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 invesment 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. 6. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: They may have missed Madoff but they do some things right such as maintaining an internet database of all SEC filings back to 1995 including all defunct and merged companies so that cost basis research is possible.
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. Berkshire Hathaway for not posting the exact exchange ratios and prorations for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe merger so that you can audit your broker/dealer's calculations.
We also have some pet peeves about investor relations websites:
1. Companies that don't list their stock splits. 2. Companies that post their press releases for only the last few years. 3. Companies that don't post tax information statements on their website 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. 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 who 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. Press releases that list only the month and day but not the year they were issued. 17. Press releases that are undated. 18. Companies that bury their reverse stock splits by not putting it in the title of the press release or by not posting a press release at all.