An IRO’s job is to provide bi-directional visibility. They give their management teams visibility into what the financial community thinks about how their companies are being run both individually and as compared to others in their sectors. Ultimately it is those perceptions that affect their stock prices. Conversely, the IRO has groups to service – shareholders, analysts and other financial constituents – for whom they provide visibility into their companies’ strategies, operations and performance.
An effective IRO can juggle these two broad areas of responsibility with ease. When new demands are added to the mix, however, things can get dicey even for the most seasoned IRO. In fact, expectations are changing for IROs as public companies engage shareholders in new ways, regulators ratchet up their scrutiny and always-connected investors monitor global developments on a 24x7 basis.
As a result of these changes, IROs now are being asked a much broader range of questions than ever before, and not knowing the answers can have career-limiting ramifications. For example, when a CEO texts the IRO asking why a competitor’s stock price shot up 5% that morning, replying with “Don’t know. Will find out and get back to you” is not a good answer.
The fact is, in today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving market, IROs need to be more than just a conduit between management and The Street. They need to broaden their radar screens so they can see in real time what is going on in areas well beyond their traditional bailiwicks. Many IROs are gaining that wider visibility, in part, by accessing more effective corporate events data resources.
Whether through direct data feeds or online portals, high-quality corporate events information services cover much more than the ‘me too’ earnings date calendars offered by big box data terminal vendors. Instead, the top corporate events providers’ radars ping for a much broader range of event types.
The best corporate events data providers cover all of the various event types through which public companies communicate with their financial audiences. In addition to earnings and dividend announcement dates, they provide detailed information on events such as conferences, analyst days, business updates, forums, company travel, trade shows, seminars and workshops, and R&D days.
Beyond capturing broader event information, much of which can be machine-generated, top providers use staff members’ human touch to validate and augment their data. Customizable watch lists and real-time notification options give IROs the information they need, anywhere, anytime and on any device.
With access to this type of corporate events data, the IRO in the above example would know in advance and could quickly give the CEO a much better answer. Instead of “Don’t know”, the IRO’s answer would be: “Their CFO presented at the Morgan Stanley analyst conference at the Chicago Marriott after market yesterday. Her talk was entitled ‘ABC Co.’s New Strategy and Global Market Opportunities’. Very likely that’s what pushed up their stock price. Will verify and get analysts’ views on what was said.”
Obviously, this type of response is far more informative and valuable for all recipients, and reflects positively on the IRO.
As both management teams’ and shareholders’ needs change, so too will the demands they put on IROs, and the expectations they have for IROs to deliver timely, accurate – and at times, wide-ranging information. To meet these changing expectations, IROs need to stay on top their company, their competitors, their industry and the broader capital markets.
In other words, their radar screens need to be a lot larger and much more fine-tuned than ever before. With the right corporate events data resource, IROs will see the blip on the screen first, know what it is and what it means, and will be prepared to give quick and accurate answers to pressing questions from either internal or external constituents.
IROs need all the visibility and intelligence they can get these days. High-quality corporate events data can expand their information horizons and help them to never be caught off guard.
Bruce Fador is President of corporate events surveillance expert Wall Street Horizon. The firm provides institutional investors, traders and corporates with an ever-expanding set of forward-looking and historical corporate event datasets, including earnings dates, dividend dates, options expiration dates, splits, spinoffs and a wide variety of investor-related conferences.