Understanding the Tools and Systems for an Efficient Investor Relations Program

As investor relations has evolved over the past decade as an increasingly specialised profession , tools and systems have proliferated to assist Investor Relations Officers (IROs) to become more efficient, effective and answerable. 

Through the collection and manipulation of vast amounts of data, these tools now provide services that IROs traditionally tapped stockbrokers, corporate advisors and shareholder registrars for; such as ownership analysis, consensus forecasts, investor targeting and roadshow management. They also provide user friendly CRM tools for efficiently recording and utilising shareholder engagement information.

The three main providers are Bloomberg, Nasdaq (having acquired the Thomson Reuters platform) and Orient Capital. While they all essentially offer a similar product, each has its own unique IR/PR/media focused tools with both Bloomberg and Nasdaq in the process of rolling out upgrades and new functions. We have captured some of these below.

Bloomberg IR

Bloomberg’s strength is undoubtedly the richness of its real-time data, news and analysis. The key is knowing how to access it and while training is always available, it ultimately requires time to work it all out.

Ownership data for ASX-listed companies is limited given it is based solely on publicly available information. Although if you are heading to any of the major markets around the world, there is no match for the detail it provides on company ownership, investors and funds. You can also combine this information with fundamentals-based targeting to come up with a pretty smart hit list.

Being terminal-bound is one potential drawback, although they do also offer Bloomberg Anywhere which is accessible via your tablet or smart phone. This includes CRM capability for providing good intel on your next meeting or board report.
Some of the neat new functions are dynamic analyst consensus tables, which can be adjusted by removing outliers or dated forecasts; and transcripts from investor calls from which you can search for questions by analyst or topic, most useful for Q&A preparation.

It is also an aggregator of news from a number of sources including the AFR and its team of analysts provide unique analysis of different industry sectors, albeit with a global slant. Based across different time zones, there is always someone on hand to help.

Nasdaq IR Insights (formerly Thomson ONE)

IR Insights, due to launch in December, runs off a single web-based platform available via desktop, mobile or tablet (the mobile version tailored for using on the road). The user interface has been upgraded and their engineers will help you create your own desktop to capture key information.

A neat function is that even when offline, meeting notes can be captured and then automatically uploaded later. As with Bloomberg, you have access to news feeds (including AAP and Reuters) and call transcripts, but you can also use the location-based service to identify the nearest suitable investor target on the fly to fill last-minute cancellations.
IR Insights provides access to broker notes for your client and its peers, although this requires permission from each broker to host their reports, so won’t necessarily provide the full suite. Another unique feature is a corporate calendar for keeping track of peer reporting dates.

Like Bloomberg, much of the value is in its historical and real-time global data, and you can design your own analyst consensus matrix and board reports which are automatically updated. But IR Insights also has its own proprietary investor targeting tools based on previous trading patterns, which predict which investors are most likely to be buying or selling your stock.

Orient Capital’s Miraqle

Launched in 1999, Miraqle was the first web-based investor database and investor relations management tool available, so has evolved with the growing needs of the IRO over time. With three quarters of the ASX 300 using their share registry services, the quality of ownership analysis for ASX-listed companies is undoubtedly a differentiator.

It’s no surprise therefore that the investment banks often recommend companies use Orient during entitlements offers and corporate transactions, due to the depth and accuracy of share allocation information and turnaround times in producing register updates.

It also means for investor targeting purposes that their aggregated information on your ASX-listed peers has more substance when compared to publicly available information. Through its relationship with Factset, ownership data in other markets is also available. However, Miraqle doesn’t allow for more fundamentals-driven analysis to be included in the mix.

It is a web-based platform and has CRM capability which is mobile-enabled (although as an additional option) and can generate bespoke reports. Its team of researchers provide 24/7 support but are primarily responsible for ensuring the analyst, investor and media contact lists you create are always up to date. Like IR Insights, Miraqle has distribution capability for issuing announcements and event invitations which links straight to the CRM tool.

Conclusion

With price points in the same ball park (depending on the level of engagement) and given the overlapping nature of their services, engaging more than one of these abovementioned systems simultaneously would be duplicative and costly.

So which one to go for? Ultimately this will come down to personal choice based on your requirements, so it’s worth researching the various products in more detail and talking to fellow IROs who have experience using them regularly.

Which ever way you decide to go, there is no doubt that all three have created products which are helping IROs get a lot more value out of their, and their management team’s, time.