How the IR community is coming together during Covid-19
During the last two months we’ve heard some remarkable stories of companies pivoting their business model to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizer and many other forms of support during this crisis.
The same is true in the investor relations industry, where companies have offered additional services, complimentary services or extraordinary support to IR teams, finance teams and the wider community. This article provides a list of the above-and-beyond work being done by so many to help public companies navigate the Covid-19 crisis.
To pull this list together, we emailed more than 2,500 individuals to ask for input. Inevitably, however, individual names and worthy initiatives may have been missed so if you would like to contribute to this story, please send a pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org. All listings are alphabetical by company/organization name.
- Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA) – Hosting the IR Support Package on its website. This is an initiative from nine service providers offering discounted services to support the IR community. The specific company initiatives are included in this list.
- Balyasny Asset Management – The company’s management team initially donated $550,000 to 25 organizations concerned with supporting frontline workers, producing PPE and helping food banks and the elderly. Through an employee-matching scheme, which more than 350 employees participated in, the firm has now donated more than $1,025,000.
- Business Wire – Providing complimentary press releases to companies and organizations specifically donating money, shelter, services or other support in the effort to contain the spread and repercussions of Covid-19. As of late April, Business Wire had donated more than 300 releases.
- Chorus Call Australia and Chorus Call New Zealand – Offering a 25 percent discount on a company’s first conference call or webcast, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- Designate – Offering a 30 percent discount on a corporate narrative workshop, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- EQS Group Asia – Donated more than 3,000 protective masks to the the town of Aberdeen in Hong Kong, as well as the Pok Oi Hospital.
- First Advisers – Offering a range of discounted services, including surveillance, crisis communication support, investor relations support and annual report design, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- Forum 360 – Offering AIRA members three events during the first three months on its virtual events platform, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- Glass Lewis – Removed a $2,000 fee associated with issuers providing feedback on Glass Lewis reports. Company opinions will be integrated into reports, with more than 400 companies committing to this in April. Glass Lewis also changed its in-season policy practice, by making its head of research’s policy notes publicly available. These have included statements on virtual meetings, anticipated challenges Glass Lewis expects issuers to face in the coming months and a new position that it will support poison pills implemented for a year or less during the crisis.
- Global Governance Advisors – Providing an 80 percent-90 percent discount on its digital boardroom platform until the end of 2020. Users are given a 30-day trial. Next year the discount will be 35 percent of the pre-Covid-19 price.
- Harbor Access – Providing heavily discounted fees to all clients and free services to small-cap companies that need help adjusting their current IR strategy in the wake of Covid-19.
- Listcorp – Providing complimentary access to its digital publishing, distribution and data analytics platform for 12 months, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- Mediant – Helping issuers to host virtual annual meetings, regardless of whether Mediant is the master tabulator or whether proxy materials have already been filed.
- Merlin IR – Offering a 30 percent discount on consulting services and board reports until September 30, 2020, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative. Further discounts may be available.
- Morrow Sodali – Offering AIRA members a free 30-minute governance review or phone call to discuss issues that may affect companies during their next AGM, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative. Morrow Sodali is also providing additional discounted services in Spain, including campaigns to retail shareholders informing them of how to vote by electronic means.
- MZ Group – Launched MZ Assist to help clients apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), using its knowledge of the Small Business Administration loan application process. The initiative had helped companies raise $9 mn in PPP funding as of April 30.
- Nasdaq – Offering unlimited seats at no cost to all existing Boardvantage and Directors Desk customers. Nasdaq is also helping to amplify its listed companies’ philanthropic efforts by providing more than $1 mn worth of advertising resources across social media, digital campaigns and the Nasdaq MarketSite Tower in Times Square. The exchange has donated more than $6 mn to support a variety of Covid-19-related organizations, and a further $400,000 through a corporate matching scheme.
- NYSE – Launched its gratitude campaign, which highlights the work its listed companies are doing to provide support and relief during the Covid-19 crisis.
- OTC Markets – Offering a 30 percent discount for AIRA’s issuer members to participate in an upcoming virtual conference, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- Pulse Advisor – Company founder Tom Yen is used to thinking about data processing of CRM systems, but during April he launched MyNanai, a virtual babysitting platform to help recent work-from-home parents (including himself and his wife). MyNanai includes virtual events and learning tools.
- Retorix – Offering a range of investor relations and governance consulting services at a 30 percent discount, as part of AIRA’s IR Support Package initiative.
- Rivel Research – Provided complimentary access to its Executive Intelligence Council’s Rapid Action Research to all IR and governance professionals. More than 700 companies have used the service, which enables companies to ask critical questions of other issuers and get a significant number of responses within 24 to 48 hours. Rivel Research has also hosted a number of virtual exchange meetings, where IR professionals can discuss challenges in a virtual meeting format.
- Solebury Trout – Launched a virtual global healthcare conference series and virtual management access calls, which have helped to connect 50 companies with more than 1,000 investors. The company continues to consult issuers on IPOs and recently helped with the first virtual-only IPO roadshow.
- Toppan Merrill – Launched the #TogetherWeCan campaign, which has contributed a number of noteworthy social and business initiatives. In New Jersey, Toppan Merrill employees contacted a school superintendent to raise money for computers and to assist with printing student learning packets, following a news story that teachers were returning to school to print materials. Toppan Merrill also provided the funds for a former client to convert its distillery into a facility to create hand sanitizer, had employees help clients stuff envelopes for a large mailer and supported clients through the CARES Act provisions and SEC guidelines.