Investors expecting more from online services

AIRA survey finds increasing use of online services by retail investors, with social media emerging as an influential factor

IT departments in publicly listed companies will need to ensure their online investor services are top notch according to a survey by the Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA).

The survey found that aside from regular updates, easy navigation and the ability to print web pages, retail investors are increasingly expecting listed company websites to provide services such as email alerts and RSS feeds along with a mobile version.

Notably, 28 per cent of respondents want an email about announcements immediately after it is made while 32 per cent of investors expected to receive an email within an hour.

“We conducted this research to help AIRA members understand how retail investors are using electronic communications,” AIRA CEO, Ian Matheson, said in a statement. “In the survey results we see strong growth in the number of retail investors using online sources for investment information. 54 per cent of retail investor respondents said that electronic communication had become more important or much more important to them in the last twelve months.

“Retail investors have higher expectations of listed entity electronic communications than when we last conducted this survey in 2007. Ease of access to information and timely delivery of email notifications are important.”

The most important online vehicles for investor information remained the same as the last survey in 2007 with the ASX website and listed company websites topping the list.

However, when it came to social media, Google Finance and Yahoo Finance were the most popular channels with 18 and 24 per cent of respondents respectively using them.

Information found through social media channels influenced the investment decisions of 11 per cent while seven per cent said they monitor social media.

Other findings include:

  • When it came to webcasts investors rated synchronised PowerPoint slides (60 per cent), transcripts (59 per cent) and Q&A Functionality (52 per cent) as the most important features.
  • Email is a preferred form of communication when it comes to receiving share registry forms (82 per cent), annual meeting presentations (80 per cent), meeting or proxy forms (76 per cent), dividend advice (62 per cent) and annual reports or shareholder reviews (73 per cent).

The findings reflect the growing use of online services noted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In its most recent Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business report based on the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS), the ABS said an additional 25,000 businesses received orders over the Internet in the last financial year compared to the 2007-08 period.

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Tags tech investmentAustralian Securities Exchange (ASX)Australian Investor Relations Association (AIRA)

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