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62638EQUS What Makes An Effective Info Agent Blog V27

What Makes An Effective Information Agent?

Thursday, April 22, 2021

EQ Expert Joe Conte explains the role of an effective information agent and how their work supports public companies.

Do you remember the pre-internet age? That’s when the need for an information agent began — and remains essential to this day for corporate actions.

There are two types of corporate actions: mandatory and voluntary. Whenever you allow shareholders to make a voluntary decision, like choosing to receive elections material, you need an information agent.

You don’t always need an information agent, such as for mandatory actions, but it is a critical role that is geared toward investors who didn’t get information initially or who have lost documents.

Information agents perform essential functions, including:

  • Responding to calls from shareholders for election forms
  • Handling secondary notifications for investors who may have missed the original information
  • Providing necessary forms to relevant shareholders in order to participate in purchasing shares

What else does an information agent do and why does it matter?

You need an information agent long before your voluntary corporate action is launched.

A good information agent develops and delivers a strategic plan that accurately communicates your upcoming corporate action to shareholders. Truly effective information agent services require a full-service approach — a team that can handle all aspects of communicating your transaction, including inbound and outbound management, web development and hosting, broker search and tombstone placement.

Information agent functions include:

  • Debt-related services
  • Dutch auctions
  • Exchange offers
  • Fixed income securities
  • Rights offerings
  • Tender offers
  • Mergers and elections
  • Standard and second-step conversions

These complex transactions require an experienced information agent to advise, communicate and execute.

Most importantly, effective information agents work closely with issuers, their investment banks, law firms and the exchange/tender agents to keep everyone apprised of the deal, shares tendered and gauge general sentiment from the street.

Critical tasks of an information agent

  • Analyzing shareholder base and tender projections
  • Developing and consulting on communication strategy, including review of offering documents and Q&A assistance
  • Coordinating with the exchange agent for the fulfillment of new accounts from launch to closing
  • Conducting broker search, distributing offering materials to banks, brokers, intermediaries and agents, and commencing mailing with distribution to DTC
  • Ongoing client communication in the preferred method and frequency
  • Sending out additional relevant information to requesting shareholders
  • Sending out documents to brokers and dealers
  • Handling shareholder information questions
Joe Conte Grey Horizontal Small Joe Conte, Head of Corporate Actions; Capital Markets, EQ

About the Author

Joe is head of our corporate actions product and is co-head of EQ's Capital Markets team. During his tenure at the NYSE, Joe participated in some of the largest and most complex voluntary transactions in the last decade, helping to set the standard for information best practices. He joined EQ from the NYSE right after the shareholder services business was spun off from Wells Fargo and acquired by Equiniti Group plc. Joe also supports the growth of EQ’s IPO participation, payment agent services expansion for non-public companies and helps grow our international presence.

Choose a strategic partner with best practices at its core. Use EQ as your information agent regardless of your transfer agent.

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