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RETURN TO AIMZINE NEWSLETTER HOME |September 2008
Meet the AIM Players
This article is the first in a series of articles about the various players in the AIM market. The articles will be an introduction to what these people do. Over the coming months we will be looking at the role of most, if not all, of these ‘players’:-
Well that is 13 ‘players’ – a football team of them, with a couple of ‘subs’ and no doubt we will have forgotten someone. Please let us know if you think we have.
At Aimzine, as investors, we think that we have a pretty good idea what most of our players do, but we have never tested our ideas nor have we tried to understand the particular issues which these people face. So, each month we will meet up with a representative company and find out more about life from their angle.
Well that is 13 Players
- a football team of them
with a couple of 'subs'
|Financial Public Relations|
Today, we are starting this series of articles with the Financial Public Relations Company. We are grateful for the assistance given to us one such PR company, St Brides Media & Finance Ltd. Later in the article, we give some background to St Brides and its people.
The majority of AIM listed companies use Financial PR companies. Usually, the PR companies are paid a monthly fee for an on-going service. The actual level of service depends on the client’s requirements. For example, the St Brides website lists the following services that they can provide for companies:-
We asked Isabel Crossley of St Brides how much an AIM listed company pays for their Financial PR service. Isabel anticipated that most small companies should expect to pay between £2000 and £5000 per month depending on the agency approached. On top of these fees there may also be one-off costs for special projects. Generally, the PR Company will develop a strategy for each year, with the quoted company, centred on its financial calendar and perhaps specific goals.
So, briefly, what value do AIM companies get for these fees? Isabel explains that the Financial PR companies are experts in the AIM marketplace and that by employing a PR company, it allows the Directors of the AIM Company to concentrate on their own business and leave much of the worry of the market to the PR Company.
PR Companies and Investors
This is all well and good, but how do PR companies affect investors? Ultimately, the PR Company’s aim is to encourage investors to invest in a company and hence support and improve the share price - that certainly affects investors. A look at some of the key services PR companies provide will serve to illustrate how they work to increase awareness and improve the standing of their clients.
Take Financial Communications for example. A high percentage of RNS statements are written by the Financial PR company under guidance from the company. These statements are vital to share price performance and a badly worded statement can have a serious detrimental effect on a share – see Aimzine article last month on RNS Speak. Investors may notice a that a PR Company’s details along with a contact name will appear on the foot of an RNS statement – have you ever rang the PR company’s number? We had not, until we launched Aimzine.
In fact, moving on to Media Relations, the day after we started publicising Aimzine, we started receiving emails and calls from Financial PR companies. Did we want to feature one of their companies?
Certainly, the PR companies we have dealt with so far have been very helpful to us. I rang one the other day to arrange an interview with a company we are planning to feature in the October Aimzine. ‘Shall I contact the CEO or will you?’, I asked. The charming lady replied “Oh, that’s all right I will call him – I know how to pester our CEO’s”. Aimzine is only one brick in the media wall and a good PR company will need to ensure that their companies get at least their fair share of good coverage.
Investors may also encounter the Investor Relations work of PR companies at events such as the Master Investor show or the Growth Company Investor show or perhaps at a Private Client Broker presentation. The PR company may also introduce a company to a Fund Manager leading hopefully to the purchase of shares.
Generally, a good PR company will know the market well and have good connections. Because of this, some PR companies also get involved in consultancy and may be involved in corporate actions. It should be noted that, unlike Brokers and Nomads, the PR companies are NOT currently regulated by the FSA. However, this freedom may be short lived as the regulation of PR companies is currently under review.
One final example of a PR company’s services is in web site design and content management. AIM companies are required by AIM Rule 26 to have certain minimum content available “free of charge” on their website. The PR company may design and/or maintain the whole of the company’s website or just the Investor Relations section. If you ever write to the company’s ‘info’ email address on their website, there is a very good chance that your email will be received and dealt with by the PR company.
So, back to our first question, How do PR companies affect investors? Our answer would be – ‘Considerably’. Next time you read an RNS statement from a company in which you hold shares, consider the statement: Is it well written and does it put the company in a good light? If the answer is ‘No’ perhaps you need to tell your company that they need to get a good Financial PR Company involved. If you attend an AGM, why not ask the question ‘what is the company’s PR strategy’ – the directors may hope there is someone from the PR Company in the room to answer that one!
St Brides Media & Finance
The above piece is by way of an introduction to the role of the Financial PR company. We are grateful to St Brides Media & Finance for talking us through their role.
We met earlier this month with Isabel Crossley and Hugo De Salis, the co-founders of St Brides. Hugo and Isabel set up the company in 2001 and it is now run from some charming offices in Bow Lane, just down the road from St Paul’s Cathedral. The company’s name comes from another church, ‘St Brides’ – the attractive London landmark, known as ‘the church of the press’ due to its location on Fleet Street.
Today, after 7 years of operation, St Brides has 8 experienced professionals who look after some 40 client companies. These companies range across various market sectors from natural resources and technology to media and property, with market caps ranging from £3 million to £300 million. Most of the companies are listed on AIM, although a few are PLUS companies. One client of St Brides, Private & Commercial Finance, is featured elsewhere in this edition of Aimzine.
We asked Isabel and Hugo what were the important skills that they bring to their clients. They felt that ‘their knowledge of the AIM marketplace along with their contacts and experience’ were particularly important factors. They also put great emphasis on client contact and understanding.
However, St Brides are not the only good Financial PR Company. There are several companies that serve the AIM market, some of which specialise in smaller companies. These include names such as Redleaf, Conduit, Park Green, Bishopsgate, Bucannon, Pelham, Abchurch, Icis and Tavistock. Look out for these names involved in your AIM companies.
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Written by Michael & Carol Crockett
Copyright Aimzine Ltd
We are grateful for the
assistance given to us
by one such PR company,
St Brides Media &
a badly worded statement
can have a serious detrimental
effect on a share