Category Archives: Investor relations

6 questions answered regarding setting up your IR function (Post-IPO)

IMAGE_for-PR_darrow3As part of our ongoing six-part webinar / podcast series, we offering these “collateral questions” to review. To listen to the actual webinars – or download the podcast files – please CLICK HERE to learn from our subject matter expert Bernie Kilkelly. 

Q: What changes should you expect after going public? 

Going public is one of the crowning achievements for a company and since a tremendous amount of work goes into preparing for the IPO, including a demanding road show, it would be natural to think that you’ve reached the finish line and are ready to take a rest.  In reality, the IPO is just the start of the ultra-marathon that is the life of a public company, and it is critically important to plan ahead of time and prepare for the post-IPO period.  Ideally, the investor relations function should be staffed either with an internal investor relations officer or outsourced by working with a trusted IR firm.

There should be set policies and procedures in place to designate appropriate spokespeople for the company, with the internal IRO or a senior person from your external firm serving as the key spokesperson.  While the CEO and CFO should be available and accessible when needed, it is not advisable for them to serve as the primary point of contact for analysts and investors, since they have many other responsibilities and demands on their time.   

How should you prepare your entire company for the post-IPO period, especially with regards to disclosure requirements like Reg FD? 

It is critical to have a disclosure policy in place before the IPO and this policy should be updated after the IPO to reflect the new requirements that the company faces.  In particular, the policy should spell out in detail the executives who are permitted to speak to analysts, investors and the media, and the procedures that other executives should follow if they are contacted by an analyst, investor or the media.  The designated spokespeople should of course have a full understanding of Reg FD and should be equipped with talking points and a list of potential questions and scripted answers to use when talking with or meeting with analysts and investors.  For media interviews, it is especially important to be aware of periods before and after the IPO where the company is prohibited from discussing the offering.

After the IPO, the company’s disclosure policy should include a quiet period to limit communications with analysts and investors during the time after the quarter closes and prior to the release of earnings.  This quiet period is critical to avoid inadvertent violations of Reg FD disclosure regulations.  According to a NIRI survey released in February, 85% of public companies have a quiet period before the release of earnings.  The company should also put in place a blackout period during which employees and directors are restricted from trading the company’s shares after the close of the quarter and through the release of earnings.  According to NIRI, 99% of companies have trading blackouts.

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email_bkBernie Kilkelly is a senior investor relations practitioner with over 25 years of experience in designing and running successful IR programs to help companies build shareholder value. His background includes serving as head of investor relations for three public companies in the financial services sector, including Delphi Financial Group, Inc. from 2001 until its acquisition in 2012 by Tokio Marine Group at a 76% premium to its stock price. In addition to serving as a corporate investor relations officer, Mr. Kilkelly has worked at leading investor relations and financial/public relations agencies in New York, including Morgen-Walke Associates, Makovsky & Co. and Robinson Lerer & Montgomery. Mr. Kilkelly is a recognized leader in the investor relations community and has served as a director of the New York Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) since 2007. He was NIRI-NY Chapter President in 2012 and is currently serving as Vice President-Communications, responsible for the chapter’s website, newsletter and social media.

Connect with Bernie in LinkedIn here.

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What should be the role of the CEO and CFO in the IR program after the IPO?

Senior management of the company, in particular the CEO and CFO, are the face of the company during its IPO road show.  This is always the case for a small cap company and even more so when the CEO is a founder of the company.  Once the IPO is completed, it is important for senior management to transition away from the day to day contact for analysts and investors, most importantly so they can focus on running the company.  The CEO and CFO should participate in investor conferences, non-deal roadshows and 1-on-1 meetings with key analysts and investors, but as much as possible the targeting and introductory conversations regarding the company should be handled by the designated IR point person.

What are the most critical elements of an IR program after the IPO? 

Once the IPO is done it is crucial for a newly public company to maintain strong relationships with your new shareholders and have an active program in place to target and attract new shareholders. The company will want to participate in appropriate investor conferences and do non-deal roadshows to get out and meet with current shareholders and investor prospects.  There is a 25 day quiet period after the completion of the IPO and while management may be eager to get out and meet with new shareholders and prospects, it is not necessary to do meetings immediately after the end of this period unless you have something interesting to talk about that wasn’t discussed on the IPO road show.

This will also enable the company to spend more time preparing for the important first quarterly earnings release and conference call after the IPO.  It is also crucial to have a robust investor relations website that is continually updated as new materials become available.

What are the pros and cons of having an internal IRO vs. outsourcing with an IR firm? 

The investor relations function is critical to making sure that the company understands what analysts and investors are thinking and to manage expectations around earnings and other metrics.  For many smaller companies, budget considerations make it more difficult to hire a senior executive to handle these responsibilities in-house.  [We are a little biased, of course, but] An attractive alternative is to outsource some or all of these activities by working with a trusted investor relations agency.  Agencies have established contacts in the institutional investor community and with retail investor channels that will help in your investor targeting efforts.  The agency will also have experience in helping companies prepare for investor conferences and putting together non-deal roadshows.

An outside agency will provide objectivity that is sometimes difficult for an internal staffer to have.  It will also enable you to have the expertise of a senior person for considerably less than the cost of a full-time senior IRO.

What should the newly public company look for in selecting an IR firm? 

One of the key factors in selecting an IR firm is to look at the amount of senior executive time that will be spent on your account.  A larger agency will often assign a team to your account that includes junior staffers, who may be bright and eager but are nevertheless lacking in experience.  It is critical when selecting an agency to find out who will be handling your account and how much access you will have to senior experienced staff.  Smaller boutique agencies are also able to provide deep expertise in targeted industries.

How small-cap companies can think BIG: webinar session one

Our new webinar series was, pleasingly, a great success. Dozens of people joined us to listen to session one: How to set-up and manage the IR function. You can listen to the replay here, now.

In addition to listening online, as this is an audio- only session – you can download the MP3 file to listen offline at anytime.

Focused on first-hand “how-to” advice expertly structured for small and micro-cap companies, this six-part series walks listeners through the steps needed to transparently and effectively communicate with current shareholders and prospective investors. The cadence of the series is casual, delivered succinctly and in plain English.

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The webinars, and archived podcasts, are moderated by Bradley H. Smith, PR Newswire/Vintage’s director of marketing, and features the investor relations expertise of Jordan Darrow and Bernie Kilkelly of New York-based investor relations firm Darrow Associates.

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Future sessions: it is suggested to pre-register.  Importantly, this will sign you up for email reminders.

Session 2: 
How to compose your first quarterly earnings release and SEC filing
DATE: May 14, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1GSEumL
LENGTH: 30 minutes

Session 3: 
How to host your first earnings call      

DATE: June 4, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1CCQupy
LENGTH: 30 minutes

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Session 4:
How to build your IR website  
DATE: July 14, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1FkYfiz
LENGTH: 30 minutes

Session 5:
How to target and reach investors

DATE: August 11, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1Cf3I9F
LENGTH: 30 minutes

Session 6
How to present and network at an investor conferences      

DATE: September 15, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1N8LQYn
LENGTH: 30 minutes

Two glass-half-full investor relations lessons from the Twitter early release

Needless to say, yesterday was a bad day for Twitter – and for those of us within the shareholder communications business with empathy. Here is the YAHOO! write-up on the drama. As you’ll read in the Yahoo! article, Twitter is not the first casualty of this type of error.

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Two points:

  • Instead of preemptively issuing your IR website provider a copy of your earnings release for manual set-up and “go live,” enable your IR website to AUTOMATICALLY receive and release material news directly from your newswire provider. This automation prevents the pre-staged “a la’ carte” HTML earnings release webpage from either being hacked or mistakenly taken live.

Automation marks your official newswire powered news release as the core dissemination point for market moving news. Everything else is fed from that: IR site, email alerts, Twitter, StockTwits, RSS, etc. One and done and as simultaneous as the internet can be. Here is a whitepaper that discusses Twitter, StockTwits and your newsflow.

Today, in the IR-product environment, all the IR website vendors have offered news release auto-posting for several years (our IR website solution is called IR Room). It’s not difficult to enable, but it does require configuration and QA testing. Please don’t try to knee-jerk automation in for this quarter.

  • IR departments need to use this as another indication of the strength of social media. It’s unfortunate that it’s a missed expectations example.

Cynically, we could huff this away as another “bad news travels fast in social media” scenario – however, in this case, it is important to understand that (for their marketing purposes I assume) Twitter does not use a newswire – all their material news is sent and $CASHTAGGED via their own network.

Their investor audience was trained, primed and ready to react from any news in their Twitter stream. And react they did. Like it or not, investors are using social media.

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Again, here is a whitepaper that discusses Twitter, StockTwits and your newsflow.

Feel free to dismiss the points above as being newswire biased. The automation feature will prevent this type of error.

Best wishes for a glitch-free earnings season!

Check with counsel that your company won’t .SUCK(S)

Investor relations officers may want to double-check with their I.T. department and General Counsel to assure that your company won’t .suck(s)

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Briefly, a new internet domain suffix – .sucks – will be available and, along with .porn and .XXX suffixes, the general public can buy them.

The .sucks domain is being marketed as a “consumer advocate’s extension.” A philanthropic example will be “www.cancer.sucks.” But if you have EVER read a comment section on any blog post, you know exactly what is going to happen. Haters gonna hate… and haters gonna buy your http://www.brand.sucks. Who knows, maybe even your crafty competitors will buy your http://www.brand.sucks URL from under you.

Now is the time to check with your general counsel. Ask if they think whether your organization should proactively register any of these new suffixes to mitigate potential embarrassment, harassment and crisis.

CLICK HERE for a detailed legal overview PDF.

If I am reading the PDF correctly, April and May are a “sunrise” time period – when authorized brands can .sucks up their own suffixes. After June 1, we can all .sucks it.

Um. That sound awkward. Just go talk to counsel!

Webinar Series for OTC Markets and Nasdaq Capital Markets Listed Companies: “How-to” Instructions for Becoming a Great Public Company

What you must know BEFORE and AFTER your IPO” will deliver tactical investor relations guidance for emerging growth companies

NEW YORK, April 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Vintage, the capital markets, corporate services and institutional & fund services division of PR Newswire, is pleased to invite CEOs, CFOs, investor relations departments and senior executives at entrepreneurial start-up organizations and emerging growth companies to attend this new educational webinar series: “What you must know BEFORE and AFTER your IPO.”

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With first-hand “how-to” advice expertly structured for small and micro-cap companies, this six-part series will walk listeners through the steps needed to transparently and effectively communicate with current shareholders and prospective investors. The cadence of the series will be casual, delivered succinctly and in plain English.

The webinars, and archived podcasts, are moderated by Bradley H. Smith, PR Newswire/Vintage’s director of marketing, and features the investor relations expertise of Jordan Darrow and Bernie Kilkelly of New York-based investor relations firm Darrow Associates.

Pre-registration is recommended to save time on event day. There is no fee to attend and there will be a live Q&A session.

What you must know BEFORE and AFTER your IPO 

Session 1:
How to set-up and manage the IR function

DATE: April 14, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
REGISTER NOW: http://prn.to/1xKcrUu
LENGTH: 30 minutes 

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Session 2:
How to compose your first quarterly earnings release and SEC filing  
DATE: May 14, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1GSEumL
LENGTH: 30 minutes


Session 3:
How to host your first earnings call     

DATE: June 4, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1CCQupy
LENGTH: 30 minutes


Session 4:
How to build your IR website 

DATE: July 14, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1FkYfiz
LENGTH: 30 minutes


Session 5:
How to target and reach investors

DATE: August 11, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1Cf3I9F
LENGTH: 30 minutes


Session 6:
How to present and network at an investor conferences     

DATE: September 15, 2015
TIME: 2:00 PM ET
PRE- REGISTRATION: http://prn.to/1N8LQYn
LENGTH: 30 minutes


“This six-part series will not be presenting any investor relations ‘best-practices.’ We’ll be delivering the investor relations ‘must-practices,” said Smith. “As they become a publicly traded organization, emerging growth companies have unique challenges, especially as they work to present themselves to new shareholders at par with large and mega-cap issuers. Darrow Associates has distilled these ‘must-practices,’ into a short, concise task list.”

After the live session, the webinars will be available for 24/7 listening by online streaming and as a downloaded audio podcast.

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About Vintage:

Vintage, a PR Newswire division, is a top-three provider of full-service regulatory compliance and shareholder communications services, delivered across our three practice areas: Capital Markets, Corporate Services and Institutional & Fund Services. Founded in 2002 and acquired by PR Newswire in 2007, Vintage has evolved to become the industry’s intelligent value choice. We deliver a flexible balance of people, facilities and technology to ensure that regulatory compliance and shareholder communications processes are efficient, transparent and painless. Services include IPO registrations, transactions, virtual data rooms, EDGAR & XBRL filing, typesetting, financial printing and investor relations websites. www.thevintagegroup.com 

ABOUT Darrow Associates

Darrow Associates is an investor relations and financial communications firm with offices in Melville, New York, New York City, Austin, and Silicon Valley. The Darrow Associates team of professionals brings more than 120 years of combined investor relations and Wall Street experience across a range of market sectors and market-caps to its client base of nearly 20 companies. Darrow Associates’ professionals have significant experience in partnering with public and pre-IPO companies in the technology, telecommunications, media, business services, alternative energy, clean technology, healthcare, financial services, industrial, and aerospace and defense industries.  Additional information is available at www.darrowir.com.

Media Contact:

Bradley H. Smith
Director of Marketing, IR and Compliance Services
PR Newswire & Vintage
+1 201.942.7157
bradley.smith@prnewswire.com

Mark Cuban calls Twitter the new PR Newswire – now that’s a shark (sound) byte!

It’s always rewarding when a major influencer mentions your brand to millions of people – and that’s exactly what happened this weekend when notable “shark” Mark Cuban was interviewed on CNBC.

Apples&Oranges

 

Speaking about Twitter, Cuban said that…

“…it’s become the new PR Newswire, where it’s more bullhorn than social network…” “that bullhorn is very valuable…” “the best search engine, bar none, to get current information.”

He’s right about identifying PR Newswire as the de rigueur brand (yay!) for material news and content distribution for companies, but his Twitter’s “become the new PR Newswire” simile is rather apples and oranges. Fortunately, these two fruits are not mutually exclusive of one another: you can – and should – enjoy both.

What this means investor relations:

IR’s take-away from Cuban’s comment is his description that Twitter is more bullhorn than social network.” This follows exactly the counsel we continually give shareholder communicators.

Three links for IR practitioners:

Download the the whitepaper above. It offers a clean “how-to” get started without risk or burden.

Have a great day.

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.