SIX years ago almost to the day, I sat down to write the About Us page for this website. It was more a mission statement and an explanation for what I was hoping to achieve and why.
While the page has changed a lot over the years, there is this one part that hasn’t changed at all:
“The advice and guidelines we provide advocate a steadfastly investor-centric approach to online investor relations communications and disclosure. This is because websites must work for their end-users or they will fail to be effective.
Many investor relations websites today are poorly conceived and managed. This hinders investors and others from obtaining, using and understanding public company disclosures on the Web.
There is a compelling payoff for corporations to use the Web effectively in their communications with investors. By harnessing the Web more effectively, companies can:
- Strengthen their reputations;
- Lower their IR communications costs;
- Reach investors in new markets;
- Improve investor understanding of their potential;
- Achieve a more accurate valuation for their securities; and,
- Contribute to a fair and vibrant capital market.”
I thought it was a pretty good sales pitch to companies. A win-win. But really, all I ever wanted was to do was contribute to a “fair and vibrant capital market.” That was my background. I came into this from writing books, producing seminars and websites meant to help average folks decipher the capital markets so that they could make better investment decisions and not eat cat food in retirement.
When I started getting interested in corporate investor relations it was just as individual investors were flocking to online brokerages to buy stocks, often not knowing what they were doing. I figured that if companies and investor relations communications professionals actually made an effort to use the Web better, fewer of these investors would make dumb mistakes. Investors would have a better sense of what they were buying because they’d actually read something before buying stocks at E*Trade or one of the other online brokerages.
I just read that section of our About Us page again and I had that sad sinking feeling idealists get in moments when they let reality in.
“Many investor relations websites today are poorly conceived and managed…”
Honestly, little has changed. There are some great IR websites. Many belong to our clients. But for the most part, I could have written those words today.
OK, sad reflection over.