The SEC, Social Media and Investor Relations

Posted by on December 18th, 2012

This morning I had the opportunity to deliver a lecture on social media and investor relations to the Israeli Investor Relations Forum, a group of IR officers from prominent Israel’s companies including: Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Delek Group and many others.

Similar to U .S. public companies, Israel’s public companies that trade on the U.S. stock exchanges are struggling to find a way to incorporate social media into their shareholder communications. They realize social media is here to stay, but they question the necessity of social media given the concerns about Regulation Fair Disclosure.

I posited to the group that it took the SEC many years to acknowledge the corporate website as an acceptable means for disclosure of material information. As such, I suggested that the same will hold true for communicating through social media. There will be regulation, but it won’t take many years before the SEC regulates on this issue.

Note: I am about to write to the SEC regarding my thoughts on how to approach this issue as it is  already starting to become a problem for public companies (like Netflix).

The lecture concluded with my remarks asking the IR Forum to invite me back in a year or two so I could demonstrate my point that public companies need to develop a strategy and policy for social media investor communications. By that time, and hopefully with my assistance, the SEC will have issued guidance on social media and investor relations, allowing companies to embrace an important communications channel that is here to stay.