SOURCE: Marketwire

November 13, 2008 08:01 ET

Marketwire Continues Partnership With IR Magazine; 6th Annual UK and 4th Annual NY Think Tanks Engage Senior IROs in Best Practices During Economic Downturn

LONDON and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 13, 2008) - Marketwire, a full-service newswire and communications workflow solutions provider, continued its partnership with IR Magazine to present its 6th Annual UK and 4th Annual East Coast (New York) Think Tanks on November 7, 2008. The simultaneous, invitation-only events at London's City Presentation Centre and the New York Stock Exchange provided leading investor relations professionals an opportunity to share experiences, discuss pressing issues affecting the industry, and offer best-practice strategies during an economic downturn. Each event featured a discussion between prominent IR experts and concluded with a room-wide, round-table discussion of the issues at hand. "Ask the Expert" segments during breaks gave participants a chance to offer their opinions on general business issues impacting the investor relations officer.

Print Quotes and Video Clips from "Ask the Expert" Interviews
Marketwire asked participants at both IR Think Tanks to offer their opinions on subjects ranging from investor communications, to new media and online communication strategies, to mentoring tips for the IRO.

  • Cynthia Alers, director of investor relations, The Sage Group gives IROs advice on surviving in a bear market:

    "Very often in a bear market what companies tend to do is...to slash budgets, not go on the road, avoid putting their story out...this is actually the wrong strategy. You do need to be out there presenting your story. In a bear market, analysts and investors are looking for winners and losers, and unless you're out there marketing your company, you'll never be one of the winners."


  • Keith Russell, senior vice president, investor relations, Stora Enso says the most effective, timely investor communications are also the most simple and cost effective:

    "The feedback that we've had from investors is to keep it simple. They want prompt communication, but in a very simple format. It's important that [information] is timely and accessible, and the simple solutions are also often the most cost-effective."


  • Raj Mehan, director of investor relations, Steelcase Inc. describes his strategy on keeping investors informed through proactive IR that goes beyond material news distribution:

    "I think the two go hand-in-hand. You have to use news distribution and see what's in the marketplace as far as what the main issues and topics are. Then you have to have the necessary relationships with all shareholders...not just large, but large, small and medium...and leverage those relationships by calling them and addressing and repeating the key messages of your investor relations strategy."

Video Highlights


Think Tank Highlights / Key Facts

  • In what is considered the worst financial crisis since the great depression, investor relations professionals are inundated with stakeholder phone calls. They must establish trust, provide reassurance and deal with "emotional neediness":


    • Investors, worried about their own survival, are more concerned with how they are going to get rid of their stocks to meet redemption and less concerned about whether they like the stocks in their portfolio.


    • With an anticipated 40-50% of hedge funds disappearing next year, hedge fund traders are trying to find "something/anything" that they can trade on, and that is often intangible.


    • Equity analysts are talking like fixed-income analysts and focusing on liquidity.


    • Pension funds, looking for real returns, are pulling out of equity and debt instruments and investing in non-traditional industries, such as forestry, that provide a steady rate of return.


  • In the last three months, business news has moved from the business section to the front page. The initial reaction of many public companies is to stop communicating when, in fact, silence can breed mistrust, quickly and permanently severing the stakeholder relationships they have worked so hard to build. So today, successful investor relations means frequent and consistent investor relations:


    • To reassure current shareholders and attract new ones, IROs must maintain ongoing and consistent communication with analysts, shareholders and the financial media, since any deviation from normal can lead to short-selling.


    • Disclosure needs to be frequent and transparent -- while this is always true, it is of paramount importance during a bear market.


    • There is an increased focus on crisis communications and providing concerned shareholders access to a single point of contact and a well-prepared management team.


  • IR professionals are altering their communication strategies and tactics to adjust to today's volatile market conditions:


    • Executives on earnings calls often discuss buy-backs in a desperate attempt to show faith in the future of their companies.


    • With a large number of equity incentives now under water, there is greater need for internal, employee education that stresses long-term value.


    • Traditional road shows are being replaced by meetings at corporate offices so investors and analysts witness management consensus on long-term company fundamentals.


    • Paper-based communications -- especially annual reports -- are being replaced by websites and videos, and external services are being consolidated.


    • There is an increased focus on measurable performance to demonstrate that effective IR leads to better stock performance.


  • The investor relations officer has become a strategic management team member, playing a major role in shaping the direction of the company's future strategy:


    • IROs bring the word on the street to the company. They can effectively balance the "financial" relationship with the CFO and the "strategic" relationship with the CEO to provide a complete corporate picture for the investor.


    • To become successful strategic members of their corporations, CFOs and CEOs are increasingly viewing the IRO's role as one that builds and maintains relationships with investors and analysts that drive the companies forward, instead of as a "necessary evil."

Resources

Marketwire offers a variety of services to help IR professionals communicate effectively with their audiences, including the Social Media Plus full-disclosure press release, the Easy IR workflow solution and Dashboard Mobile Financial for news distribution to the financial community. For more information on all of Marketwire's communication and news distribution solutions, please call 800-774-9473.

About IR Magazine and IR Magazine Conferences

Published in New York and London by its parent company, Cross Border, IR magazine is the only global publication focused on the interface between companies and their investors. IR Magazine Conferences provide the worldwide IR audience with a forum for discussion, information and communication. They are an opportunity for IR professionals to educate themselves about new industry services, network with others in the industry, and get practical advice from a wide range of experts. For more information, please visit www.irmagazine.com.

About Marketwire

The only fully integrated North America-based global newswire, Marketwire, Inc. is a full-service partner to IR, PR and MarCom professionals seeking top-tier press release distribution, media management, multimedia and monitoring solutions. Marketwire's customer-centric corporate philosophy focuses on being the best by infusing every aspect of its business with the following core attributes: precision, adaptability, innovation and simplicity.

Marketwire delivers its clients' news to the world's media and financial communities, fulfilling disclosure requirements in North America in compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), and serving as Primary Information Provider (PIP) with the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA). With a reputation for technology leadership, Marketwire offers innovative products and services -- including Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Dashboard Mobile Financial, News Dashboard coverage reports, exclusive access to networks such as the Canadian Press Wire Network, Easy IR and Easy PR workflow solutions, and more -- that help communication professionals maximize their effectiveness while ensuring accuracy and best practices. Having merged companies (Market Wire and CCNMatthews) in April 2006, and enjoying a combined history of 25 years of service, Marketwire is now majority-owned by OMERS Capital Partners, the private equity arm of one of Canada's largest pension funds.

Marketwire distributes the majority of press releases issued by publicly traded companies in Canada and serves more than 8,000 clients worldwide through 19 offices on four continents. For more information, visit us at www.marketwire.com.

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