Marlene Street Forrest on Creating Wealth via Transparent Processes

Marlene Street Forrest, Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, joins Barrington Miller in the podcast studio during the JSE’s visit to Toronto to discuss their 50th anniversary and recent recognition as a top-performing exchange (1:46), the launch of the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (3:21), and the requirements for listing on the JSE (4:53). Listen until the end to learn about what’s ahead in 2020 for the JSE, including the expansion of their online trading platform, and for their key message to investors about creating wealth.

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Shira Adler on the Role of CBD in Holistic Wellness

Shira Adler, Founder and CEO of Synergy and author of The ABCs of CBD, joins Grace Pedota via Skype to talk about the inspiration behind her book and its reception so far (4:09), her role as an advocate for CBD and the integral part it plays in holistic wellness (6:01), and her thoughts on the growing number of influential women in the cannabis space (8:00). Listen until the end to learn more about her upcoming speaking engagements around the world, her new book currently in progress, and to hear about her time as a Bravo reality TV star!

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Press Play: Reeling in the power of videos to reach the right investors through social media

A collaborative and engaging form of communication within the investment community is an integral component of a well-managed public company. This can range from traditional and digital media to conferences and networking, however social media and video marketing are the key elements in raising brand awareness most effectively.

When it comes to videos, they are one of the most powerful tools to reach investors because they are easily digestible and more memorable than plain text. In a world where content can be shared via smartphones in a matter of minutes, millions of people can access your content quicker. Here, we will outline how you can create compelling video content to reach your target investor audience using the power of social media advertising.

Play to your social media platforms’ strong suit

With almost 5 billion videos watched on YouTube, and over 8 billion videos watched on Facebook every day, this medium has shown itself to be a powerful and visually engaging mechanism among audiences. Social media is a great tool that a company can use for pushing out their most important information in a creative and digestible manner, however some platforms have different advantages when delivering video content.

Different platforms harbour pros and cons when it comes to distributing video content. Here, we break down which platforms are most effective depending on what your business end goal is.

Facebook
● Best for short, informative videos that work without sound

Twitter
● Best for snippets of information (60 seconds)

LinkedIn
● Best for “how-to” content and case studies

YouTube
● Best for longer, educational content that answers questions

Although understanding the strong suits of each platform is important for tailoring video content, it is also important to know that social amplification can add another layer of visibility and reach beyond a company’s direct online network.

Amplifying video distribution with social media

When creating content, it is important to consider how your information will be relayed to the public, especially when aiming to extend beyond your audience base. The main goal is to reach a wider scope of people in order for your company to get discovered by new investor eyeballs, receive higher engagement rates, and build up a positive reputation.

Market One Media Group utilizes top-tier business publications such as the Financial Post, BNN Bloomberg and Kitco to showcase content to a high-quality investor audience – whether it be videos or online articles. Through these partnerships, we’re able to tap into a network of over 2.5 million potential investors and are able to amplify our reach through strategic and targeted social media advertising.

Social media advertising is the next important step for a video once it has been published on our distribution networks because it broadens our audience. Based on the knowledge that social media networks utilize user information to serve relevant content to interested viewers, setting up targeting specific to each piece of video content is crucial.

To successfully promote a video on social media, the following questions should be considered:

Based on the specific industry, who is your target demographic?
Where does the majority of your target audience consume their information?
Who are your competitors and who is their target audience?
With these questions in mind, it is easier to generate an effective audience base who is more likely to engage with your content. Subsequently, these ads are able to generate better brand awareness and can help draw investors to your company’s website.

Adding video content to your website

When it comes to sourcing quality news and information on the web, investors will look at prospective company websites which provide a wealth of information. Every good website that is catered towards investors should include video pieces that encompass different elements of a company’s business. This can be done by incorporating clips of the CEO, drone footage of mining sites, discussing corporate social responsibility, or live conference footage.

As a company looking for new investors, here are some reasons why adding video content to your website is helpful:

●  Effectively deliver your message
●  Increase engagement
●  Add personality to your brand
●  Stand out among competitors
●  Be memorable

Moreover, creating multiple touch points with website visitors is imperative for public companies, and the best way to do so is through setting up a Facebook pixel. The pixel works to target your ads to the right people based on your website’s traffic patterns. This tool can improve your marketing strategy by guiding your ads to the people you want to reach and the people who have already shown an interest in your company.

Video content has proven its potential to transform journalism and traditional content distribution. Sharing a company’s brand organically, in the form of a visually moving story, is much easier to distribute and has drastically changed an audience’s experience when interacting with an organization. Pair this with strategic social media advertising, and you’ve got a solid marketing plan for your company.

Video isn’t dying down anytime soon, so we suggest adding it to your content marketing strategy because it has the ability to encompass your company’s voice in a short time span, can be optimized to reach the right people, and is inherently sharable.

For more information on how you can inform investors by creating custom video content, visit our website: www.marketonemediagroup.com

This story was featured in the Service Providers magazine.

Learn more about Market One Media Group at http://www.marketonemediagroup.com/ and on the CSE website at https://www.thecse.com/en/services/services-for-listed-companies/market-one-media-group.

Trevor Koverko on Tokenized Securities and the Next Big Trend in Crypto

Trevor Koverko, Founder and Chairman of Polymath Network, joins James Black to discuss the origins of the Polymath securities token platform (7:28), the various benefits tokenized securities can offer both issuers and investors (13:55), and why he believes staking tokens are the next big trend in crypto (28:11). Listen until the end to learn about the silent auction that spawned the first-ever Polycon in the Bahamas, and for details about Polymath’s latest blockchain technology project.

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The Benefits of Cross-Trading in the United States

For many Canadian companies, the successful listing of their security represents an important milestone. It’s a sign of recognition, prestige and success, demonstrating to the market a desire to be open and transparent. There are many reasons why a company may choose to list its shares – to raise capital, increase its valuation and diversify its shareholder base. But many companies are unaware that there are limitations as to what can be achieved by solely listing in Canada. They may not be cognizant of the fact that many U.S. investors are unwilling or unable to invest in foreign markets, and that the information they make available locally may not be widely available to U.S. investors. So, what is the best way to bridge this gap and access the world’s largest market for capital expansion and growth? Cross-trading.

There are numerous benefits to Cross-Trading in the US:

  • Diversifying your shareholder base
  • Making your financial information, research, pricing, and risk assessment more broadly available to U.S. investors
  • Appealing to those investors who prefer securities traded domestically ($USD)
  • Enhancing visibility among broker dealers by supporting broker and sell-side compliance

A national exchange, such as NYSE or Nasdaq, may be perceived to be the natural home and fit for most foreign issuers looking to access a deep pool of institutional investors. However, foreign issuers, such as those in Canada, are subject to U.S. exchange requirements and different accounting standards that can become duplicative, time-consuming and cost-prohibitive for global IROs with limited budgets. On the contrary, cross-trading on the OTC Market allows a company to leverage its existing reporting standards to make its disclosure available in the U.S. The simplified requirements to trade OTC remove duplication, are less-resource intensive and require fewer expensive experts.  This secondary trading solution helps to remove trading restrictions and complements the company’s home market reporting process. In turn, a company improves its ability to maximize shareholder value, achieve better visibility and a fair valuation in the U.S. public market, while increasing the effectiveness of its investor relations program.

Cross-trading also presents both Canada and the US with reciprocal opportunities for issuers to enhance market liquidity, creating additional investing opportunities in a company’s home market and abroad.  Providing a cost-effective trading environment in which to raise capital and build global investor awareness.

In addition to cross-trading, OTC Markets Group Inc. and the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) recently developed a first-of-its-kind North American capital formation and visibility solution for start-ups looking to go public.  This alliance offers issuers the benefits of the IPO listing on the CSE, combined with secondary trading on OTC Markets’ OTCQX Best Market/OTCQB Venture Market.  This affords investors and the broker dealer community greater access to a breadth of financial information, increased global investing opportunities and more efficient trading of international issuers shares.  Simple processes and fixed fee structures remove many of the barriers of cost, time and complexity typically associated with going public on an exchange. Helping companies bridge the gap and expand their footprint– paving the way for capital expansion and growth.

This story was featured in the Service Providers magazine.

Learn more about OTC Markets Group at https://www.otcmarkets.com/.

A Solution to Getting to Know Your Shareholders

Reality Check: How Well Do You Know Your Shareholders?

No, really — how well?

Most public companies suffer from a lack of information that is typically found in small private companies. Small private companies experience the support of friends and family, small family offices or even venture capital firms that speculate on their behalf. Actually, public companies don’t operate much differently. They, too, experience the support of friends, family and seed investors. The difference is that one day the IPO lures a company in to go public.

The “Problem” with Going Public

It begins when bankers, institutions and small funds lead the way in offering your company to go public. Some stay for a while and some are small gain-focused funds or institutions that are out on day one, making their money on the run up of the IPO. The end result: You’re left with hundreds, if not thousands, of shareholders. You have no clue who they are, what they represent, what their expectations are and, again, who they are.

I call them “boosters.” Boosters are a group of very intelligent, well-connected individuals that operate under the acronym “IRO” as a consultant and/or firm and want to help your company find new shareholders. It’s their job to make introductions to people in their networks. If you do well in presenting your story and delivering and your guidance is on target, you will find shareholders. Rinse and repeat with non-deal-road-show investor conferences and inbound interest. Before you know it, you’ve gone from 25 friends and family investors and one local fund in your network to more than 3,000 shareholders, some of which own up to 10 percent of the company. Then it hits you: You don’t know who these people are, who knows whom and if this even affects your company.

The Solution: Shareholder ID

It’s absolutely essential to the success of your public company that once a year you conduct a sound shareholder identification analysis. If you have sustained volume and people coming in and out of the story and people accumulating more and more, then you should consider hiring a firm to help manage this for each quarter. First, a robust Shareholder ID program will identify street positons in variant forms, objecting beneficial holders (OBO) and non-objecting beneficial holders (NOBO). Then, the program will identify the registered positions analysis to see if firms and individuals show up on both lists. A robust Shareholder ID program will not only highlight the brokers and banks that hold ownership, but also the underlying shareholder(s), and if that shareholder is party to another firm or group who also owns shares in your company. This is where activists come in; this is where share voting is greatly improved; and this is where real relationships are formed.

Every shareholder has a price horizon; it’s important you know this, for many reasons. One, you should understand how much time you invest in getting to know them, what else they invest in, whom they know, where they went to school and what they model your business out to be. The more you get to know your shareholder, the more you will understand these things. The more you understand these things, the quicker you can step up the shareholder base.

The more you get to know your shareholder, the more you will understand these things.

The more you understand these things, the quicker you can step up the shareholder base.

I’m a realist, and I enter a relationship with a shareholder knowing that if she/he makes a decision to purchase some shares in my company in the open market, most likely she/he will be my friend for a short period of time. This works. I don’t want a marriage — I have one. What I do want is to make them money, plain and simple. And I do that by executing my strategy, communicating my message and delivering. No disrespect intended when I say to any shareholder, either individual or firm/institution, that I want to sell when they’re ready and move on to the next one, to build a relationship with a new one, and repeat this process again. Every now and then, however, you find fans, regardless if they are high net worth people or firms, that love your business, your industry and you. They become the glue of your shareholder base, and they are rare. You might not even know who they really are.  Do you want your company’s biggest fans to be a stranger to you and your management team? I think not!

Do you want your company’s biggest fans to be a stranger to you and your management team?

Over the past 10 years, I have met hundreds of CEOs that don’t know their shareholders, don’t understand the mechanics of their shareholder base, and refuse to invest the time or resources in learning it. By contrast, I have met a very small percentage of C-level executives who get this simple exercise and have the best shareholder bases I have ever seen.

Ask your IRO, your outsourced IR firm or even your transfer or annual meeting management company for help. If they can’t do this for you, they should refer you to a trusted company that can.

This story was featured in the Service Providers magazine.

Learn more about Accesswire at https://www.accesswire.com/ and on the CSE website at https://thecse.com/en/services/services-for-listed-companies/accesswire.

6 Steps to Maximize Your Social Media Presence

The media landscape has been completely changed with the impact of technology. Currently, it is incumbent upon companies and organizations to create their own media. Social media is a popular channel for private companies to reach a larger audience – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, FourSquare, you name it. Gone are the days where companies compete for top spots in yellow pages or paying massive premiums for radio ads.

The situation is a lot more complex for publicly traded companies that are heavily regulated. However, with meticulous and proper planning, your public companies can benefit massively from the wide exposure gained from advertising on various social media platforms. Specifically, LinkedIn and Twitter are two platforms that are usually very popular and well received by shareholders and investors of public companies. Depending on the industry, Facebook and Instagram can be very helpful as well, especially for companies that have a lot of B2C business.

Facebook alone accounts for one in every six minutes spent on the internet. One in every five minutes spent on smartphones are also attributed to Facebook. Close to half of all college graduates are LinkedIn users. Over 45% of all adults who make more than $75,000 annually are on LinkedIn. Over 88% of businesses with more than 100 employees use Twitter for communication, marketing and advertising.

Here is a six-step process we have derived for maximize your social media efforts.

Step 1: Research

Find out who are talking about your company, and how. Are there any misconceptions of your business model? Are employees sharing information on the world wide web?

Always remember a cohesive social media plan should be very comprehensive. Setup alerts that track the online mentions of your company and your key executives. You will quickly find out about what people say about your company on the internet.

Step 2: Establish a Basic Presence

Make sure you secure your company’s accounts on all the major social media platforms. This is a great opportunity for your company to have a positive brand presence on the internet when people search for your name.

Step 3: Develop a Plan

Once you understand how social media can integrate with your business, you can develop a plan to achieve your objectives, and figure out how that would connect with your overall business goals. The conversation online will go on either you participate or not. Hence, if your plan is to simply continue to monitor the internet, you should at least create a social media policy.

Step 4: Engagement

If you decide to be proactive in managing your social media, you will need to figure out how much of an engagement level would you like to upkeep. While social media can be a great channel to keep your investors and key partners updated between earnings announcements, it is not necessarily worthy of an official press release. You can use your social media platforms to share press release headlines, key messages from your earnings calls, answer questions, publish white papers and offer seminars.

Step 5: Integration

Integrate your social media platforms with your digital investor relations platform (website). The website should be a hub of information that is detailed and useful. Provide regular updates of content on the site, and push the content to your social media accounts. The more your investors visit your website (also via your social media platforms), the more they will think of your website as the first source of information. Inform website visitors which social media platforms your company is active on.

Step 6: Measurement

The real value of social media programs can be measured with several metrics, gauging its progress. Many Software-as-a-Service platforms provide subscribers with analytical packages, which help you establish a baseline, target audience, and follow social media user trends over time.

Should you have any questions or if you are interested in Uptick’s Social Media Program, please do not hesitate to contact Terry Tremaine at: 604-202-7841 or terryttremaine@gmail.com

This story was featured in the Service Providers magazine.

Learn more about Uptick Media at http://uptickmail.com/ and on the CSE website at https://www.thecse.com/en/services/services-for-listed-companies/uptick-media.

5 PowerPoint Tips

We’re seeing somewhat of a rally in the markets with most sectors experiencing upward movement. Analysts we interview are quite bullish on the markets and this bodes well for the micro cap executives pitching their stories to investors. This leads me to the topic this month: creating the best presentation.

For you savvy IROs and CEOs, PowerPoint hasn’t changed much in the past decade, but it seems many executives are getting it wrong. At a recent trade show, I sat in on several presentations and was shocked at how dismal most them were. This plight led me to create 5 PowerPoint Tips on building a strong presentation.

Tip #1: HOOK: Author Sam Horn shared something with me that we implemented in our client branding and it’s been infinitely helpful. She called it “The Eyebrow Test”. If what I say to you doesn’t make you lean in and raise your eyebrows, then I’ve lost you. If you’re confused, you’re not buying. Test your pitch using this method.

Tip #2: VISUAL: Use 1-2 pictures or a video snippet to illustrate your business. A picture is worth a thousand words, and according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.

Tip #3: 10, 20, 30 RULE: Popular blogger, Guy Kawaski presents a very valid case when he vocalized this rule. Because most of your presentations are to investors, you’ll want to be concise, clear and avoid industry verbiage. There’s a reason why journalists write for a grade 6 level – it’s simple to understand and share. This is the goal. 10 slides with the following topics:

Problem
Your solution
Business model
Underlying magic/technology
Marketing and sales
Competition
Team
Projections and milestones
Status and timeline
Summary and call to action

Tip #4: 10, 20, 30 RULE continued: You should speak no more than 20 minutes, or 2 minutes a slide. This leaves you ample time for questions and further explanations regarding your technology, geology, biology, etc. If you’re slated to speak for only 10 minutes, then trim your slides to 1 minute each or combine a few of them.

Tip #5: 10, 20, 30 RULE continued again: This refers to your font – it should be no smaller than 30 point font! This forces you to choose words that are more efficient and eliminate fluff and technical jargon that so often appears in presentations. I couldn’t read most of the font at that tradeshow, and I was positioned in the middle of the room. And I’ve had laser eye surgery.

Remember, clarity and brevity are beautiful. We often use our Office Manager for our litmus test when creating TV spots for clients. If she raises her eyebrows and leans in, then we know we’ve got her. If she’s furrowing her brows, then we go back to the drawing board. It’s that simple. Good luck with your next presentation; I hope you make it powerful.

Taylor Thoen is CEO of BTV-Business Television.  BTV is passionate about succinctly sharing issuer stories on BNN and Bloomberg US. www.b-tv.com

This story was featured in the Service Providers magazine.

Learn more about Avisar at https://www.b-tv.com/ and on the CSE website at https://thecse.com/en/services/services-for-listed-companies/btv-business-television.

Are You Protected Against Cyber Security Attacks?

No one thinks it’s going to be them. Until it is.

According to the movies, cybercriminals operate out of abandoned warehouses, target carefully selected conglomerates and use things like “worms” and “keys” to gain access. The reality, however, is that cybercriminals, using scattergun techniques like phishing, are not out for world domination but rather a more familiar motive: money.

In 2016, 24% of breaches targeted financial organizations, 15% healthcare, 12% public sector entities and 15% targeted retail and accommodations*. Whether it’s design plans, medical records or good, old-fashioned payment card details—someone, somewhere will see it as their meal ticket.

Organizations need to build a strong security posture by implementing strategies that address internal and external threats across the entire chain. It is critical to start from the premise that systems will be breached. This perspective enhances the effectiveness of decision making related to preventing, mitigating and recovering from a breach.

Another recent development makes this a pressing imperative. Canada’s new Digital Privacy Act has introduced mandatory breach notification.  In 2017organizations will be required to notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, as well as the individuals affected, if the organization experiences the loss or theft of personal identifiable information that puts these people at “real risk of significant harm.” Failing to do so could result in fines of up to $100,000 per offence. This comes as part The Digital Privacy Act (formerly referred to as Bill S-4) that was put into effect in June 2015.

On January 19, 2017, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published Multilateral Staff Notice 11-332, stating that they expect issuers to provide risk disclosure that is as detailed and entity specific as possible, should they determine that a cyber security risk is a material risk. In order to determine materiality, the cyber security incident requires analyzing and the probability of a breach occurring and the anticipated magnitude of its effect needs to be determined. The CSA expects issuers to disclose specific risks, rather than generic risks common to all issuers, and they expect issuers to tailor their disclosure of cyber security risks to the particular circumstance. Underestimating risks leaves enterprises highly vulnerable. Poor security can lead to painful, even catastrophic, financial and reputational losses. Moreover, data breaches and other security incidents put not just individual companies, but entire supply chains, at risk. The following are three steps to build a robust security posture that will support the goals and resilience of your organization, and assist you in determining your cyber security risk.

1. Conduct a health check of your organization’s cyber security maturity.

A health check is an assessment of an organization’s controls, security risks and threats, to define its current security posture and highlight gaps.

The health check assesses current risks to your industry and business and evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of your organization’s existing security controls.

The health check determines the impact a breach could have on your organization: operations, productivity, information assets, infrastructure, reputation, materiality of the cyber security risks and brand.

2. Develop a clear security roadmap.

The health check will guide an organization by providing a clear map of priority risks and practical direction regarding where to most effectively focus cyber security budget and resources.

3. Test your organization’s vulnerability to cyber-attack.

It’s essential to supplement planning with robust testing to determine your organization’s vulnerability to cyber breaches. Intellectual property, personal information, plant systems, computer servers, and mobile devices, could all be targets for attacks.

Seek objective, trusted third party cyber security expertise to assess potential weaknesses through vulnerability assessments and penetration testing of your internal and external networks and applications.

Without adequate protection, cyber security threats can put your organizations’ operations, reputation – even its existence – at risk. Vigilant assessment, planning and testing are critical to protect the bottom line.

For more information on how you can better protect your business from cyber-attacks, contact:

Danny Timmins, CISSP, National Cyber Security Leader T: 905.607.9777E: danny.timmins@mnp.ca

About MNP

MNP is a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada. We proudly serve and respond to the needs of our clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Through partner-led engagements, we provide a collaborative, cost-effective approach to doing business and personalized strategies to help organizations succeed across the country and around the world.

This story was featured in the Service Providers magazine.

Learn more about MNP at https://www.mnp.ca/en and on the CSE website at https://www.thecse.com/en/services/services-for-listed-companies/mnp.

Frank Holmes on the Evolution of Cryptocurrency and Macroeconomics

Frank Holmes, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors and Chairman of Hive Blockchain, joins Grace Pedota to talk about gold mining and investments (2:47), the reasons why millennials place more trust in cryptocurrency than other generations (7:33), and the importance of macroeconomics when it comes to understanding the economy (16:51). Listen until the end for Frank’s opinion on the significance of cryptocurrency worldwide, his advice to millennials who are just starting out in finance, and to hear about his days in the boxing ring!

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