Ask around as to what improvements you could make and you are likely to get the same answer regarding your Investor Relations page, give us more information. Of course, that is easier said than done. Sure you’ve got acres of files and terabytes worth of email, but what can you actually publish? With the current regulatory environment, other legal considerations, competitive issues and trade secrets, not to mention the efforts of the public relations and marketing departments, the information that gets put on the Investor Relations page needs to be carefully chosen and reviewed. So, then, the questions becomes how to get more information on the Investor Relations page in a reasonably quick fashion?
Once good place to start is with the plethora of pre-approved materials that most companies already have available in other formats or locations. For example, many companies provide links to their SEC filings. While this is effective, it is not very user friendly as the SEC website is setup to be a repository with large amounts of data and not to be a user friendly experience. This is fine for analysts and other investment professionals, but what about Main Street investors?
Retail investors want much of the same information that is in a 10-Q filing, without the overhead of all the legally required breakdown. To this end, the Boeing website provides links to the company’s earnings press release and a Financial Presentation for those results.
The press release is often more helpful to retail level investors. Instead of wading through the standard format 10-Q, the investor can jump right into the numbers they find interesting. In addition, this type of release affords the company an opportunity to highlight positive information as well as explaining numbers that may appear troubling at first glance.
Even more user friendly is the Financial Presentation linked from Boeing’s IR page conveying many of the important numbers in graphical format. While hard core investors may snub such information as watered down, providing both the SEC filings and the more accessible items allows the Investor Relations page to service multiple levels of investors.
Since both of these items have been previously vetted through the proper channels for distribution to the public, placing copies on the Investor Relations website provides investors with some of the additional information they clamor for, while placing no extra burden on the approval process.
Other Approved Materials
In addition to publications, a way to view or listen to previously held conference calls can also be a solid method to increase the amount of information available on the Investor Relations page. Both retail investors and professional investors whose other responsibilities don’t allow them to listen to the call live will appreciate the quick and easy access to the replay. Of course, such links and subsequent playbacks require all the same disclosures of the original event, plus another which informs investors that the call is not live. However, such inclusion is relatively easy if the decision to provide such information occurs before the original call. Then, it is simply a matter of saving all the disclaimers and disclosures.
Another useful source of additional investor information are executive presentations to industry groups or trade shows. Technology companies in particular seem to use such events to give the public a taste of where the company is going. Obviously, some events are more tailored to specific audiences than they are the general public, but for those where the presentations have broad appeal, a look at the presentation materials or even a recording of the presentation itself can provide an investor with a look at company strategy. The email at Corporate Eye suggests that many investors are looking for just such a peek at company strategy. These presentations have also generally been approved by the necessary parties, so only minor additional disclosures should be necessary for their inclusion on the Investor Relations page.
The above suggestions can help round out an anemic Investor Relations page, but they are by no means extraordinary. To move toward an outstanding Investor Relations page, look for what your company produces that is unique and fully approved by the legal and compliance departments. Does your company produce a newsletter for circulation among non-licensed professionals? Could such information find its way onto your site? How about non-confidential internal communications or certain press releases? Do any marketing materials or techniques belong on your Investor Relations page? While the Investor Relations page doesn’t sell your company’s products, it does sell your company’s prospects, and those are usually tied pretty closely to its products.
Show a little creativity and let others in your organization know that you would like to see whatever they produce that comes fully vetted. You’ll have to do a little sifting, but the reward could be a stronger Investor Relations page.