Callback from EnCana


This blog entry is an update about my EnCana webcast trouble.

Alan, manager of EnCana Media Relations, actually took time to call me back Wednesday evening and yesterday evening to follow up with me. The fact that Alan actually called back, especially after normal work hours, impressed me. So I was very willing to listen to what Alan had to say.

As a shareholder of EnCana, I share some of the view that Alan expressed, for example, the need to have cost-effective solutions to relay relevant and material financial information to all investors. Where we differ is Alan seem to suggest that all material information had been released in the press release like this one and the webcast actually don’t provide any new material information. I beg to differ.

If the time, a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes, of seven senior executives (including the President and CEO) don’t really add a shred of useful and material information, then I think these executives may be wasting their time and worst — the companies’ money thus the shareholders’ money.

I think, at least the Q&A parts of the webcast would have given clarification and colour to the hard numbers and facts, so it would have surprised me if there was not a single bit of “material information” during the Q & A session.


—-Technical info—-

Today, two days after the webcast, I finally found some time to “debug” EnCana’s webcast system and I was able to confirm that their webcast failed to work on my Mac OS 10.3.9 using the default Mac browser — Safari, and also my personal first and second choice of Firefox and Netscape.

What I was also able to determine was that the webcast (at least a time delayed replay of it) is playable on Internet Explore browser. So there seems to be less than comprehensive testing done on modern day popular browsers that people regularly use these days (for the Mac).

One of my point to Alan was also that when the online system failed for whatever reason, there should always be a backup (e.g. via a regular 1-800 telephone line, or a local Calgary phone call) available.


—-Reg FD info—-

Wikipedia has a pretty good and general explanation of Reg FD (emphasis mine),

… as Regulation FD or Reg FD was an SEC ruling implemented in October 2000 ([1]). It mandated that all publicly traded companies must disclose material information to all investors at the same time.

The regulation sought to stamp out selective disclosure, in which some investors (often large institutional investors) received market moving information before others (often smaller, individual investors).

Regulation FD changed fundamentally how companies communicate with investors, by bringing better transparency and more frequent and timely communications, perhaps more than any other regulation in the history of the SEC.

Now, in full fairness to EnCana, and to Alan, I am not a lawyer and let alone a security lawyer. So Alan may be right that EnCana is compliant with their SEC obligation based on the narrow wordings and interpretations of Reg FD. (note: since the current matter is under a SEC complain, so I won’t prejudge the conclusion) But even if EnCana passed through the definition of “Reg FD” compliant, the optics and view of the 2 hours and 15 minutes of webcast by the senior executives actually don’t add any “value” (I won’t say “material information” for a moment) to investors will definitely require a stretch of ones’ imagination.

Finally, I hope EnCana will do the right thing by providing good and timely access to all investors big or small, including PC or Mac users.


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