Publicly traded companies are scrutinized more than ever today. Information about them is dissected and fed into investors’ models and trading strategies the instant it becomes available. When signals are detected, they trigger actions, often in microseconds. So having better information sooner is the name of the game.
That’s why it’s so surprising that one source of compelling and often valuable corporate information remains largely overlooked by investors. We’re talking about corporate events – the timing of things like earnings announcements, dividend payments, and investor conferences. This also includes scheduled items such as option expiration dates, stock splits, and more.
Following is a Q&A with Bruce Fador, Wall Street Horizon’s President and Chief Commercial Officer, about the value of accurate and complete corporate event data, why it’s often taken for granted, and why it’s time investors took a closer look.
Q. It’s just a date, right? What’s the big deal?
A. Everyone knows that volume and price volatility often occurs around corporate event dates, so accuracy and completeness really matters. When models use erroneous or incomplete data their outputs become questionable. It doesn’t take many missteps for losses to pile up. Conversely, having accurate and comprehensive events data enables investors to manage their trading and risk strategies more effectively.
Q. Isn’t this data readily available elsewhere? What are people missing?
A. Sure, events data is available in lots of places. It’s bundled into subscription services from all the big market data providers. It’s on the finance portals from Yahoo and Google, and it’s on other platforms too. The real question is what’s the nature of that data?
Things like wheat and soybeans are commodities; corporate event data isn’t. Nonetheless, many investments pros view it that way – as basically the same regardless of its source. That stems from the perfunctory approach taken by most providers of this type of data. They assume that since Company X usually reports its earnings on the Thursday of the 3rd week after quarter close, they’ll do that every time. Their processes amount to little more than determining rough, year-over-year patterns, and then flipping the calendar and circling a date.
There are two big mistakes being made here. First is the assumption that ‘calendarizing’ these dates gets the job done. It doesn’t. There’s much more required, from both the human and technological perspectives, to build and maintain accurate and comprehensive events data sets.
The second is the assumption that these events aren’t anything more than a date on the calendar. In fact, there are many dimensions to corporate events, including upcoming dates and their timing, how they compare to historical patterns, the events’ contents, as well as the timing and other aspects of any revisions made to the dates and contents. These event dates have stories to tell, but you need to listen closely to hear them. For people who do, this data can deliver real competitive advantages.
Q. Granted better data drives better strategies and outcomes. But what are some specific ways institutional teams can benefit from having better event intel?
A. This data gives an edge to traders, analysts, other investors or various types, and even investment operations people. Here are a few ways these professionals currently use this data.
- Generate alpha by exploiting information anomalies – With fast access to the broadest and most accurate set of corporate events data available, investment professionals have better market intel than those who rely on generic data from ‘me-too’ providers. Better data lets them see opportunities sooner and act on them faster.
- Reduce market risk with accurate information – When their models are based on unreliable data, institutional investors are more exposed to market risk than they think. Not knowing the extent of the exposure is just as troubling. More accurate and complete events data provides better visibility and squeezes the risk out of models and strategies.
- Manage the volatility surrounding corporate events more effectively – With more visibility and insight ahead of event-related volatility, institutional investors can plan how they want to play these events, and maintain a steady hand throughout. With better preparation for and responses to volatility, investors can seize upside opportunities and avoid downside risks.
Q. Is there anything else people should know about what better events data can mean to their operations?
A. Yes, but it’s really a big picture thing. Institutional investing is ultra-competitive, and winning consistently is harder than ever. One way to shape the odds in your favor is to arm your team with best-in-class resources. Our unique methodology puts Wall Street Horizon in that category. It boils down to our exclusive focus on corporate events, and our high-tech and high-touch approach.
On the human side, there’s our primary sourcing of data, including direct communications our analysts have with contacts at thousands of companies. On the technology side, our team uses several different resources, including automated data collection, machine-readable feeds and proprietary forecasting algorithms. This unique, combined approach makes a difference for our clients.
Lots of investment pros use corporate events data, including traders, analysts, Ops teams, back office staff, investor relations people, and others. For a small, additional investment in premium corporate events data, all of those people can boost their effectiveness. That’s why it’s a smart move to take a closer look at this often overlooked resource.
Bruce Fador is President and Chief Commercial Officer for Wall Street Horizon, a provider widely recognized for the unmatched and timeliness of its forward-looking and historical corporate event datasets.