Goodbye quarterly earnings, hello long-termism. Or so some hope.
While the 2018 earnings season is in the rearview mirror, the debate around how and when companies report will likely continue in 2019.
Late last year, the SEC published a request for comment on the ‘nature and timing of disclosures that public companies are required to provide.’ The SEC’s objective is to eliminate ‘administrative burdens’ while at the same time ensuring transparency – in terms of both frequency and content. This also includes understanding how the reporting framework affects corporate decision-making and strategy, with a focus on how the current quarterly cycle may have encouraged short-termism among management and investors.
Whether the SEC sticks with quarterly reporting or moves to a different model, earnings announcements remain a mainstay of IR – an inflection point to broadly and clearly communicate your company’s message. As you assess your approach to earnings, you may want to consider some of these best practices:
- Earnings materials should be more than just numbers. Your release and call should provide context on key drivers of performance and what they mean for future performance in relation to your company’s strategy.
- Incorporate tables or infographics where possible. They extend your reach and allow investors and analysts to absorb key themes and concepts in a single glance.
- Understand what is going on in your industry. With the sell-side under pressure, investors are looking to IR for the big picture and how it does or does not relate to your company’s performance and outlook.
- Dedicate the time for Q&A prep. Both the IRO and C-suite benefit from plenty of rehearsal.
- End your call with a strong message. Too many earnings calls fizzle out on the last topic raised by an analyst. Instead, seize the opportunity to reiterate the headline themes.
- Proactively reach out to the sell side and top investors ASAP after the call. Work your way down the list to address questions and solicit feedback. If nothing else, everyone appreciates the check-in.
The SEC deadline for comment is March 21st. How would you feel about getting off the quarterly rollercoaster? Would it promote long-termism or make it harder to be heard? Watch this space.
Looking ahead to the spring, our program line-up will address other hot topics:
- April 4th: Our next Strategic IRO panel will look at the growing impact of MiFID II on corporate access. We’ll have BlackRock and T Rowe Price representing the buy-side along with UBS and Baird from the sell-side.
- May 17th: Our 5th annual half-day event will be an IRO workshop at the NYSE, featuring deep-dive exercises in formulating a best-in-class IR program.
- June 2nd: Our annual chapter reception at the NIRI Annual Conference in Phoenix. More details to come!
As always, remember to stay connected with the NIRI NY chapter by following us on Twitter, LinkedIn and checking out the latest information on our website.
All the best,
Katie Royce, CFA
President, NIRI New York Chapter