Is an investor relations website required by the SEC?

There is no SEC regulation that requires a public company to have an investor relations micro-site (IR website) however most all issuers have an IR website and savvy investors expect to find one. The Shareholder Confidence 365 study reports that 70% of investors said they would not invest in a company that does not have an IR website.

What is required:

SHOPCARTSarbanes-Oxley requires that issuers post Section 16 (forms 3, 3/A, 4, 4/A, 5, 5/A ~ insider trades) to their IR website or corporate website by the end of the next business day. Section 16 files must be sortable from other SEC files. Companies can link off to the website for this sub-set, however IR Room fundamentals direct that this not done as it interrupts the investor’s experience.

Sarbanes-Oxley also requires specific corporate governance documents be accessible to investors on an issuers’ IR website or corporate website. IR Room Fundamentals direct a well-defined “corporate governance sub-section” for these disclosures: audit committee charter, compensation committee charter, code of conduct, code of ethics and the identification of the audit committee’s financial expert.

Regulation G of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act defines disclosure rules regarding GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and non-GAAP financials. The regulation specifies that companies reconcile the non-GAAP financial measure to the most directly comparable GAAP measure in SEC files, press releases as well as audio (webcast) recordings on your IR website. The disclosure must also include the reasons why the non-GAAP information is useful to investors.

The SEC’s Notice of the Annual Meeting and Availability of the Annual Report and Proxy Materials (Notice & Access) requires that issuers post proxy and supporting materials – letter to shareholders, annual report and annual shareholder meeting invitation – on their IR website or corporate website. Issuers cannot link off to the website and the proxy materials must be posted “in a manner that does not infringe on the anonymity of a person” – which means no personal-data based cookies. IR Room Fundamentals direct that the investor relations website clearly guides a shareowner to the appropriate proxy voting portal, depending on their status as a Registered Shareholder or Beneficial Shareholder.

And finally, all issuers must post their 10-K and 10-Q XBRL files and accompanying instance documents to their IR website or corporate website. Issuers cannot link off to the website for this.

IR Room fundamentals view a well-managed investor relations website to be balance of corporate transparency and brand marketing. 

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