Here at costbasis.com we look at a lot of investor relations websites. We feel that the companies that supply useful, easily accessible information to their investors deserve to be recognized. And the companies that don't are urged to improve!
Here are some of the investor relations websites we like and the reason why:
1. Integrated Device Technology Inc (IDTI): For the Mergent investment calculator that defaults to the IPO date, shows the exact dates of all stock splits, calculates optional dividend reinvestments, and gives you a nice printout for your investment cost basis files. 2. BB&T Corp (BBT): For providing the stock exchange ratio for the many mergers they have had over the years and for posting the press releases going back more than ten years to facilitate research. 3. Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM): For providing a clear, concise, complete, easy-to-find listing of all their stock splits and dividends paid in stock. 4. Tessera Technologies Inc (TSRA): For telling you straight out in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section that there have not been any stock splits so you don't have to hunt for the information. 5. ArcSight Inc (ARST): For providing a Mergent calculator that defaults to the IPO date and for explicitly stating that there have not been any stock splits.
We also like to recognize service providers whose data or functionality significantly enhance investor relations websites:
Grand prize goes to Mergent for the best investment calculator.
Second place goes to SNL Financial for the comprehensive listing of stock splits/dividends and cash dividends they provide for the companies that subscribe to their service.
Raspberry awards go to:
1. Kraft Inc (KFT) for the multiple proration factors for the Cadbury merger based on when you submitted your Cadbury shares. Most companies set a fixed exchange factor for all late submissions. 2. Walt Disney Co (DIS) for not posting merger exchange ratio details. Instead they refer you to a cost basis calculation website where you must pay for information.
We also have some pet peeves about investor relations websites:
1. Stock splits not listed. 2. Press releases for only the last few years. 3. Not posting tax information statements for all the spinoffs that the company has had. 4. Investment calculators that don't show the dates and amounts of changes in the number of shares but instead just give you the ending number of shares. 5. Investment calculators that don't account for fractional shares that would not have been issued for stock splits (Celsion Corp.) 6. Investment calculators that have calendar options that start before the company was formed or publicly traded. Why not have the first date in the date selection option match the available data so that error messages are not produced? 7. Corporations that don't post an announcement of the exact prorations and exchange ratios on mergers with multiple election options. 8. Companies that don't respond to questions e-mailed to their investor relations department. 9. Companies that direct you to contact their stock transfer agent for all stock-related questions, even for general questions. In response to our question about the general history of stock splits for a corporation, Bank of NY Mellon sent a form letter that they can't respond without an account number for a specific shareholder. 10. Companies that don't maintain a website at all (BP Prudhoe Bay Trust.) 11. Bank of NY Mellon for not returning any of the multiple messages left on their voicemail requesting information on BP Prudhoe Bay Trust tax booklets. 12. Companies that don't post the past merger, spinoff, and stock split history for the companies that they acquire--the information just disappears. 13. Companies that only list the year or month for stock splits and not the exact date (Xerox.) 14. Companies that use such a dark background on their investor relations website information that the printouts are unreadable (Lufkin.) 15. Companies that don't provide both the record date and pay date for stock dividends. 16. Companies that provide only the announcement date for their stock splits, which is of little informational value (Hibbett Sports.) What you need to know is the record date and the pay date or ex-date. 17. Companies whose press releases list only the month and day and not the year in the header. 18. Press archives that must be looked up month by month rather than a listing of the entire year's news releases all on one page (StealthGas Inc-GASS). 19. Companies that list the same stock split or stock dividend more than once in their investment calculator or list of stock dividends, leading to investor confusion. 20. Companies that bury stock split/dividend announcements in the middle of press releases about another subject and don't put it in the heading. 21. Companies that try to hide their dirty laundry by posting press releases that go back only as far as a date after a reverse split, omitting information on the reverse split. 22. Companies that declare stock splits or stock dividends without issuing a press release about it. It makes it difficult for information providers such as costbasis.com to obtain the record date, pay date, and split ratio. 23. Companies that list dates for stock splits without specifying if the date is announcement date, ex-date, record date, or pay date. 24. Companies that post dates in their stock split history that do not agree to the original press release found on the web.