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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Standardise minimum requirements for the investor relations sections of websites, and name those not complying. Why? To create awareness.
Pay for an IR specialist to present to listed companies at least every 6 months to increase awareness.
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