In my last installment of this series, I wrote about how posting slides of your investor presentations was helpful to investors. This week, I’m addressing a corollary concern: the need for investors to be able to access a history of a company’s financial press releases. Almost every investor relations web site will include a section on press releases. Unfortunately, where the section is and how much history it contains can vary considerably.
Ideally, a link to news releases should show up clearly on the main investor relations page. This should then lead to a page dedicated to the press releases. Some companies choose to have a separate page for the media that contains all press releases, but in my opinion, investors are better served to have at least a link on the main investor relations page. A better approach is to have financial press releases dealing with earnings, dividends and related financial news in a separate area so that investors can find what they need without hunting through new product introduction announcements or the latest news on charity events sponsored by the company.
Next, companies should give thought to how long the press releases should be up on the site. I have seen companies that arbitrarily cut off the press release history after two years, but this is probably too short a time frame. At the very least, companies should keep financial press releases up for five years or the same period of time for which they are also archiving financial information, whichever is longer. Press releases can be very helpful in understanding management’s thinking at the time of the event, and with electronic storage being as cheap as it is these days, there is no good reason not to have a complete history.
A good example of how to do all of this is on the Unilever site. When you navigate to Unilever’s main investor relations page, one section of the page gives you a link to Press Releases, which is shown right.
Clicking on the link takes you to the Press Release page shown below, which contains a full ten years of releases, enough to satisfy even the most data hungry analyst.
In the end, web sites, if designed well, can make life much easier for investors, and just a little bit of forethought will accomplish that objective when it comes to press releases.