By Ibrey Woodall, VP, Web Communications Services
Earlier this year, The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. purchased the Corporate Solutions Division of Thomson Reuters which included their IR site hosting services. Recently, NYSE Euronext announced that it would discontinue financial subsidies for companies using these legacy services.
Needless to say, many companies are rapidly performing due diligence to find a new IR site hosting partner. Business Wire is pleased to be a preferred partner for NYSE, meaning qualified companies can easily switch their site hosting to our advanced InvestorHQ platform and continue to receive financial assistance. In fact, we have helped several of those companies quickly and easily switch their investor center over to our secure, advanced InvestorHQ platform.
If you’re one of these companies and you worry about your IR site – don’t. Review the six simple steps we’ve laid out below, and let Business Wire guide you through the entire process.
- Schedule Launch
- Transfer Content
- Choose Categories
- Select Navigation
- Match design
- Go Mobile
These steps will help you understand what is involved so that your IR site can be converted quickly and cleanly.
1. Schedule Launch
Anytime you begin a new project, you should visualize the desired end result first, and lay out a structured plan to achieve that outcome. Once we have established your required launch date, Business Wire will provide that plan, including a timeline featuring milestone dates that help us meet the deadline. If your corporate site is in the process of being redesigned, the redesign stage will also be incorporated into the timeline.
During this time, you will be trained on the easy-to-use content management system, and advised on best practices for important areas that span a variety of levels. Consultation will encompass the time zone of your IR site so dates and times post accurately, how your site will display in each of the latest web browsers, the importing of your contact database for email distribution, and the security of your content with access levels for individual site administrators.
2. Transfer Content
Depending upon how long your company has been in business, you may or may not have a lot of content residing within your current IR site. All you need to do is let your assigned Business Wire HQ Specialist know which content you want to keep and where you want it located within the new site. Your HQ Specialist will physically move the content for you, expediting the launch of your IR site. If you are creating new content for new features and sections within Business Wire InvestorHQ, just send the content to your HQ Specialist for set up.
Not only will all future press releases distributed over Business Wire post automatically into the IR site, but more importantly, the releases will post directly. The distribution of Business Wire press releases and the Business Wire InvestorHQ Investor Center remain within the Business Wire framework, eliminating the need for a third-party wire release aggregator and decreasing the potential of a lost or delayed press release. There are cost-savings, workflow efficiencies and security inherent to using one partner for both services.
3. Choose Categories
Content should be categorized so that it is readily accessible for site visitors. Not only should press releases be available by date, but also by topic or subject matter. For example, note that CKE Restaurants (http://investor.ckr.com) created categories entitled “Financial Releases,” “CKE,” “Carl’s Jr.,” and “Hardees,” so that their press releases are organized by parent company and brand, yet still allow investors and analysts to locate and access financial releases quickly.
Events and presentations should also be categorized even as commonly as “Past Events” and “Future Events,” as displayed on the W.R. Grace investor center (http://investor.grace.com) when future dates are available. If your company has multiple events, you may consider fine-tuning with classifications like “Webcasts,” “Board Meeting,” “Analyst Day,” or “Press Conference.”
4. Select Navigation
There are certain types of content, including Analyst Coverage, Stock Charts, SEC Filings, Executive Biographies and additional Corporate Governance documents that should be available within every investor center. Your navigation structure should reflect those content types, and your HQ Specialist will present each of these content types to you and order the navigation in a pattern that best suits your company’s needs.
5. Match Design
Site visitors need to be able to visually trust that the IR site contains official company data. This is done by following the same fonts, colors, spacing and other design elements that reflect the identity of the corporation. It can also be done by using the company’s domain name within the uniform resource locator (URL) similar to http://investor.chemtura.com or http://ir.standex.com, as well as linking to the IR site from an “Investor Relations” navigation button located on the corporate site. We recommend that the investor center follow the same design as the corporate site, positioning all branding available, even down to the “From” identifier on email alerts and broadcasts.
6. Go Mobile.
As mobile usage increases dramatically, it is imperative that sites are easily accessible by a mobile audience. Business Wire offers mobile-optimized IR websites that are legible when accessed by smartphones and tablets of varying screen sizes.
When it comes to news distribution, hosting and consumption, it is worth noting that Business Wire has been around for more than 53 years and provides a multitude of financial disclosure services. Partner with Business Wire and stop worrying about your IR site.
For more information on the “must-haves” and “should-haves” for an IR site, we suggest reading: IR Sites: A Guide to Requirements and Best Practices white paper.
Reaching your audiences via mobile devices becomes more and more important all the time, as investors and consumers move away from desktops to smartphones and tablets. In our upcoming webinar, Mobile Alerts for Investor Relations, Nigel Malkin, president of Brand2Hand will discuss the growing trend to deliver breaking investor relations and other news to key stakeholders via mobile devices. Nigel will provide tips on adding SMS registration to your online investor center or online newsroom, an overview of how financial tables render on mobile devices and synchronizing your alerts with your press releases.
Register here for this free webinar, which takes place on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 1:00pm ET. We look forward to having you join us!
The upcoming filing season looks to be one of the busiest yet for XBRL preparers, with all US public companies submitting financial statements to the SEC required to include detail-tagged XBRL as of June 15, 2012. As the XBRL mandate reaches full implementation for SEC filings, the functionality of XBRL continues to expand through various initiatives including the DATA Act, corporate actions, and Business Wire’s Retail Report.
XBRL has increased its presence in the US Congress with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, which the House of Representatives unanimously passed on April 25, 2012. Known as the DATA act, this bill provides for a broader implementation of data reporting standards to track federal spending data. Following its strong bipartisan success in the House, the DATA Act has been referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Similar to the Child and Family Services Innovation and Improvement Act, which was signed into law in October 2011, the DATA Act includes a significant reference to XBRL: “In designating reporting standards… the Commission shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate existing nonproprietary standards, such as the eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).”
XBRL US released the 2012 Corporate Actions Taxonomy for public comment on May 17, 2012. This is the second version of the Corporate Actions Taxonomy, designed to tag over 50 types of corporate actions announcements, including mergers and acquisitions, dividends, redemptions, tender offers, and stock splits. Approximately 200,000 corporate actions are released each year in the US, and these textual announcements require time-consuming manual steps to process as financial data. XBRL tagging of corporate actions releases would enhance the efficiency of downstream processing across the financial community. XBRL US has teamed with The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to promote the use of XBRL tagging for corporate actions in accordance with the existing ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards.
On May 3, 2012, Business Wire became the first commercial newswire to map, tag and disseminate its own content in XBRL format. XBRL exhibits utilizing the US GAAP taxonomy now accompany Business Wire’s Retail Report, which is released monthly to Business Wire’s full national circuit. Published on the day that retailers announce sales figures for the previous month, the report tracks specialty apparel and general merchandise retailers’ monthly and year-to-date total sales with percentage comparisons across periods, alongside comparative stores’ sales growth data. To date, the April and May 2012 Retail Reports have been published with supplemental XBRL files, which may be freely downloaded and rendered through the SEC’s XBRL previewer, to facilitate analysis of retail sales data. Two members of Business Wire’s XBRL team, Senior XBRL Financial Reporting Specialist Belayneh Alemayehu and Junior XBRL Accountant Khondakar Moin, have provided their expertise to translate the Retail Report into XBRL. While Business Wire’s XBRL team has been proactively preparing for the final wave of the SEC’s XBRL mandate, we have also implemented a new innovation in interactive data.
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media
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.
TRUNCATED TRANSPARENCY: The JOB Act’s Compressed IPO Cycle and its Hidden Implications for Market FairnessApril 27, 2012
by Neil Hershberg, Senior Vice President, Global Media/Business Wire
Welcome to the new era of clandestine compliance.
The newly passed JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) has come under withering attack by an influential chorus of critics. They are sounding the alarm that the Act dangerously dials back the disclosure obligations of “emerging companies” seeking to go public.
To be clear, we are not talking about mom-and-pop operations here. In Washington’s grandiose way of thinking, “startups” are defined as having revenues of up to $1 billion annually. In other words, the majority of companies opting to go public will now get up to a five-year exemption from many of today’s more stringent disclosure requirements.
The controversial legislation has drawn fire from leading journalists, including Andrew Ross Sorkin of The New York Times; securities regulators, including SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro; and shareholder advocates, including Barbara Roper of The Consumer Federation of America. The consensus view is that the JOBS Act is a regressive measure that threatens to erode many longstanding investor safeguards. Clever acronyms aside, the JOBS Act is broadly portrayed as weakening the safety net for investors.
The JOBS Act does create new channels for pre-IPOs to communicate with the investment community. However, the Act effectively closes the blinds on the closely monitored IPO pipeline, precluding the ability of investors to delve deeply into the dealings of companies under consideration. Under the new ground rules, prospective IPOs are now protected by a cloak of sanctioned secrecy during the protracted filing period leading up to their public offering.
The result is that clarity has given way to opaqueness. IPOs are now able to engage in confidential discussions with the SEC about their plans to tap the capital markets, until 21 days before the IR Road Show cavalcade begins.
Critical corporate information that was previously made available to investors months in advance — including financials and insights into the company’s organizational structure — can now be legitimately withheld from public scrutiny until three weeks before the investor marketing process gets underway.
What this means in practice is that investors essentially have about a month or so to evaluate the financial viability of a company preening to go public; previously, interested investors had a minimum of several months to do their due diligence.
There also is a more subtle side effect to today’s cloistered IPO process, one that further distorts the dynamics of a fair and competitive marketplace.
The SEC approved a rule change last December that allows NASDAQ to offer “free” corporate IR services, e.g. press release distribution and IR Web hosting, to IPOs and companies that transfer their listings from the NYSE.
Coincidentally, all these corporate services are provided by NASDAQ’s wholly owned subsidiaries, thwarting competition. The ability of NASDAQ to bundle IR services with its listing fees effectively elbows other service providers — many with superior, more advanced product offerings — out of the equation.
The agency’s approval came despite what we believe was a preponderance of evidence that the practice was anti-competitive. Ironically, SEC Chairman Schapiro was recently called to testify before a Congressional committee looking into the agency’s lack of economic analysis in its rule-making process. Clearly, the SEC should have done a lot more home work before rendering a decision in favor of NASDAQ’s rule change.
For all its political promise and good intentions, the JOBS Act has made a bad situation worse. Any pretense of market fairness during the IPO birthing process has now lost all credibility.
Today’s closed environment allowing IPOs to silently snake their way through the filing process has reinforced NASDAQ’s unfair competitive advantage, eliminating any premise of meaningful competition. Not only does NASDAQ have the inside track, but the track itself is now largely hidden from public view.
In perhaps the cruelest irony, the JOBS Act may result in the ultimate unintended consequence: potentially destroying jobs in a robust industry that has long thrived based on a model of fair and open competition.