Business Wire Boston hosted a breakfast event June 11, where investor relations and media relations professionals from across New England gathered to discuss best practices in corporate disclosure and how to manage the flow of information in the digital age.
The panel discussion, “Communications Strategies for the New Age of Corporate Transparency and Accountability,” focused on the meaning of disclosure as dictated by the SEC, the appearance of transparency versus actual accountability and the importance of simultaneously disclosing important financial news.
Matt Kelly, Editor of Compliance Week, moderated the panel, which also included:
- Megan Gates, Partner, Mintz Levin law firm
- Tony Takazawa, Vice President for Investor Relations, EMC Corporation
- Aaron Pressman, Boston Correspondent, BusinessWeek
- Frank Quaratiello, Business Editor, Boston Herald
Among the key points made by the panel:
- Ms. Gates explained that statements made online on websites and through mediums such as Twitter are still just as liable as press releases when it comes to classifying official company information, and those posts are therefore still regulated by the SEC. She stressed that IR professionals need to treat digital mediums like blogs and tweets with gravity.
- Mr. Takazawa echoed Ms. Gates’ conservative view of disclosure explaining that many companies mistake detail for transparency and that to put too much information out there for investors will only dilute the message.
- When embracing a social media policy, Mr. Takazawa again said it is important not to have too much “noise” and let communications get out of control. By limiting those with the authority to post information or speak to the press to a highly vetted few, communications can stay on message and not distract investors.
- Mr. Pressman stressed the importance of simultaneous disclosure and the use of a primary newswire when disseminating financial news explaining that there are 5,000 companies he follows and he does not have time to go to thousands of websites each day looking for company news.
- Mr. Quaratiello elaborated on the importance of disclosure and not “burying the facts,” noting that when the Boston Herald receives annual reports that have pages and pages of text, his team assumes the company has something to hide and reporters skip right to the notes section.
- Mr. Pressman stressed the limitations of reporting on stories first posted via sites such as Twitter because of the lack of reputation and authority. Mr. Quarantiello, who described his publication as more of a tabloid at times, said his team tends to pick up more stories online these days. He said that a CEO on Twitter might be a scary thought for an IR professional, but from his standpoint, “we’ll eat it up.”
Local Business Wire offices host several events each year on PR, IR and media topics. Check out the Business Wire Events page to find upcoming events in your area.
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