Archive for the 'Investor relations' Category

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange launches great investor relations (IR) drive

Congratulations to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (www.zimbabwe-stock-exchange.com) on its excellent new website, launched last month, including a very useful listed companies’ data terminal. This is good work by the ZSE team and Rob Stangroom’s work at African Investor Relations and related websites. The site opens up great access to a wide range of Zimbabwean listed companies annual reports, together with trading and other useful data.
Congratulating the ZSE, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance, the Honourable Tendai Biti commented: “The ZSE has come of age and it is moving in the right direction with this new functional data portal. It creates a platform for international investors to obtain the latest information on investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, and we are in effect, promoting and branding Zimbabwe properly as an attractive investment destination. There is now more transparency than ever before and stakeholders’ information requirements are being met.” This is quoted in the ZSE press release on the new system
According to a post by Rob: “The new Zimbabwe Stock Exchange website / data portal has a number of unique notable features not least of which is the complete availability of all corporate data, corporate actions and company information – all of it disseminated using push technology and social media (Twitter and Facebook). Notable is the Investorpass function supplied by B2i Technologies in the USA, which enables each registrant to have their own secure repository (for 7 years) of all communications received from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
“The new ZSE data portal has some handy online share charting tools for retail investors to compare the share price performance of the top 10 companies by market capitalization and any companies that are in the same sector. This may not seem significant other than the fact that information like this usually has to be paid for in Africa’s other stock exchanges.”
In the ZSE press release, Mrs Eve Gadzikwa, Chairperson of the ZSE, said: “The ZSE recognises the role of the Internet in communications in investor relations and, as part of our capacity building exercise, we are now able to respond to the needs of stakeholders who have been looking for a mechanism to obtain almost real-time information at the click of a button. Even though our organisation is a small institution, we are adopting a different approach in data dissemination which has meant a significant input into data collection, implementing functionality that ensures we achieve our objectives. We have teamed up with www.africanfinancials.com , Africa’s largest portal of online annual reports, to ensure that every annual report is available for viewing and download online immediately it is released. This is not something done in other markets. Compared with other data portal sites in Africa, ours is undoubtedly a notch above the rest.”
“Certainly, from a cost perspective, we can do away with hardcopy communications, which will save listed companies a significant amount of money and increase efficiency. On our side is international online investor relations precedent and best practice, high Internet penetration in Zimbabwe, so the pillars are there and it is a case of us getting online experience and taking it from there,” she said.
CEO of the SEC, Tafadzwa Chinamo, said he is impressed that the ZSE is now in control of its information and in charge of communicating relevant data to its stakeholders. “We can see that the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the ZSE’s online information dissemination is of a high standard and as a regulatory body, we look forward to the continued progress the Exchange will undoubtedly make in disseminating information timeously to all its stakeholders.”
According to Rob: “My involvement in online investor relations in Zimbabwe over the past 5 years has been rewarding and the launch of the ZSE Data Portal the pinnacle of this journey. I look forward to taking our integrated communications services to more listed companies and want to urge investors to consider Zimbabwean listed companies as an investment opportunity. In the ZSE Data Portal stakeholders in Zimbabwe now have a comprehensive tool to make more informed investment decisions.
Martin Matanda, Acting CEO of the ZSE, added: “The exchange is pursuing a bigger picture than just efficient information dissemination. It will be moving to a fully electronic communications’ platform.
View the ZSE data portal on www.zimbabwe-stock-exchange.com.
In January Rob’s team announced that stock exchange information was available on smart phones. The African IR App is a smartphone application that allows African stock-exchange-traded companies to optimize their investor relations (“IR”) content for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. The African IR App is powered by the IRapp™, the leading investor relations app platform engine. He said that 8%-10% of investor relations website traffic came from smartphones.

Egyptian Exchange holds workshops with mutual funds to boost liquidity

The Egyptian Exchange (www.egx.com.eg) is busy with workshops for mutual funds, investment banks and managers of investment institutions, aiming to boost trading volumes through better communications between market participants and listed companies.

Trading floor of Egyptian Exchange - Dec 2012  pic: Tom Minney

Trading floor of Egyptian Exchange – Dec 2012 pic: ACMN, Tom Minney

The workshops gave investor relations (IR) officials of the listed companies a chance to present their work plans and investment options and the fund managers could also discuss latest developments and current market variables.
According to an EGX press release, Dr. Mohammed Omran, EGX Chairman, said the EGX is keen to boost stock market liquidity. Fund managers praised the communication with listed companies and said it adds to the disclosure provided by EGX. It gives a legal framework for officials of listed companies to answer questions from the institutional investors.
This is a high priority in the current Egyptian economy where all market participants need to work hard to keep the Egyptian Exchange strong and active capital market in the short and medium term.

Broker supplies clients with faster African investor relations (IR) data

Another step forward for Africa-based investor relations (IR) specialist Rob Stangroom, who helps companies build excellent corporate IR websites and get their results out widely and quickly to investors. He gives African companies the chance to get up to speed with best global practice in making up-to-date transparent information available and accessible to investors, analysts, fund managers and the public.
Last week he announced that Zimbabwe-based stockbroker Lynton Edwards Securities (www.lynton-edwards.com) is using data direct from corporate IR websites to service clients’ information needs about Zimbabwe-listed companies. LES uses their own website to link corporate investor relations website data, news and corporate actions directly from the listed company websites.
According to Rob in a press announcement: “This model avoids the pitfalls of having to re-process investment data for brokers, who in Zimbabwe, have traditionally struggled with ensuring that the Internet is used to efficiently disseminate data to investors. A review of a few Zimbabwe-based broker websites shows out-of-date and incomplete information and the new LES website is a win-win situation for brokers and the listed companies covered.”
We know the problem of out-of-date and irrelevant African websites only too well. When will some African companies and securities markets realize that the Internet is their window the world, their highway to give information about what they are doing to investors?
Zimbabwean companies are facing pressure to increase shareholding by “indigenous” Zimbabweans, so Rob believes a good retail shareholder strategy “should be on the agenda for every listed company. Firstly, it makes commercial sense, it makes sense from a governance perspective and lastly, it’s a means of mitigating political risk.” He adds that it also benefits the stockbrokers, who give their clients what they need.
Rob manages www.africanfinancials.com, Africa’s largest free portal of online annual reports and he also blogs on www.africaniscool.com.

African Stock Exchanges summit – don’t miss it

Interest is building fast ahead of the upcoming African Stock Exchanges Association (www.africansea.org) meeting, to be held from 10-12 November in Livingstone and hosted by Zambia’s Lusaka Stock Exchange (www.luse.co.zm).
The theme is “Integration of the African Markets Through Technology”. Every year, this is the leading annual event on African capital markets and this year promises to be dynamic, as ASEA has new leadership and there is a huge wave of interest for investing into Africa which African securities exchanges need to prepare for urgently.
On the agenda are steps to integrate African markets and drive the liquidity and efficiency that domestic and international investors urgently need. Technology is likely to be at the forefront of the discussion, as elsewhere in the world as capital markets step up the rush for precedence.
A key player is Sri Lanka’s MillenniumIT, bought in 2009 by the London Stock Exchange. MillenniumIT CEO Tony Weerasinghe, who is the LSE’s Director of Global Development, will be at the conference to speak on “Creating a pan-African hub, for seamless trading, clearing and settlement.”
Other topics include:
• Drivers of liquidity
• Cross-border settlement
• Regional integration opportunities and challenges with experience from the East African Securities Exchanges
• Bond markets
• Perspectives from leading fund managers and stockbrokers investing into Africa
• Investor protection and capital markets governance
• Investor education (Maureen Dlamini, JSE)
• Role of technology and IT solutions
• South Asian Federation of Exchanges [SAFE]
• Harmonization of the financial sector and capital market development
There will also be chance for fun, cruises and lots of networking.
For the agenda click here, and for more details and registration click here (on www.luse.co.zm).

SA listed companies have to integrate sustainability reports

South Africa’s JSE stock exchange (www.jse.co.za) is requiring listed companies to integrate their sustainability reports with their annual reports, with effect from this month. According to a report in Business Day newspaper (www.businessday.co.za) Mervyn King, chairman of the King committee and a leading expert on governance, said: “SA is among the first countries in the world to require integrated reporting of listed companies. This puts us ahead of the game.”
The newspaper says there are still no set standards for companies’ integrated reporting, and Mr King will chair a new Integrated Reporting Committee to issue guidelines on good practice in integrated reporting.
The King Report on Corporate Governance in South Africa 2009 (King III) includes an integrated report disclosure checklist, effective March 2010, according its publication by Ernst & Young. Companies should apply this, or explain why they feel it approroriate not to apply or to apply it differently (“apply or explain”). An integrated report should contain “adequate information on the operations if the company, the sustainability issues pertinent to its business, the financial result and the results of its operations and cash flows”.
Jayne Mammatt, an associate director in governance and sustainability at Ernst & Young, was cited in the newspaper saying an integrated report should evaluate all areas of performance, including economic, social and environmental issues. It was not sufficient for companies to provide wordy platitudes and vague estimates, Ms Mammatt said. It cites a 2009 study by Ernst & Young showed that only a handful of 3,000 sustainability reports around the world were integrated.
Mr King is quoted as saying: “The corporate identity of companies has changed and so reporting has to change. Stakeholders need to make informed assessments about the longer-term sustainability of a company and that it is operating as a responsible corporate citizen.” The requirement is likely to make more work for companies.
The founding organisations of the committee include the Association for Savings and Investment SA, Business Unity SA, the Institute of Directors SA, the JSE and the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica). Graham Terry, Saica’s senior executive of strategy and thought leadership will chair a working group whose first task will be to develop a framework for integrated reporting.
Leon Campher, CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment, was quoted saying the project was considered a priority initiative, given the volumes of annual reports generated by the association’s members. “We have 153 member companies managing in excess of R2,5-trillion of assets. Integrated reporting will facilitate more holistic and meaningful reporting of financial results, enabling shareholders and clients to gain a better understanding of a company’s triple bottom line.”
Freda Evans, chief financial officer of the JSE, was quoted as saying: “Reporting on the financials alone is no longer sufficient, as all aspects of the business – environmental, social and governance aspects – affect the company’s bottom line.”
Saica CEO Matsobane Matlwa was cited: “Corporate reporting is entering a new era. Shareholders and other stakeholders need broader information to enable them to make more informed decisions about a company. This does not necessarily mean more detail, but greater insight into the strategy, risks and value creation of the company.”

LIVE FROM SECURITIES AFRICA/CITIGROUP 5TH ANNUAL AFRICAN INVESTMENT CONFERENCE, LONDON

African markets have seen a lot of volatility in the last 18 months. Worldwide investors first rushed out, then realized that many African businesses were not badly affected by the global financial crisis, and that African banks were not exposed to the same risks as international bans, and in some cases came back. The lesson learned by international investors is to prioritize liquidity as a way of managing risk. Leading African exchanges are seeking ways to offer liquidity, including widening the range of products on offer. Exchanges that cannot offer liquidity will tend to stay “off the map”.
Last night (15 March), African Capital Markets News editor chaired a panel discussion on African capital markets at the 5th Annual African Investment Conference in London, organized by stockbrokers Securities Africa and Citigroup Emerging Markets. Here are a few extracts from the discussions.

Upgraded website and African investing newsletter

The website www.africaniscool.com has been upgraded with a newsletter. According to CEO Rob Stangroom: “Our newsletter contains mostly original content and is targeted at investors, regulators and listed companies in Africa. Our goal is to increase awareness of issues related to online shareholder communications. Best of all, our Dilbert column provides the lighter side of investors, the internet and IR.
“Sign up to the newsletter on www.africaniscool.com – on the landing page. I look forward to your feedback. Cheers and thanks for your support.”
The site also includes a good blog by Rob, including interesting feedback on investor views on Africa after the visit by Christopher Hartland-Peel of London stockbroker Exotix (www.exotix.co.uk).

African investor on facebook

This networked world means using the web to spread the news for friends and colleagues. Hubert Danso, MD of African investor asked us to pass on this message:
“Dear Friends, Hope you’re well. This is a brief invitation for you to become a fan on our Africa investor facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Africa-Investor/149204237884?v=wall#
Look forward to connecting. Best. Hubert.”

Cool investor relations for securities exchanges and listed companies

Free information on African listed companies? There are three excellent sites which offer fine material and services on promoting investor relations, and feature an enticing line-up of online published annual reports of listed companies from all over Africa as well as many other useful tips and advice. The sites are www.africaniscool.com, www.africanshareholder.com and www.africanfinancials.com. Congrats to Rob Stangroom on a great initiative.
Here are some good words of advice to African stock exchanges, from the www.africaniscool.com blog. I hope Investor Relations and shareholder activism will feature strongly on the agenda at the upcoming African Stock Exchanges Association Conference (www.aseaabuja2009.com) on 2-4 December 2009 in Abuja, Nigeria.

10 Investor Relations Tips for African Stock Exchanges (from www.africaniscool.com) on 2 Oct 2009.

TIP 1:
Make it mandatory that annual reports be published online as soon as they are made available or posted to shareholders. Less than 30% of African annual reports are currently online!

TIP 2:
Require an IR contact to be clearly indicated on the company website or stock exchange website and require a maximum turn around time. Investors should have access to companies that they own. They usually don’t!

TIP 3:
Automate the publication of corporate actions online with free access to attachments. The JSE has been offering the SENS platform to African stock exchanges for years – why not use it? Investors need information to make educated investment decisions.

TIP 4:
Incorporate the core investor relations best practices into the listing rules. And name the companies that are not compliant. Why? It makes sense, and it creates value.

TIP 5:
De-list companies that should not be listed, i.e. those with very low free floats and low number of shareholders. They are not serving any purpose except adding to the apathy of other listed companies.

TIP 6:
Do not seek rents from investment data of listed companies. Africa can’t afford it. Monetising these data should happen later, after the value has been created.

TIP 7:
Host a mandatory annual investor presentation event and ensure that all companies participate. Make sure to follow up and disseminate the presentations online. Why? To increase awareness in directors that they have a duty to ensure information is available.

TIP 8:
Standardise minimum requirements for the investor relations sections of websites, and name those not complying. Why? To create awareness.

TIP 9:
Pay for an IR specialist to present to listed companies at least every 6 months to increase awareness.

TIP 10:
Have an active public investor education programme, co-funded by government. Typically governments have created the masses of shareholders by privatising former state-owned companies through the stock exchange. Therefore it should be a joint responsibility into ensuring these investors become meaningful participants