An investor-relations focused mobile application has been launched for companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Delivering share price updates, company news, charts and all other material public companies distribute as part of their regular investor relations program, ShareholderApp can be branded, customized and tailored for any company listed on the ASX, the platform is a value-added investor relations communications tool.
We caught up with Chris Muldoon, the Australian co-founder of New York-based ShareholderApp, for a quick Q&A.
Q. Why is it so important for companies to have an app?
A: The most important reason is that ShareholderApp gives companies a more connected relationship to their investors. You are now only one click away and, most importantly, you can now reach out to them with proactive notification alerts whenever you have important news.
Then there is the convenience factor, which was highlighted to me recently in a discussion I had with the head of IR at a major US business. He explained that the introduction of a mobile app was an obvious addition to his company?s IR program because they had 5 million shareholders globally. Research was telling him that a proportion of those investors would use a mobile app, so he simply gave them one. But he said the most surprising supporter and user of the app has been his Board of Directors. They love the fact that the company IR program is only ever one-click away, which is great whenever they need to check a fact or answer an unexpected question in an unlikely place like an airport lounge. It has given both the Board and the head of IR an added layer of comfort.
Q: Having an app seems like a no-brainer – why do you think so many companies have not gone down this path to date?
A: I would disagree. On a global scale, investor relations mobile apps are being developed at a rate that you would expect for a new technology that is being introduced to a relatively conservative management group. There are hundreds of companies with an app, with the larger companies and early adopters leading the way, as you would expect. Progress globally is certainly in line with our expectations but we understand that market education is still a big part of our role, as is listening to the needs of our clients and potential clients. I think most companies agree that an IR app is inevitable, it is just a matter of when. We think there will a tipping point, like there was with company websites 20-odd years ago.
The other point to highlight is that ShareholderApp is not just a great way for companies to build a better relationship with their investors, it is also great platform to communicate with fund managers, brokers, journalists, employees and, as I mentioned earlier, Board members.
Q: The power of ShareholderApp is its level of customization. At this stage, are you finding that clients are opting for simple, trading information or a more fully-informative version?
A: The key point to understand here is that ShareholderApp is not a replacement for your website. It is complementary. A mobile app is only one-click away from your shareholder and is therefore well-placed to deliver timely, sharp pieces of information such as trading data and company news. Whereas a company website will always be the passive platform for more ponderous and deeper company research, most likely on a laptop or desktop. But the app is the day-to-day link to your shareholder.
So in direct response to your question, we encourage our customers not to over-populate their mobile app with content but rather focus on delivering the more timely aspects of their IR program, such as price, charts, news, regulatory filings and company presentations.
Q: Where did your inspiration for the idea come from?
A: I have worked in investor relations and communications for many years, and it has always frustrated me at the number of gatekeepers and hurdles that are placed between a company and its investors when it comes to communicating. This is a platform that helps companies communicate in an unfiltered, pure environment. My inspiration was also backed up by some pretty compelling research, including the fact that 90% of a smart phone user?s Internet time is now spent inside mobile apps. The other amazing statistic is that the average user checks their smart phone 150 times a day, so it makes sense that your logo is on their screen.
The mobile application will be available in Australia as well as most other major global equity markets; ShareholderApp will be promoted and distributed in Australia by Melbourne-based IR firm, Market Connect. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org