Many years ago, I had a sell side analyst tell me, “One of the hallmarks of a well managed company is when you see they publish a calendar of earnings releases… and they stick to their dates”. This leads me to today’s thought on effective company investor relations sites: tell your investors what’s coming up on the calendar… and stick to those dates.
Investors need to know about certain dates, particularly as they relate to dividends, earnings statements and annual general meetings. A well-organized financial calendar will help them find things quickly and with a minimum of fuss. And it will cut down on the number of calls coming into the investor relations department from investors who are interested in those dates. Particularly individual investors concerned about when the dividend is payable. More particularly, retirees living on a fixed income who rely upon the dividends.
With respect to dividends, investors need to know the record date, the ex-dividend date and the payment date. Financial results should be released according to a schedule established before the start of the fiscal year. And just as obviously, the date for the Annual General Meeting should be established well in advance of the event and published on the calendar.
A good example of how to do this is the Financial Calendar placed on the Marks & Spencer web site.
This is not rocket science; it’s just good planning and the communication of that planning to those who need to know. Take it from someone who used to run an investor relations department for a company with a high percentage of individual investors in the days before the internet – a company can save itself a lot of pain and suffering having to do with volume of phone calls if they clearly place on their web site when they expect important, but routine, corporate actions to be taken.