Bloomberg: Investor Relations Leaders to Debate SEC's Latest Ruling on Social Media for Financial Disclosure
NEW YORK, NY, April 19 - The recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approval of expanded use of social media for the dissemination of corporate news has unleashed a high-level debate among publicly-held companies, financial industry influencers, and journalists over whether revealing earnings reports and other disclosures via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms will achieve what investors want and need in terms of transparency and sufficient information. On April 24, leaders from publiccompanies, disclosure wire services and both NASDAQ and the NYSE will discuss the issues in a forum hosted by daily e-news source, CommPRO.biz. This on-demand event will be posted on CommPRO.biz on May 1.
The event is being co-hosted by CommPRO and Onstream Media, a webcasting and service provider for SEC-regulated companies and will be held at the AXA Equitable Center, a NYC-based multimedia broadcast & webcast venue for Fortune500 companies and independent media producers. The event "Social Media and the SEC's Latest Ruling: Where Do We Go from Here?" panelists include:
Business Wire - Cathy Baron Tamraz, Chairman and CEO
KCSA/theIRapp™ - Jeff Corbin, CEO
Marketwired - Michael Nowlan, President and CEO
NASDAQ OMX - Adam T. Ross, Vice President, Product Development, Strategy and Management
NYSE - Judith C. McLevey, Vice President, Head of Corporate Actions and Market Watch, Global Corporate Client Group, NYSE Euronext
PR Newswire -- John Viglotti, Vice President, Investor Relations Products and Services
StockR, Inc. - Vinny Jindal, CEO and Co-Founder
CommPRO contributor and seasoned investor relations analyst, Gene Marbach, will moderate the one-hour forum. A studio audience comprised of seniorinvestor relations officers from publicly-held companies and financial news industry journalists and is by invitation only. The event will be held in theAXA Equitable Center's media studio, recorded and edited for on-demand viewing beginning May 1 on CommPRO.biz.
The SEC guidance issued on April 2, 2013 permits public companies to disclose material information such as earnings through social channels - such as Facebook and Twitter - as long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information. The SEC guidance came about as a result of its investigation into information posted by Reed Hastings (Netflix's CEO) on his personal Facebook page that contained material information regarding Netflix's performance. The CommPRO panel will explore the good, the bad and the expected impact this guidance may have on disclosure and the investing public.
Does this move allow companies to bury bad news in technology that investors don't use for a variety of reasons including privacy? "While the SEC says it is OK to use social media, it also reminds companies that they must inform investors first how they plan to use it," says Fay Shapiro, publisher and executive editor of CommPRO. "If investors are not on Twitter or Facebook and have no intention of trying to learn how to use social media, then this likely will be way more of a challenge for investors than for a public company."
The last time the SEC issued fair disclosure guidance was in August 2008. "At that time, the SEC basically approved the use of corporate websites as an acceptable means to accomplish disclosure of material information," says Jeff Corbin, KCSA/IRapp CEO and author of Investor Relations: The Art ofCommunicating Value. "The world and technology, since then, havesignificantly changed; websites are table stakes in corporate communicationand mobile devices and social media usage has exploded to the point that they are here to stay as a primary means of communicating news and information." Corbin also advises that companies should not only acknowledge this but shouldembrace the importance of these new media as a primary way to communicate. And it confirms that as times and technology change, organizations like the SEC are willing to listen and can sometimes be provocative and amenable in embracing new ideas.
Notwithstanding this, additional clarity and guidance is still required. TheApril 24 CommPRO forum convenes the financial disclosure industry's leading experts to discuss the practices a public company should employ to ensure compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure when using social media. The feedback from the forum will be provided to the SEC for further consideration.
The forum will be archived and available online, on-demand immediately following the event on May 1. Advance registration for the on-demand event will be available Monday, April 21, on CommPRO.biz
About the SEC Report:
The SEC report of investigation explains that although every case must beevaluated on its own facts, disclosure of material, nonpublic information on the personal social media site of an individual corporate officer - without advance notice to investors that the site may be used for this purpose - isunlikely to qualify as an acceptable method of disclosure under the securitieslaws. Personal social media sites of individuals employed by a public company would not ordinarily be assumed to be channels through which the company would disclose material corporate information.
The SEC's full report can be found
About the Sponsors:
Onstream Media Corporation (OTCQB: ONSM), is a leading online service provider of live and on-demand corporate audio and web communications and virtual event technology with integrated social media marketing tools. Onstream Media's innovative Digital Media Services Platform (DMSP) provides customers with cost effective tools for encoding, managing, indexing, and publishing content via the Internet. The company's MarketPlace365® solution enables publishers, associations, tradeshow promoters and entrepreneurs to rapidly and cost effectively self-deploy their own online virtual marketplaces. In addition, Onstream Media provides live and on-demand webcasting, webinars, web and audio conferencing services. To date, almost half of the Fortune 1000 companies and 78% of the Fortune 100 CEOs and CFOs have used Onstream Media's services. Select Onstream Media customers include AAA, Dell, Disney, Georgetown University, National Press Club, PR Newswire, Shareholder.com (NASDAQ), Sony Pictures, and the U.S. Government. Onstream Media's strategic relationships include Akamai, BT Conferencing, and Trade Show News Network (TSNN). For more information, visit Onstream Media at http://www.onstreammedia.com or call 954-917-6655.
An acronym for "Communications Professional Resources Online," CommPRO.biz is the destination for the answers marketing communications professionals need to be successful, whether they're in public relations, investor relations, corporate communications, marketing, advertising or social media.
About the Venue:
AXA Equitable Center
The AXA Equitable Center features a 487-seat theater, a grand atrium reception space and studio broadcast/webcasting facilities located in midtown Manhattan. Equipped with comprehensive audio/visual capabilities, the Center offers the advantages of a modern theater while maintaining an intimate environment. The multi-camera studio has global-ready transmission, webcast, and teleconference options. The Center is managed by the AXA Equitable Production Group, an on-site coordination and technical team that provides a client-friendly experience to assist with event demands and media production on-site or at remote locations.
With a history of more than 20 years of hosting high-level events, the AXA Equitable Center supports groups ranging from town hall meetings, corporate announcements, press conferences, shareholders' meetings, receptions, film premieres and global broadcasts. For more information, contact the AXA Equitable Center at 212-314-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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