It can be tough, time-consuming and laborious to do detailed research on a listed company. Besides perusing through a company’s annual report, investors may also have to plough through a whole plethora of news articles, industry reports, corporate announcements, and press releases just to get a sense of how the company is performing business-wise.
Speaking with the right people would short-cut this process and also provide the much-needed information more quickly. Individual investors like you or me can approach a company’s management by attending annual general meetings, or by contacting the investor relations department of a company to query management or to set up a short call. Here are three important C-suite individuals in a company (i.e. executives with “Chief” in their titles) that an investor should speak to for more information.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
This should sound pretty obvious, but there’s probably no one who knows a company (or should know a company) better than the CEO himself. This is the first person an investor should speak to in order to find out more about the company’s overall performance, plans and strategies, mistakes made, areas for improvement, and so on. But do note that the CEO is not an operations guy, so it won’t make sense to ask him or her about minute details or nitty-gritty questions.
We should pick the brains of the CEO on a macro and strategy level. It would be useful for investors to prepare a checklist on various topics – such as planned mergers and acquisitions, status of new and existing projects, competitive forces, industry growth rates and outlook, plans for fund raising and major capital expenditures, among others.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
If the investor wishes to know more about the numerical and financial aspects of a company, then the person to ask would be the CFO (sometimes also known as the FC, or Financial Controller). He or she is the person who can explain topics such as the company’s accounting policies, estimates, margins, year-on-year changes in expenses, revenue, and other line items. If there is any particular number which needs clarification, such as share buyback amounts or an anomaly in the depreciation expense in a fiscal year, the CFO should be the one you can approach to handle such queries.
Chief Operating Officer (COO)
Last but not least, the COO is the person who can advise on operational matters, such as the problems with a company’s inventory, production, divisional performance, and other aspects such as marketing, procurement, and the like. Investors can ask the COO on topics such as the company’s production processes and factory utilization rates, as well as client retention rates (for repeat business), and also the status of the company’s latest projects and contracts.
As can be seen above, these three C-suite people can provide a wealth of information on a company, and therefore should be the first point of contact for investors looking to delve deeper into a company.
Worried about the overall state of the market? Do you know the 1 thing you should never do in the stock market? The Motley Fool Singapore’s new e-book lays out a plan to handle market crashes, details the greatest advantage you have as an investor, and looks at decades worth of market data to bring you the smartest insights on investing. You can download the full e-book FREE of charge—Simply click here now to claim your copy
The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice.