Q1 2011 WEB INVESTOR RELATIONS INNOVATION AWARD
Regular readers of Stockopedia will know of our advocacy for the use of technology in order to address the problems of information asymmetry that exist in the capital markets. UK retail stock market investors get a very rough deal in terms of management and information access compared with their institutional cousins, and this disparity has - in our view at least - contributed to the culture of short term speculation, momentum investing and obsession with dubious technical analysis that exists amongst parts of the retail investing community.
For that reason, the hands-down winner of this quarter's Stockopedia Web Investor Relations Innovation Award has to be AIM-listed marine communications specialist, Software Radio Technology. In a welcome display of openness and a recognition of the need for broad shareholder communication, the company hosted a live 38 minute webcast for its shareholders this quarter.
Software Radio Technology (LON:SRT) develops advanced radio communications technologies for use in navigation and homeland security identification and tracking applications. With several hundred investors, the company decided that a webcast would be an effective and efficient way to address ongoing shareholder queries. SRT's CEO, Simon Tucker, talked through a set of presentation slides which had been prepared in response to those questions submitted by investors earlier in the week.
Live investor webcasts are far more commonplace in the United States where Regulation Fair Disclosure has spurred widespread adoption of the Web as a dissemination tool, lncluding growing use of social media. UK companies in general, and smaller AIM-listed companies in particular, have been slow to use their website as an effective investor relations tool, in many cases simply complying with the bare minimum required by AIM Rule 26.
Simon Tucker observed:
"Most AIM companies usually only meet their shareholders at events like the AGM, but in fast moving markets, we feel that once or twice a year is not enough. SRT has always tried to communicate clearly with its very loyal shareholder base, and this webcast takes that to the next level; allowing shareholders the chance to ask questions on any topic they feel pertinent to the future of the Company.
The exercise won widespread applause, including writeups from David Blackwell in the Financial Times as well as on IR Web Report where Dominic Jones noted that "the unedited nature of the video stream, along with Tucker’s easy-going demeanor and product demonstrations added a rare authenticity and credibility to the company’s story" He contrasted it with the overpolished nature of the quarterly video Q&As done by many European large-cap companies "which are usually carefully scripted and edited and reveal little passion or excitement by executives for their companies".
So congratulations to all at Software Radio Technology for this innovative approach to investor communications, one which puts much larger FTSE 100/250 companies to shame. Hopefully, this example will prove an inspiration to others.
If you know of another listed company that you feel is leading the way in Web investor relations, please let us know here.