Investing in precious metals: perspective from an investor relations professional
Kitco Commentaries | Opinions, Ideas and Markets Talk
Featuring views and opinions written by market professionals, not staff journalists.
By introduction, I am a marketer and communications strategist, but my emphasis is investor relations (IR) for precious metals and industrial companies. The first question should be, what is IR to the retail investor?
IR is a combination of public relations, financial communications and shareholder engagement. IR Officers (IRO) usually come from one of two backgrounds: Either the communications, PR side (Where I come from), or the financial and accounting side. Many IROs are on their way to becoming a CFO or even a CEO so they pick up different skills along the way, which provides the different emphasis in their work.
Every IRO approaches the position differently, so it helps to understand the viewpoint of the IRO when you contact them for information about the company you are investing in.
All IR departments should be focused on big and small shareholders alike and provide answers, clarification and material information to shareholders, analysts and prospective shareholders. But don't overstay the welcome, that is you can ask for too much of the IRO's time as well. Ultimately, a good IRO is trying to balance a thousand demands an hour from executives, shareholders, analysts and other stakeholders.
As an investor, how do you use the IROs to your advantage? Reach out to companies that you own shares in and get on their email list. Let the IRO know that you are a shareholder and what specific things are important to you. Follow the company on social media and follow the IRO's professional accounts.
Create Google Alerts to follow specific companies in the news as well as sectors. As an example, let's say you are investing in XYZ Resources with gold mines in Nevada and Mexico. You'll want to create Google Alerts for "XYZ Resources," "gold mining Nevada," and "gold mining Mexico."
The following list of key indicators are from questions that I received from individual investors during my two tenures as company IRO (now, as a consultant, I don't usually receive inbound questions from shareholders).
This is certainly not a complete checklist, but as an investor, you want to create your own list of key performance indicators that are important to you. When you become an active investor, you create an opportunity for your portfolio to be under your control, not just sitting under someone else's control.
Ira M. Gostin, MBA, APR is an investor relations, strategic marketing and communications consultant who helps companies of all sizes move the needle. He is the founder and chief strategist at G* Strategies LLC in Reno, Nev., and New York City. Ira was named the Most Influential Marketing Executive of the Year for Nevada in 2018 by Acquisition International magazine.