Tag Archives: SEC

Integrating Social Media into Your Investor Relations Program

By Howard Berkenblit, Partner, Sullivan & Worcester LLP
By Maureen Wolff, President and Partner, Sharon Merrill Associates

As you may have heard, the SEC has stated that public companies may announce material, non-public news on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, provided that companies take appropriate steps to alert investors which outlets they will use. Depending on your perspective, that may sound either intriguing or daunting.

But if that’s as far as it goes for your company – a quick reaction followed by little else – then all of the recent discussion spawned by the SEC’s ruling will have been little more than a wasted opportunity.

Sharon Merrill and the law firm Sullivan & Worcester recently co-hosted an educational seminar with investor relations and corporate communications officers on using social media for public companies. We presented an overview of the legal issues related to using social media for disclosure purposes, and we also provided six building blocks for developing an investor relations social media strategy. Continue reading

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Filed under Investor Relations, Social Media

SEC Gives Social Media for IR Its Blessing

By Dennis Walsh, Vice President & Director of Social Media

The SEC finally has provided guidance on the use of social media for investor relations. The guidance came in a report on its investigation to determine whether Netflix CEO Reed Hasting had violated Reg FD. In a Facebook status update on his personal account, Hastings said Netflix had streamed 1 billion hours of content in June 2012, calling into question whether the post was selective disclosure of material information. 

In its report, the SEC clarified that companies can use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to announce key information in compliance with Reg FD. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for, but with some key caveats. Continue reading

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Filed under Investor Relations, Social Media, Socialize IR

Notes from a NIRI Annual Conference Attendee

By Dennis Walsh, Senior Consultant & Director of Social Media

Last week, I attended the NIRI Annual Conference.  It was very educational and an incredible opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with many of the approximately 1,300 investor relations professionals from more than 20 countries that attended the event in Seattle. 

NIRI organized more than 45 informative panel sessions and workshops that were led by some of IR’s top influencers. While I wanted to attend each one, unfortunately I am not omnipresent. For those that I did attend, I left with several key takeaways that can benefit any IR program and wanted to share those with you here at The Podium. Continue reading

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Filed under Board Communications, Board of Directors, Investor Presentation, Investor Relations, NIRI, Shareholder Activism, Shareholder Surveillance, Social Media

Form 13Fs – Things that Could Have Been Brought to My Attention Yesterday!

By Dennis Walsh, Senior Consultant & Director of Social Media

It’s that time of the year again.  Four times a year, institutional investors that hold more than $100 million in assets under management are required to file a Form 13F with the SEC that lists the securities held in their portfolio and the number of shares owned…45 days prior.  Every quarter when I’m going through these filings for my clients, I have a similar reaction as Adam Sandler in “The Wedding Singer”:


The 13F filings provide a snapshot into the makeup of a company’s shareholder base at the end of each quarter.  While they offer some insight into how a company’s ownership has been trending, they fail to provide who the shareholders are in real time.  It is extremely frustrating when the markets are under pressure and volatility is high – as it has been in recent weeks – to not know who owns your company’s stock.    During the recent rollercoaster swings in the market at the beginning of August, the publicly available shareholder data was current only as of March 31 (ownership data as of June 30 wasn’t due to the SEC until August 15)!  With all the buying and selling that has taken place, a company’s shareholder base could potentially be wildly different since the end of the previous quarter. Continue reading

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Filed under Investor Relations, Roadshow Planning, SEC, Shareholder Surveillance

Proxy Access: Time to Get Ready for Profound Changes

Recently, Sharon Merrill Associates President Maureen Wolff and I spoke on “Navigating the New Proxy Access Rules” at the NYSE Euronext’s “Building Blocks for Successful Investor Relations” conference.  The event attracted great attendance from CEOs, CFOs and investor relations officers – despite some obstacles getting downtown with the Yankees World Series victory parade taking place at the same time about a block away.  Some things you just can’t plan for.  As a life-long Red Sox devotee, it was rather painful to hear the million-plus Yankees fans lined up on Broadway cheering for A-Rod and company.  Wait ‘till next year I guess. 

When investor relations practitioners get together these days, we tend to discuss the same general questions, gripes and concerns:  When will we see an upturn in the economy?  Why can’t we have a better understanding of who owns our stock?  Will the Yankees buy another championship next year?  What effect are dark pools having?  But one topic that should be getting significantly more attention in the IR world is the inevitable change in shareholder proxy access.  If two proxy-related proposals from the SEC are implemented, the changes in proxy access will have a profound effect on the boardroom and board/shareholder communication.  It’s time to get ready. Continue reading

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Filed under Board Communications, Crisis Communications, Investor Relations, SEC, Shareholder Activism