I'm an incidental investor, buying sometimes low-end stocks when I naively think they will grow, and loosing my precious time analyzing the charts and data when I could do something much more useful (like sleep). As an amateur, I'm not so interested in complex financial reports and opinions of genious analysts; instead I'll prefer to know what the business is all about and who is running it. I'd like to know things that I usually report to my bosses - for example, contract portfolio and possible invoice dates. These are things easily accessed inside the organization (given that you are authorized to do so), but it's hard to get when it comes to public companies - especially when you are a meaningless, poor investor-wanna-be like me.
In fact, when I look how majority of companies do their Investor Relations, I feel like i Was back in 1990's. Or worse. Of course, we have invented investor relations websites, but these websites are merely a replacement of standard, paper-centric reporting methods. Publishing quarterly and yearly results (of course in pdf format, to make processing the data harder), giving outdated income projections and risk assessments are just a few of the print-era signs in investor relations. Lack of investor "community" mechanisms is also a common problem.
I have a dream. I'd like the companies to build an "online" IR, to let the investors know in real-time what happens with the company. I want the companies to maintain an active investors' community and talk with them for whole year, not only during General Meetings. I'd like to live the life of my company, and feel like a part of it, in good as well as bad times.
Because I'd like to trust companies in my portfolio. And I can trust them only when they are honest with me. When I'm sure I'll know not only mere PR and propaganda of success, but also all problems it has. If I'll trust the company, I won't easily sell its stocks when crisis comes or analysts in TV predicts bad year for the economy. I'll be able to judge it myself and make a decision. Today everything I can do is a guess.
That's a hard work to do - I know. There are legal issues, political problems and conflicts of interests. But I know that it will happen anyway. Sooner or later. I know a few companies that start doing it - like publishing every contract they sign. They are exceptions, but exceptions that prove I'm right. So it's better to do it now than later.
Time For Investor Relations Departments To Go Social by Eric Savitz, Forbes
(image by Andreas Köster)