SOURCE: Marketwire

Marketwire

March 26, 2009 08:59 ET

Marketwire Partners With IR Magazine at 4th West Coast Think Tank; IROs Discuss Market Trends, Best Practices

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - March 26, 2009) - For the fourth year in a row, Marketwire sponsored IR magazine's West Coast Think Tank. This year, more than 50 senior-level investor relations officers (IROs) gathered on March 19 in Palo Alto to discuss trends in corporate governance, shifting sell-side and buy-side attitudes, and regulatory risk. The invitation-only event also gave leading investor relations professionals an opportunity to offer guidance and share best practices during Marketwire's "Investor Relations Ask the Expert" segment in which they discussed strategies for investor communications and new media/online communication and offered advice for the new IRO.

Think Tank Highlights / Key Facts

Several important predictions surfaced during a discussion on disclosure:

  • It's anticipated, due to the new administration, that judges will pay greater attention to shareholder lawsuits
  • The SEC will be much tougher on those companies that don't provide proper guidance and violate disclosure
  • The combination of the new administration, the Madoff scam and other similar scandals, and the bad economy will likely create a stricter regulatory environment focused more on "protecting the little guy"
  • IROs/executive teams need to be even more mindful of conversations and meetings with the Street
  • Companies need to be more careful providing guidance and focus on annual, rather than quarterly guidance

Changes on the sell-side are impacting the quality and quantity of research and coverage:

  • Fewer analysts are covering more companies, and as a result, may not be spending as much time as necessary to learn about those companies
  • Sell-side influence on road shows and executive presentations is waning
  • IROs are now more careful with whom their executives speak, and in what format
  • Smaller companies are losing sell-side analyst coverage

A discussion on regulation risk focused on the SEC's rules agenda and proxy season hurdles:

  • eProxy is becoming much more common
  • Annual reports are often being condensed to the 10K and the proxy with a cover page; no more flashy graphics and full-color information
  • Many companies, facing potential shareholder activism, are more mindful of board composition and timing

The buy-side landscape is evolving:

  • Hedge fund assets under management have shrunk dramatically in the past couple years
  • Investors are much slower to pull the trigger and take a position in a stock -- in some cases months after initially contacting a company
  • Due to the economic climate, investors are having a hard time qualifying investments in terms of their portfolio requirements

"Investor Relations Ask the Expert" Quotes

Marketwire asked participants at IR magazine's West Coast Think Tank 2009 to offer their opinions on general business issues impacting the investor relations officer:

Steve Austenfeld, vice president, investor relations, The Clorox Company offered advice to the new IRO:

  • "Have a number of different sources you can go to -- that's foremost to staying close to the market activity at all times. There's a proliferation of websites -- evaluate and follow online sources. Have a few key partners on the Street -- buy-side or sell-side -- whose guidance and insight you trust. They have contacts back to trading desks so you can find out what may be moving your stock. Lastly, build contacts with IROs at peer companies whose stock may be affected by the same news flowing on that particular day as is your stock."

Robert Durstenfeld, senior director, corporate marketing (IR, PR, brand), RAE Systems emphasized the importance of integrating the IR function with other areas of the company:

  • "Today, investor relations has to be integrated with public relations... there has to be an integrated communication strategy so the IR and PR and product messaging is all one. That's done when you've got PR management cognizant of what IR has to do... that understands the regulations and the regulatory reporting... and IR is supportive of the rest of the business. You have to integrate all of that."

Lisa M. Chiorello, investor relations manager, Juniper Networks shared one of her organization's best communication practices:

  • "We proactively reach out to our shareholders and the sell side community, so we feel we have a pretty good understanding of what the Street is looking for and what their questions are going to be on the call. Through our outreach we reconfirm that what we plan to address on the call fits their needs, and by doing that we try to keep balance while addressing the key three items we want the street to walk away with beyond just the regular numbers and guidance."

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 20 offices on four continents. For more information, visit us at www.marketwire.com.

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