OTC Pink® financial marketplaces, and PR Newswire, the global leader in news and information distribution services for professional communicators.

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“Trans-Atlantic Information Flow” will include presentations by OTC Markets Group and PR Newswire as well as a panel discussion with Martine Hue, Investor Relations Director of Publicis Groupe S.A., which trades on OTCQX; PR Newswire Investor Relations Consultant Mark Hynes; and Sami Toutounji, Partner of Shearman & Sterling, an international law firm. The speakers will share key learnings in U.S. investor communications strategies.

“The most visible and actively-traded international companies in our market – companies like Publicis – are those that have committed to providing their U.S. shareholders convenient access to their English language news and disclosure, generally through a major news distribution service like PR Newswire,” said Jason Paltrowitz, Managing Director and Global Head of Business Development for OTC Markets Group.  “Our intention with this event is to educate French and other European companies about the options available to them in the U.S. markets and methods for increasing their visibility with U.S. investors seeking international investment opportunities.”

“We are excited to be partnering with OTC Markets Group for this event,” said Lisa Ashworth, President, EMEA & India, PR Newswire. “OTC Markets Group’s guidance on a best practice communication strategy coupled with PR Newswire’s expertise in reaching worldwide audiences should make this a valuable forum for those interested in improving visibility and understanding amongst the U.S. investment community.”

Event Details:
“Trans-Atlantic Information Flow: Making Sure North American Investors Don’t See Blank Screens”
Date:
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Time: 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. (registration begins at 8:30 a.m.)
Location: Hotel Westminster, 13, rue de la Paix, 75002, Paris
About OTC Markets Group Inc.

OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCQX: OTCM) operates Open, Transparent and Connected financial marketplaces for 10,000 U.S. and global securities.  Through our OTC Link® ATS, we directly link a diverse network of broker-dealers that provide liquidity and execution services for a wide spectrum of securities.  We organize these securities into marketplaces to better inform investors of opportunities and risks – OTCQX®, The Best Marketplace; OTCQB®, The Venture Marketplace; and OTC Pink®, The Open Marketplace.  Our data-driven platform enables investors to easily trade through the broker of their choice at the best possible price and empowers a broad range of companies to improve the quality and availability of information for their investors.  To learn more about how we create better informed and more efficient financial marketplaces, visit www.otcmarkets.com.

OTC Link ATS is operated by OTC Link LLC, member FINRA/SIPC and SEC regulated ATS.
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About PR Newswire
PR Newswire (www.prnewswire.co.uk) is the leading global provider of PR and corporate communications tools that enable clients to distribute news and rich content across traditional, digital and social media channels in real time with full actionable reporting and monitoring.

Producing, optimizing and targeting news and content across the world’s largest multichannel distribution network and offering the most accurate and frequently updated opted in journalist databases for over 60 years PR Newswire has a truly global reach serving clients across EMEA, India, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

PR Newswire is part of UBM plc.

Investor Relations Officers ~ Class of 2015!

Twice a year, the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) offers an excellent seminar on the fundamental skills needed for the art and science of Investor Relations. Split between Boston, MA in September and Santa Monica, CA in last week, over 250 IR newbies gathered to learn. As a sponsor, we had the opportunity to ask attendees two questions.

Selfishly, we asked these questions to help us understand the personas of who we support with our communications and compliance services. Being a proponent of a transparent industy, we posted the results from just Boston here. Note: there was no regional difference to the responses. The results below are both coasts combined.

NIRIfund-westROLE

As noted in September, the incoming class are highly financial-based – 2:1 compared to communictions-based. An opinion could be that the always increasing complexity of the capital markets warrants a very strong financial background. Also, the services we (and others) offer GREATLY simplify the tasks needed for shareholder communications – perhaps lessening the tactical communications burden so issuers can focus on strategy. Having the right tool does matter.

One observation: a very small percentage of sell-side analysts (and zero buy-side) came to the NIRI seminar. Anecdotally the industry “buzz” has been that the demise of the sell-side has pushed those ex-Wall Street folks into IR, but this survey does not support that. It could be that the analysts don’t feel they require “IR training” and don’t join NIRI. This may change as NIRI expands to create a IR certification program.

NIRIfund-westYEARS

These results support the more traditional view of IR being a medley of pasts.

Have a great day – and book YOUR trip for NIRI’s Annual Conference, Chicago, June 11 – 15, 2015.

Who are the next Investor Relations Officers? (…and a final #selfie w/ Jeff Morgan)

125 attendees are gathered in Boston this week for The National Investor Relations Institute’s (NIRI) Fundamentals of Investor Relations Seminar. This 3.5 day seminar is NIRI’s “IR 101” – and in addition to North America, the “students” (and current clients) fly in from across the globe: Brazil, Egypt, Iceland, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Palestine, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Between the formal sessions, coffee refueling and our sales demonstrations (to thunderous applause), we conducted an attendee study to learn exactly how this Freshman Class of IROs is built.

Where did you come from?

ROLE

Are you a new hire or an internal change?   

years

There are no grand conclusions here, other than IR is predominantly a financial role – and many of the sessions have a heavier focus on the communications aspects of the IR role. That’s probably an easier path than trying to teach a marketing guy about GAAP reconciliation.

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It’s also important to take a pause here and wish Jeff Morgan, NIRI’s exiting CEO, a sincere and fond farewell. Jeff became the CEO of NIRI in 2007 and immediately sculpted a business environment that takes expert care of IR practitioners and service providers alike. As Jeff said, “we’re all NIRI members.”

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Break a leg, Jeff!

What is content marketing? Why, it’s merely investor relations for products and brands.

This week, 2,500 very passionate content marketers have descended on Cleveland to attend Content Marketing World. We’re a huge proponent.

How pundits define content marketing: transparent storytelling for products and brands. However, rather than telling those stories through traditional media and paid channels like “advertising,” companies own their own…

“…media channels and create passionate subscribers to the brand. To do this effectively, we need to create valuable, impactful and compelling content on a consistent basis…”

~ Joe Pulzzi, CEO, Content Marketing Institute

“Valuable, impactful and compelling content.” Or as we say in the IR space… material disclosure.

Click here to download our exclusive study sourced from 40,000 responses.

Click here to download our exclusive study sourced from 40,000 responses.

Investor relations departments are the quintessential content marketers– specifically because they cannot embellish from the facts at all. They cannot buy ads promising any benefit. What IR does is tell their corporate story by offering an engaging mosaic of facts (past performance), introduce the drivers (senior management) and then continue to publish relevant content via landing pages (IR website), webinars (earnings calls), infographics (stock charts) and multimedia events (virtual investor conferences).

This constant nurture cultivates trust with the prospect (called the “investor”) and well as current clients (called “shareholders”)

One essential aspect of content marketing is communicating what the targeted audience deems important to entice them to engage more. What is relevant to your investors?  Read our ongoing study “How Investor Consume Investor Relations” sourced from over 40,000 responses from both individual and institutional investors.

Download it now.

Have a great day.

What to consider for mobile communications to investors

In the new book, The Mobile Mind Shift: Engineer Your Business to Win in the Mobile Moment (Ted Schadler, Josh Bernoff, Julie Ask), much of the book’s premise speaks of The Mobile Moment. The Mobile Moment is “the instant in which your customer is seeking an answer.”

The book gives clear examples, air travel being an obvious one: book my flight, check my flight, delay alerts about my flight, bar code my boarding pass and so on. Certainly, urgency and immediacy are germane for the travel customer.

But what about mobile for investor relations? What is “the instant in which your [investor] is seeking an answer?” Hopefully, your shareholder communications moments are NOT driven by urgency and immediacy (crisis communications), but by a moment of convenience.

CouchApp

“I want to view $XYZ’s investor PPT on my train commute into the office. I want to review $XYZ’s recent 10-K in Starbucks. I want to listen to the $XYZ’s earnings call on my couch. In my underwear.” Urgent, not. Immediate, perhaps. Convenient, absolutely.

Remember – no one is trading off an IR website, mobile or desk browser. Investors don’t visit your IR website for real-time quotes. Investors visit your IR website for careful due diligence research – as clearly reported in our “How Investors Consume Investor Relations Content” study. They may not be trading at that Mobile Moment, but they are making decisions.

To guide executives to create a mobile strategy, The Mobile Mind Shift’s authors recommend three concepts to define a mobile offering:

  • Intensity: whether it is appropriate to connect with customers on mobile.
  • Expectation: the level of urgency to build a mobile site.
  • Behavior: the features customers are ready for.

These are the drivers that you need to discuss within your department. Understandably, as a shareholder communications service provider, we’ve already walked this path for you. Our IR Rooms have two Mobile Moment Matchmakers: responsive design and theIRapp. Offering both assure that regardless of their behavior, you address both the intensity and expectation of each individual (professional or retail) investor.

Have a great day.

Dōmo arigatō, Mr. (AP earnings reporter) Roboto

The Associated Press (AP) announced that they will be expanding their quarterly earning reporting from 300 companies to 4,400 companies by automating this banal and non-investigative journalism with “robots.”

AP_robot


From the AP:

For many years, we have been spending a lot of time crunching numbers and rewriting information from companies to publish approximately 300 earnings reports each quarter. We discovered that automation technology, from a company called Automated Insights, paired with data from Zacks Investment Research, would allow us to automate short stories – 150 to 300 words — about the earnings of companies in roughly the same time that it took our reporters.

Instead, our journalists will focus on reporting and writing stories about what the numbers mean and what gets said in earnings calls on the day of the release, identifying trends and finding exclusive stories we can publish at the time of the earnings reports.

What this means for issuers:

  • Expanded distribution from the AP: AP earnings articles are a formulaic synopsis of your formal earnings announcement. “Mr. Roboto” doubles your earnings’ content marketing towards investors, analysts and financial journalists who get feeds from the AP. In essence, the AP is treating your earnings as data rather than news.
  • Journalists more focused on stories: This is especially important for Emerging Growth and Small-cap companies. Many of these companies are Story Stocks, as their numbers are not so great (yet). The Human Journalists may have more availability and curiosity now for underdog and under-the-radar stocks. You could experience better ROI for your outreach efforts to the appropriate AP journalists. Get your story polished. 
  • What’s good for the goose is good for the gander: Issuers should have no fear of newsflow automation. Automate all banal distribution tasks. Here is a briefing on how you can automate your newsflow into Twitter and Stocktwits.

NOTE: The AP is not the only capital markets “reporting” organization to use robots. Resistance is futile.

Have a great day.

A brief “What Does CASL Mean for IR” blog post that does not constitute legal advice what-so-ever ipso facto

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL – pronounced “Castle”) goes into effect today, July 1, 2014. If you are in Canada or send electronic communications (email, IMs, Twitter direct messages) to Canadians, you’ll need to comply.

What does this mean for IR departments? Most likely, not a heck of a lot – especially if you have a commercially managed IR website (like our IR Room). You are already following the US CAN-SPAM guidelines by default.

Your email / opt-in procedure should already include:

  • The name of your organization and a description of the types of opt-in messages subscribers can expect to receive. For IR, this is your email alert opt-in system built within you IR site i.e. “I would like to receive a daily closing stock price.”
  • A statement informing individuals that they may withdraw (opt-out) their consent i.e “You can unsubscribe at any time.”
  • A functioning unsubscribe mechanism.
  • The mailing address and one of either a phone number/web address/email address of your organization.

That said, why is CASL being called the toughest SPAM law on the planet?

CASLThe difference between the US spam laws and Canada’s is actually deceiving simple.

In the US, it is opt-out legislation: you can (more or less) email contacts without legal retribution as long as you do not continue to email them AFTER they have unsubscribed. A “beg forgiveness rather than ask permission” model.

CASL is the opposite. It’s opt-in legislation: you cannot (commercially) email anyone without their appropriate consent BEFORE you hit the send button.

A simple example: you recently presented at an investor conference and the host organization gave you a contact list of all attendees. Your earnings call is next week and you would like to invite this group to the listen to the call. You may email the US-based contacts. The recipients may personally view your email as junk and alert “the internet” you are spam and get your email domain blacklisted (which is a drag), but that’s about it. However, if there are Canadian firms on the contact list, without documented express permission to email them - they have a binding legal right to ruin your day.

If you commit a violation under any of sections 6 to 9 of CASL, then you can be slapped with a steep administrative monetary penalty (AMP). The maximum amount of an AMP, per violation, for an individual is $1 million, and for a business, $10 million. Directors, officers and agents of a corporation can be liable too.

Fortunately, there is a three-year transition period, until July 1, 2017, to help companies adopt these new regulations. If you have more questions about CASL, contact an REAL CASL attorney who is familiar with this issue.

Realistically, the lionshare of IR departments will not have any trouble with CASL, as the technical opt-in process does mirror US CAN-SPAM. The trouble-spots will be around bulk uploading and emailing to new contact lists. You will need to be thoughtful about emailing contacts (in mass) from a IR targeting program.

Overall, the communications behavior of IR departments created no issues with the US CAN-SPAM Act, so the same professional IR work patterns should apply with CASL.

Emerging Growth and small-cap companies need to be a very aware to what their IR firms are doing on their behalf (coughcoughstockpromotioncough). Liability will trickle to all involved.

Bottomline, just don’t send “blast emails” to non-opt-in Canadian contacts. Official FAQs here: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com500/faq500.htm

Have a great day.