SOURCE: Marketwire

June 12, 2008 19:03 ET

Marketwire Joins With Cisco Systems, AMD, FD Ashton Partners, and Atlantic Equities in Offering Insight Into Best Investor Relations Practices

NIRI Annual Conference Seminars Speak to Communication Demands on IR Professionals: Leveraging New Media, Managing Market Volatility, Meeting New Disclosure Requirements, and Navigating Evolving Automated Trading Trends

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - June 12, 2008) - Marketwire, Inc., a full-service newswire and communications workflow solutions provider, joined with Cisco Systems, AMD, FD Ashton Partners, and Atlantic Equities in offering insight into the best practices of Investor Relations. Via two Marketwire-hosted seminars at the National Investor Relations Institute's Annual Conference in San Diego, Calif. on Tuesday, June 10, Marketwire spearheaded discussions to help investor relations professionals learn more about navigating today's rapidly evolving and complex trading environments as well as maximizing new media to more effectively communicate to shareholders and analysts.

With nearly 200 investor relations and communications professionals attending, the seminars allowed the panelists to share best practices and offered new strategies for balancing risk and opportunity on a number of different and important fronts in investor relations:


Seminar Details

  • June 10, 12:30 - 1:30 pm: "Traditional vs. New Media"

    • Moderator: Darin Wolter, Senior Vice President, Sales - Western Region, Marketwire
    • Panelists:

      • Ruth Cotter, Director of Investor Relations, Advanced Micro Devices;
      • Marilyn Mora, Manager of Investor Relations, Cisco Systems
  • June 10, 2:00 - 3:15 pm: "Demystifying Trading Strategies and Trends"

    • Moderator: Michael Nowlan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marketwire
    • Panelists:

      • Bryan Armstrong, Executive Vice President, FD Ashton Partners;
      • Rupert Della-Porta, Chief Operating Officer, Atlantic Equities LLP

Highlights / Key Facts

  • Regulatory changes impacting today's trading environment include Reg NMS, its European counterpart MiFID, the repeal of the "uptick rule," and recent XBRL pronouncements, all contributing to the growth of automated and computerized trading systems:
  • Fragmented capital markets are driving a proliferation of off-exchange trading venues such as Alternative Trading Systems (ATS) and Electronic Crossing Networks (ECNs) that are natural venues for algorithmic trading.
  • Market participants have changed, with hedge funds spurring the initial growth in automated trading as institutional traders seek to avoid the market impact of moving large blocks of shares.
  • Dark pools - trading volume created from institutional orders that are not available to the public - are attracting higher market share, which currently stands at between 5 to 7 percent of the market.
  • Investor relations professionals can reach increasingly larger number of “invisible” shareholders and analysts through:
    • Press releases and other market information can be fed into the new generation of algorithms.
    • By strategically ordering the sequence and timing of press release dissemination, a steady stream of news eliminates information voids that create uncertainty and fuel speculative trading.

  • The number of public companies using blogs to disclose company performance is increasing:
    • Currently, 58 Fortune 500 companies maintain a blog on their websites, a number that has doubled from 24 a year ago. Next year that number is expected to triple or quadruple.
    • Marketwire conducted an IR Blog Insights Survey at last year's NIRI that showed 26% of investor relations attendees strongly supported satisfying Reg FD through a blog or corporate website; four percent strongly opposed it, while 37% neither supported nor opposed the idea.
    • Examples of companies that discuss company performance on a blog include Dell Computers' Direct2Dell, Whole Foods president John Mackey on his blog The CEO's Blog - John Mackey, and Sun Microsystems' CEO Jonathan Schwartz on his blog Jonathan's Blog.

Quote from Michael Nowlan, President and Chief Executive Officer, Marketwire

  • "Within automated trading there's an evolution occurring. Execution and order-handling algorithms and computerized trading have been around for a long time. These keep getting refined - changing and picking up in volume, etc., partially spurred on by institutional investors. What we are seeing now is the evolution of alpha-generation trading, which is really real-time consumption of information, whether that be of business releases or other market information. This is leading to real-time trading strategies that are being created and executed by these machines, and it's picking up in speed. It's still in its very early days, but it's going to have a profound impact on [IRO] communication and the style of communication."

Quote from Rupert Della-Porta, Chief Operating Officer, Atlantic Equities LLP

  • "What do dark pools mean - and should we be worried? Most hedge funds, I believe, are agnostic about your corporate strategy, and their investment decision is divorced from the fundamentals. Some though - and I would say those are going to be growing in assets and influence - do care, and they can be terrific shareholders, if somewhat demanding. I would recommend, then, that investor relations professionals decide what is noise and what is not, and focus their time accordingly. That is what I have to do as an investor, and I think it is a hopeful approach. In my view, the background noise is only going to get louder with ETFs, off-exchange trading and dark pools as they all become larger. This, I think, should leave more time for investor relations to address those who invest on opinion and fundamentals."

Quotes from Bryan Armstrong, Executive Vice President, FD Ashton Partners

  • “Any time you can shore up information voids in terms of your story or for the industry, you can certainly mitigate some of the quick trades and the momentum styles that are influencing the stock. You could sequence press releases and make sure there aren't dead periods during the calendar year. And you could integrate the broader strategic messages into product or customer releases that can help turn investors’ attention to the longer- term story.”
  • “How you talk about your story… what you say… in the written, verbal and non-verbal context… projects a certain level of confidence in your story that investors pay particular attention to. Body language and tone of delivery are as important as what is said. This presents several important risks when dealing with momentum, short-term traders. Management teams should be aware that casual conversations are not off limits for investors.”

Quote from Darin Wolter, Senior Vice President, Sales - West, Marketwire

  • "Brian Solis has a statement on his blog that says 'if someone blogs about your company and you're not there to read or comment on it, did it really happen?' That's the old existential question, and the fact of the matter is, 'yes,' it absolutely did. The point that Brian likes to make is, whether your realize it or not, and whether you are in technology or whether you manufacture rope, people are talking about your company whether you're there to engage them or not. So one of the things we want to talk about is monitoring third party blogs."

Quotes from Ruth Cotter, Director of Investor Relations, Advanced Micro Devices

  • "Gone are the days of the corporation telling its story in a blogging community. It's now about sharing information with bloggers - moving into the world of conversations and exchanges. And you better like it."
  • "A dedicated person in our communications group focuses on bloggers in general, embracing the community and providing specific events for them. We do live video webcasts specifically tailored to the blogging community, with interactive Q&A sessions that they very much like. We've tried to push our information and share as much as we can with third-party bloggers. We have found that it has really helped us in terms of disseminating information very quickly."
  • On using social media elements other than blogs: "By using tagging through services such as Marketwire, you can tailor your releases to specific areas as they cross the wires and target very specific audiences. It's not just a blast across the world anymore. We really look at the tailoring to get the bang for our buck in terms of our particular message. And try and refine our website to make it more interactive in a way that the user can use."

Quotes from Marilyn Mora, Manager of Investor Relations, Cisco Systems

  • On blogging and social media: "It drives, we think, conversations and productivity, as a lot of social media and blogging tools do because you may get a question or lots of questions on one topic and it's an easy way to point investors to a particular page where they can get the download. And it saves you time so you can put your resources elsewhere."
  • “At Cisco, I'd say about one-quarter of all our blogging consists of video blogs. We find that this lends itself well to being authentic and real for an audience. We do podcasts, and those are quite beneficial as well.
  • "Cisco is very focused on an interactive website that pushes out lots of audio and video beyond our earning announcements and analyst day events. We regularly host an educational series for our investors on a variety of topics. We're also looking at virtual worlds such as Second Life, but the question remains how to leverage the message and promote what it is our company is doing on all levels from a sales perspective to a sustainability and environmental aspect. Our future plans around blogging are to look at ‘micro blogging’ or ‘twittering” to further enhance our communications.”

Resources

"Traditional vs. New Media"

"Demystifying Trading Strategies and Trends"

To learn more about social media and the investor relations professional, download Marketwire’s guide: “New web trends – social media and SEO” (published in IR Magazine September, 2007).

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 news 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 18 offices on four continents. For more information, visit us at www.marketwire.com.

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