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IR In Focus: Survey of Global Public Companies Finds IR Professionals Ready to Engage Investors with Mobile Technologies — IROs Still See Barriers to Executing Mobile IR Strategies and Publishing Apps

Investor relations professionals at public companies plan to embrace mobile technologies and incorporate them into their communications strategies this year, according to a survey conducted by theIRapp, the investor relations app building technology platform that allows public companies to optimize their IR content for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices.

As part of theIRapp's work to help the IR industry understand and embrace new technology, the company surveyed more than 100 IROs during the course of January, 2013. The study gathered opinions and thoughts on how these professionals view the importance of mobile technology to their work communicating with investors, and how they plan to incorporate it this year and in the future. The IR executives offering insight covered small, medium and large market capitalization companies across diverse industries. Notable names of companies responding to the survey include McDonald's, Urban Outfitters and Hewlett Packard.

Survey results showed:

  • 88% of IROs recognize the importance of mobile to their work as communications professionals and believe that public companies need to develop a mobile IR strategy in the coming year(s);
  • 57% of IROs believe investors now require faster access to IR content via mobile devices as compared to traditional sources.

Notwithstanding the above findings, more than 78% of companies currently do not use mobile devices for their IR communications.

With respect to their views on the landscape of mobile IR, the IROs surveyed said the following:

  • 91% believe the same amount or more companies will consider publishing an investor relations app this year;
  • 41% do not want to be first in their industry; they want to see other companies publish an IR app;
  • 21% want to follow the leaders; they want to see larger companies publish IR apps first;
  • 38% think investors are still tied to their desktops; they want to see deeper adoption of mobile devices across their investor base before embarking on a mobile strategy;
  • 67% think the SEC will react in the near future to the use of mobile technologies/apps for investor communications and for Reg FD disclosure purposes ;
  • 35% have not implemented a mobile strategy because of budgetary constraints.

Qualitatively, IROs surveyed believe that more companies will launch IR apps and mobile strategies in 2013:

  • Because they want to enhance their communications with investors and stay current with technological advances;
  • Because they are looking for ways to be more transparent;
  • When more prevalent and reliable wireless connectivity exists;
  • To expand their investor base, particularly with individual/retail investors.

"The use of mobile technology and IR apps in communications is a new and emerging category," said Jeff Corbin, co-founder of theIRapp, in a news release. "Companies are only beginning to recognize the power of mobile to shareholder engagement and communications as can be seen by the fact that today only approximately 100 native IR apps can be found in Apple's App Store and the Google Play Market. While these tend to belong to larger corporations like Walmart, Marathon Oil and Campbell's Soup, companies with smaller market capitalizations are also starting to embrace IR apps as a way to communicate with their investors who increasingly are on the go and not tied to their office desktop."

He continued, "We now find ourselves at a very exciting time in the IR industry.  There is a complete paradigm shift underway with respect to how people communicate with each other. To the extent mobile technologies offer companies the ability to push information and engage directly with investors via their very personal mobile device, the IR industry must consider and rethink how investors are now consuming information."

"In or around 2000, the IR section of the corporate website was a nice to have and was unregulated by the SEC. Now it is an accepted means through which to communicate and every company must have one. Given what we have seen over the past couple of years with the proliferation of mobile, and as was confirmed by theIRapp's survey, no one can question that mobile devices and apps are here to stay and just as the IR section of the corporate website is now a must have, so too will be the case with IR apps."

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