I don't really have time to be blogging today, but this deserves special mention. One of the real pitfalls of investor relations is the outsourcing of conference calls to third parties, and my experience is that you usually get what you pay for. Fastweb's Q4 results today are a case on point. This morning an email invitation was sent out to analysts to join the conference call, which it turns out is being hosted by Deutsche Bank, with the caveat:
"This email is not intended to be addressed to US persons (as that term is defined in Regulation S of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933) or Japanese, Canadian and Australian persons or to persons present or resident in any of these countries. To the extent you are a US, Japanese, Canadian or Australian person, or a person present or resident in any of these countries, you have received this email in error and should therefore delete it.
FASTWEB (Milan, Nuovo Mercato: FWB) announced today its results for 4Q and FY 2004. Please find attached the related press release and presentation.
A conference call will be held at 15.30 (CET) / 14.30 (UK BST)/ 09.30 (EST).
To participate in the conference call, please dial the following numbers at 15.25 CET) and ask to be connected to the FASTWEB's conference call:
Europe: +44 (0) 1452 560 297
US (QIBS Only): +1 866 224 3297"
Pretty standard stuff on the whole, except for the mysterious term "QIBS" at end, as it relates to US investors. I presume this stands for Qualified Investment Banking Somethingorother, but the call center staff sure didn't know. After being put on hold, they returned to say that they had to ask me if I was a qualified banker. "Qualified on what criteria?" I asked. They didn't know. So there was nothing for it but to give up. Perhaps it was because of my American accent, or indeed my existence as an "American person," even though I am based in London. Very poor indeed.
UPDATE: A couple of kind readers chime in to confirm that the acronym QIB stands for "qualified institutional buyer," so clearly this is linked to Fastweb's capital increase. However, why this should have any bearing on simply listening to a quarterly results call is still beyond me.