A GUIDE TO GLOBAL IR: Leveraging Languages and Platforms to Reach International Investors

by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media
Neil Hershberg

Neil Hershberg, SVP – Global Media

A recurrent theme at this year’s recent NIRI conference was the growing importance of global investor relations, and the corresponding need for international “best practices” standards.

The heightened industry focus reflects the realization that today’s financial markets transcend geographic boundaries, and that the competition for capital is more intense than ever.

While the spotlight on global investor outreach is certainly welcomed, the reality is that many of today’s accessible and affordable turn-key solutions are inadvertently ignored. The ability to seamlessly connect with a much larger investor universe is within easy reach of virtually every issuer; most importantly, it requires no budget-busting expenditures in the way of expanded infrastructure or staffing.

The key is to capitalize on the full potential of the major financial platforms that serve as the lifeblood of the global investment industry. Specifically, this means leveraging the multilingual platforms of the leading news/data systems, regional financial services that are hugely influential in their respective markets, and postings to non-U.S. portals that are closely monitored by the retail sector.

There is a natural tendency to narrowly view Bloomberg, Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters as largely an English-language bridge to international investors.  Yet these powerful, robust platforms reach investors worldwide in scores of languages. (Bloomberg, for example, hosts 41 languages.) This important capability is largely underutilized, and should be a strategic element of all multi-dimensional investor relations campaigns.

To be clear, English is universally recognized as the international “language of business.”  Yet there are sizeable audiences with substantial assets whose preference remains their own native languages. The major financial services, locked in a fierce competitive battle for subscribers, are keen to cater to these diverse constituencies.

Business Wire is the only commercial news wire that has committed the necessary resources to fully capitalize on this obscured opportunity. Simply put, Business Wire’s geographic and linguistic footprint is the largest in the industry, enabling public companies to target portfolio managers and retail investors in developed and emerging markets alike, reaping the unbridled benefits of these powerful platforms.

To put this potent opportunity into perspective, Business Wire releases are available in 19 languages on the Bloomberg terminal: Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. The scope of languages available on Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters is comparable. Collectively, these financial systems approach some one million subscribers in the international investment industry.

Additionally, there are other prominent platforms popular with international investors that include Business Wire in more than a dozen languages, e.g. FactSet and Factiva.

Another important resource that is easily overlooked is the regional and national financial services that lack the profile — but certainly not the credibility or local influence — of their global industry brethren. These information providers can prove to be extremely effective in mapping an international outreach campaign with their pinpoint saturation of key money markets.

Business Wire content is broadly accessible via these respected regional providers, including SIX Information (one of Europe’s largest financial systems); vwd (a major presence in the D/A/CH region); Interfax (the dominant business news service in Russia/CIS); Agência Estado (Brazil’s leading financial news service); awp, the Swiss financial news agency; and Jiji Press, Japan’s leading financial news wire.

Supplementing these premium services, which primarily target professional portfolio managers, retail investors worldwide can routinely track corporate developments via leading financial portals, including such popular sites as Infobolsa, abcbourse, and BFMbusiness. Like Business Wire’s distribution network itself, our online reach continues to be a never-ending work in progress, with pending additions including Il Sole 24 (Italy) and Quick (Japan).

This year’s NIRI conference was entitled “Great Expectations.”  By simply leveraging readily accessible — and comparatively affordable — options, IROs are likely to experience “Great Realizations” in achieving their global outreach goals.

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