The Investor Relations (“IR”) website is the first intuitive resource for most people seeking information about a company and is also the main communication channel used by companies to interact with the capital markets universe. IR teams can manage the company’s message, in multiple formats and languages, and update relevant disclosure quickly and rather inexpensively. While the IR website targets mostly investors and coverage analysts, it provides equal access to all through real time publishing and interactivity with the general public. Increasingly, regulators and stock exchanges are also concluding that websites can be an effective channel of disclosure for material events, including in lieu of the more traditional means of press releases to the major wire services, hence it is essential for the IR website to be used in its best and full potential.
Good IR websites are not just a static screen in front of the investor. They also allow for interactive communication. Investors can vote proxies, buy the company‘s stock, listen to quarterly conference calls and manipulate information online through analytical and financial modeling tools, and customize the website.
The ranking is executed through the following technical criteria:
Content is the most important factor for the analysis of IR websites since information is what users are looking for. However, in terms of content, simplicity, clearness, timeliness and relevancy are the key words to follow. IR websites must attend to the needs of existing and future investors in a proactive way and ensure that this valuable and useful resource of communication is not used as a mere library of information. Websites that just replicate data that can be found elsewhere do not attend this purpose. Companies should review their IR websites regularly and innovate in user-friendly ways to dispose information. IR Global Rankings analyzes standard content such as company information, financial data and regulatory filings and presentations and also looks into more complex materials such as investment messages, debt disclosure, guidance and sections dedicated to corporate governance and social responsibility/sustainability.
Design and Navigability
A proper design and user-friendly navigability are key issues to a successful website since providing detailed content is of little use if users can’t find the data they looking for. A well elaborated menu and the amount of clicks necessary to find information are the most important features, among others items that are also analyzed by IR Global Rankings.
Some companies overlook the potential of enhancing interactivity with the website’s end users that certain tools can bring. For example, providing spreadsheets with financial and operating results can be very useful for analysts and interactive price graphs are key for individual investors who do not have access to systems such as Bloomberg. Other important tools are also analyzed by IR Global Rankings.
Technology & Data Handling
Within this category, IR Global Rankings analyzes how technology can be used to increase the audience of the company’s website. Webcasts are a great feature for this purpose as it enables investors to remotely participate in company meetings that they may not have the opportunity to attend personally. Other technology features are also carefully analyzed.
A good website is relatively easy to build but the real challenge is keeping it up to date and this is what this category aims to identify. IR Global Rankings also evaluates, among other things, how long IR teams take to answer questions submitted randomly.