At the highest level, investor relations is not about disseminating news but more accurately delivering news to a defined – and contractually obligated – set of “customers.” These customers are, of course, investors and the contract is clearly the holding of issuer shares.
When this vocabulary of customers and contracts is used, it is fairly easy to see why the once greatly trumpeted “web disclosure for investor relations” fizzed out. In fact, it was not a topic at the NIRI annual conference this year.
Briefly, web disclosure is the SEC’s 2008 and 2012 guidance that allows issuers to use their corporate websites and/or social media as a Reg FD media. Sounds logical… especially if you are a communications pundit… however, it can be terrible customer service. Rather than placing material news releases within their Street Portal (Bloomberg, FactSet, etc.), web disclosure disrupts this professional workflow – forcing institutional investors and analysts to interact with issuer news ad hoc. That is the exact opposite of what these customers want.
What, me biased? Of course I want you to use a wire service. Preferably ours. To counter this slightly predisposed view, we commissioned a study from industry stalwart Rivel Research. Rivel surveyed 291 Buy-side analysts, worldwide.
74% reported they read / access issuer disseminated news releases within their capital markets Wall Street intelligence portals like Bloomberg, FactSet and Thomson. Place your news where the customer wants it.
It is important to understand that analyst research is a mosaic and the surveyed North American analysts cited more than a single news source: directly from an issuer (39%) and general Yahoo!-ish news portals (14%) – totaling over 100%.
The take-away from this? If the attraction of web disclosure was the need to contain costs, I suggest you merge the strategy of your news distinction in unison as the strategy of the individual news itself… and then speak with your newswire representative – ahem – preferably ours. We have several clients that range from micro to mega-cap, who sculpt an intelligent, targeted high efficacy plan for their shareholder communications – including utilizing web disclosure.
As discussed here, spend where it drives your business to excel.