I HAVE really enjoyed reading the first issue of InvestorRelationships.com, the new online publication for investor relations, shareholder services, and corporate governance professionals that launched last week.
The first issue is full of practical tips, but having just completed reading a great article on avoiding the biggest notice-only E-proxy pitfalls, I wanted to summarize the highlights for you here.
1. Don’t Overestimate Cost Savings
Do the analysis for yourself. You need to do your own homework because there is a lot of misinformation out there. Beware of underestimating your print needs because doing a second print-run can be cost prohibitive.
2. Compress Your Time & Responsibility Schedule
For most companies, the timeline is a significant departure from past years. Not only must the proxy materials be completed earlier, but board and management meetings related to approving the materials must be held much earlier. There are big changes that ripple all throughout your Time & Responsibility Schedule.
3. Become a “Usability” Master
The bottom line is to not rely on service providers to control what is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the corporate IR strategy. Since you should be “selling” the company to investors, the IR webpage should be considered as important a page on the corporate website. Convince your boss to plow back some of the e-proxy cost savings into the IR budget so that you can improve your IR webpage and related communication strategy.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Employee-Shareholders
A separate campaign strategy should be considered when targeting employees. Consider what they might value differently than other shareholders.
5. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Under the new e-proxy rules, activists and dissidents can e-proxy even if the company doesn’t. The sudden appearance of a rival “campaign” can quickly earn publicity and catch you unaware. A rival campaign doesn’t necessarily mean a proxy contest; there are much “lesser” versions that can cause problems.
6. View E-Proxy as an Opportunity
Going forward, the bottom line is that your mantra should be: “Drive investors to my IR webpage at every opportunity, make them comfortable with the experience, get their feedback and constantly improve the experience.”
The article itself provides a lot more detail on each of these points. You can receive the complete first issue of InvestorRelationships.com after a free sign-up.