Who needs press releases anyway?
BGC Partners apparently does not. The self-described global full-service inter-dealer broker of financial instruments issued this announcement on Tuesday (via press release on the PRNewswire press release service, of course):
In compliance with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent guidance regarding “notice-and-access” news releases, the company plans to discontinue issuance of full-text financial news releases via a wire service and will issue only advisory press releases notifying investors when new and material information is available on its websites.
This came out a few hours after General Motors used its website to disclose news that some people might think material: It is cutting 10,000 jobs. There was no press release issued through the normal distribution services.
And then Molson Coors stucksome of its results tables on its website rather than in its press release.
Do three opaque acts in 24 hours equal one clear trend? We fear as much.
We’re not saying reporters should be so lazy as to expect everything to show up on the press release wires. But PRNewswire and BusinessWire do exist for the disclosure of important information that is supposed to reach recipients simultaneously. That way, everyone gets to make their bets and win and lose money with equal abandon.
There may be some arguments for a company to scale back on wide distribution of press releases. After all, PRN and BW charge for issuing them, and every penny counts in Corporate America in these hard times. The Web also is a good place to make information perpetually available.
BUT…. at a time when the economic crisis makes clear delivery of information more important than ever, and money scandals and mismanagement are tearing up the old order of the financial world, is it really the best time to tell people that information they used to be able to get at once on an electronic document will now be buried somewhere in a labyrinthine website? After all, who said that a company had to prominently display information on its homepage? Why not put it somewhere on the website that is three or four clicks deep? Isn’t disclosure normally considered a laudable goal?
We’re curious to hear from readers. Who is moving their information out of the spotlight while keeping it in plain sight?