NEW YORK—Strategic communications firm The Torrenzano Group has formed a specialized practice it calls Shareholder Connection. The new group will provide counsel to top management and board members on issues related to increased transparency, assess levels of shareholder satisfaction and develop and execute communication strategies targeted to the investment community and regulatory bodies to promote understanding and acceptance of a company’s investment rationale.
The practice builds on the firm’s expertise in financial markets and media and is a response to Securities & Exchange Commission pressure for increased transparency and shareholder democracy. In an early October speech, at an open meeting of the commission, SEC chairman William Donaldson said, “Board unresponsiveness, sometimes tied to corporate governance weaknesses, demonstrates the need for shareholders to have a more meaningful voice in the proxy process. That is difficult under current rules.”
According to Richard Torrenzano, founder and chairman of The Torrenzano Group, “It is clear further changes will be instituted. Public companies today are confronted with a growing range of issues stemming from unprecedented investor, media, and regulator scrutiny of boardroom accountability and transparency.
“Savvy companies are re-evaluating not only how they are structured, but also how they can improve the clarity, consistency and candor of communications to these vitally important constituencies. The current environment in financial markets and related media coverage demand new solutions beyond conventional approaches to communications or investor relations.”
Among the first in a series of specialized services being provided by the new group is the Torrenzano Shareholder Satisfaction Management Index, a quantitative and qualitative research process with analysis that identifies critical investment community perceptions and establishes a benchmark for a measurable strategic action plan.
Heading the Shareholder Connection practice is Torrenzano veteran Philip Owen, former managing director of the New York Stock Exchange.
Says Torrenzano, “Phil is a recognized expert in equity capital markets and has extensive experience advising CEOs and CFOs and their boards on strategy assessment and implementation. The bar is being raised further and companies must take greater control, responsibility, and accountability for their actions to ensure affinity with shareholders. Our firm is dedicated to helping organizations take control of how they are perceived by markets and media: a priority that public and private companies must address in today’s turbulent environment.”