When we think about these much needed but ideally ‘invisible’ tools, we tend to think first of our good friends and colleagues at Ellen Philip Associates. In the ‘old days’ when your editor ran a big shareholder servicing business, he accidentally discovered that they were the “secret weapon” that allowed our in-house I-T people to seemingly pull all those rabbits out of a hat when a client wanted something previously unheard of, or when there was some other data processing crisis or time-crunch. So if you have a bunch of files...from a mixed bag of vendors...and need to somehow mix, match and smash the records together, to get something in the mail in a hurry, and process it seamlessly when it comes back...think of them.
We have also been very pleased to watch the continued success of EZ On-line Documents, which offers a service to convert and convey important data from paper documents like your 10-k or 10-q to the web – and to tablets and mobile devices…where many ‘online documents’ somehow fail to translate properly.
Regular readers know that we’ve been preaching fire and brimstone about the need to make those E-delivered documents much more reader friendly than the kinds of “stuff” that most companies put out. One of our biggest fears was that reader disgust upon opening the average e-delivered package would ‘kill the goose’ bearing the potentially golden egg of cost savings here.
Another, still worrisome issue, is the almost certain loss of individual investor VOTES when e-deliveries are ignored or automatically deleted by dismayed recipients, or by those without the computer firepower that so many e-deliveries require if one is to read them.
Accordingly, we are very happy to introduce Tangelo Software to the readers of this issue. We see this as a MAJOR breakthrough in terms of allowing public companies to quickly, easily and very cost-effectively produce important financial documents - such as proxy statements, earnings statements, annual and special reports – in a wide variety of formats, with very robust controls over accuracy.
And while we’re on the subject of data conversion and data handling , we couldn’t possibly fail to mention our friends and colleagues at Broadridge Financial Solutions for their truly amazing accuracy, scope, size, speed and overall dependability – and to note their very compelling message that for many companies, in today’s deadline oriented but over-busy environment, having “one source” for centralization, coordination, production and control of shareholder related data and transaction processing is a very hard proposition to beat.
Our advice is to think long and hard about ways to improve the distribution of your shareholder-oriented materials - and how to assure that they are as readable, and as engaging as possible - and that the technology works smoothly and seamlessly, over any device a shareholder may have, and want to use...especially if you want to maximize your usually friendly retail vote. Also, while all the technologies we cover are easy to implement - when you use the right mix of suppliers - it does take a bit of “quality time” to do a quality job...so plan ahead!