A Busy Week in the IR Calendar

A busy week in the IR calendar containing both the annual IR Society Conference and the IR Magazine European Awards.

The title of the 31st IR Society conference, held on 20 June, was “A new world order: The ascent of IR”.  Hosted by well-known journalist and broadcaster, Evan Davis, the day was attended by some 360 IR professionals and covered many of the challenges facing business today.  RD:IR’s founder and MD, Richard Davies, moderated a session on regulatory change – how IR may be affected and how to respond.

On 21 June, IR Magazine Awards ‒ Europe honoured excellence in the investor relations profession. RD:IR sponsored and presented two awards at the event.  “Best Annual Report (large cap)” was won by Royal Philips and “Best IR during a Corporate Transaction” was won by Unilever.  Our congratulations go to all winners, a full list of whom can be found here

https://media.irmagazine.com/library/euro_awards_17_-_winners.pdf

 

RD:IR sponsors award at PLC Awards ceremony

RD:IR again sponsored the “Best Investor Communications Award” at the annual PLC Awards held in the Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 2 March 2017. The black tie event, now its it 31st year, celebrates excellence in quoted companies on the London Stock Exchange. http://www.plc-awards.co.uk

RD:IR congratulates all winners, listed below:-

Best Investor Communication Award – Sponsored by RD:IR

Winner: RPC Group plc

Kevin Burrowes, Executive Board Member, Clients and Markets Leader, PwC; Richard Davies, Founder and CEO, RD:IR; Simon Kesterton, Toby Cooper and Pim Vervaat, CEO, RPC Group plc (winner); and Naga Munchetty (awards presenter)

 

Best Performing Share Award – Sponsored by Winterflood Securities

Winner: Ferrexpo plc

 

Fund Manager of the Year Award – Sponsored by Equiniti

Winner: Simon Knott/Rights and Issues Investment Trust plc

 

Corporate Social Responsibility Award – Sponsored by PwC

Winner: Marshalls plc

 

Best Technology Award – Sponsored by Zeus Capital

Winner: Sophos Group plc

 

Turnaround of the Year Award – Sponsored by Canaccord Genuity

Winner: Electrocomponents plc

 

New Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by Peel Hunt

Winner: Metro Bank plc

 

Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by finnCap

Winner: Serge Crasnianski (Photo-Me International plc)

 

Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by Liberum

Winner: JD Sports Fashion plc

RD:IR White Paper on MiFID II & Impact on IR Practices

POTENTIAL IMPACT OF MIFID II ON IR PRACTICES AND THE CORRESPONDING ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY

MiFID II will come into force on 03 January 2018 and EU states have until 03 July 2017 to transpose it into national laws. This paper aims to provide IR professionals with more clarity on the likely implications of MiFID II, specifically sell-side research and corporate access, as well as ways they can evolve their practices to make the most of new opportunities.

One of the challenges for IR professionals will be to deal with potential changes in research coverage, impacting how equity stories and investment cases are disseminated and debated amongst market participants. Though MiFID II establishes a strict framework for how the buy-side can pay for sell-side research using client monies, what actually constitutes research could be subject to conflicting interpretations within the EU.

This could have a direct impact on corporate access practices. For example, the UK has reaffirmed its stance that corporate access is not research and is not therefore commissionable, whereas France is, at it currently stands, envisaging instances where access can constitute research. Different rules in different countries can represent another challenge for IR professionals, as their interactions with investors know no borders.

Technology presents a unique opportunity to evolve with these changes to regulation, while remaining cost effective. New research distribution and corporate access platforms are being established in response to changes in market practices and it is anticipated that these will gain in importance and acceptance as MiFID II comes into force.

For the full white paper please view here or email jenni.herbert@rdir.com 

 

RD:IR Congratulates Award Winners

It’s that time of the year again when black ties and long dresses get an airing at various awards ceremonies.

First up was the IR Society’s Best Practice Awards 2016 held on Tuesday 22 November.  As Gold Sponsor, RD:IR was well represented, hosting 5 tables of clients and staff.  MD, Richard Davies, awarded the grand prize of Best Overall Company IR to Shire plc. 

A full list of the winners can be found below.

2016-irs-awards

Self-Entry Awards

Best Annual Report

International – Phosagro  /   Small Cap & Aim – McBride   /   FTSE 250 – DS Smith   /   FTSE 100 – Arm Holdings

Most Effective Sustainability Communications

International – BASF  /   FTSE 250 – Go-Ahead Group   /   FTSE 100 – Anglo American

Best Digital Reporting

International – Geberit   /   Small Cap & Aim – Inland Homes   /   FTSE 250 – Evraz   /   FTSE 100 – Old Mutual Group

Best Use Of Digital Communications

International – Gazprom Neft   /   Small Cap & Aim – Shanks Group   /   FTSE 250 – Hays   /   FTSE 100 – British Land

Best IPO IR Communications – McCarthy & Stone

Best Overall Communication of Company Investment Proposition

Small Cap & Aim – Eurocell   /   FTSE 250 – Pennon Group   /   FTSE 100 – Taylor Wimpey

Voted Awards

Best Newcomer To IRCharlotte McBride, J Sainsbury

Best IROGreg Feehely, Asos

Best Overall Company IR Shire

 

The second awards ceremony of the week was Investment Week’s “Investment Company of the Year Awards 2016” (in association with the AIC) held on Thursday 24 November.  RD:IR works very closely with the Investment Trust community and was delighted to see so many clients among the winners.

Those honoured with awards are listed below.

 

Quantitative Award Categories

UK Equity Income – Finsbury Growth & Income

UK Equity and Bond Income – Henderson High Income

UK Growth – JPMorgan MidCap 

UK Smaller Companies – Rights & Issues Investment Trust

Private Equity – HarbourVest Global Private Equity

Single Country – New India Investment Trust

Europe – Henderson EuroTrust 

Asia –  Pacific Assets

Global – Scottish Mortgage

Overseas Income – Henderson International Income Trust

Overseas Smaller Companies – Baillie Gifford Shin Nippon

Emerging Markets – BlackRock Frontiers

Flexible Investment – RIT Capital Partners

Specialist Income – CATCo Reinsurance Opportunities

Specialist – Worldwide Healthcare

Property (joint winners) – Picton Property Income & TR Property Investment Trust

VCTs – Unicorn AIM VCT

 

Qualitative Award Categories

Best New Issue – Schroder European Real Estate Investment Trust  

Best New Issue VCT – Puma VCT 12

Group of the Year – Baillie Gifford 

Outstanding Industry Contribution – Andrew Bell, Witan 

 

Congratulations to all winners and best of luck for 2017.

Richard Davies awarded Honorary Fellowship of IR Society

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At the IR Society’s Annual Best Practice Awards on 22 November 2016, Richard Davies, Founder and MD of RD:IR, was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the IR Society.

The Honorary Fellowship recognises Richard’s longstanding commitment to the development of the IR profession and his extensive contribution to the work of the Society.  Richard was Deputy Chairman of the UK IR Society for seven years, Chairman for two years and on the Board in total for ten.  He either is currently, or has, sat on nearly all the IR Society Committees and chaired a few of them too.

During Richard’s Chairmanship, he created the Public Affairs Committee, upgraded the Policy Committee, helped create the Certificate in IR, founded the IR Forum (where IROs can meet investors to discuss policy matters), ran outreach programmes to similar professional bodies (such as the ACCA / ICSA etc) and increased membership numbers.

Fellows of the IR Society hold invaluable experience and can help to advance the profession by sharing expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm for the discipline. They will often help in the development of best practice standards and policies, and contribute to the organisation’s working groups, panels and consultations.

The Staff of RD:IR are delighted that Richard’s many achievements over the years have been recognised in this way by the IR Society

Informed Article by Richard Davies

 

Richard_031_web  New World, New Demands

I have written in past columns about the changing world of investor relations in terms of the additional demands that are being placed on IROs as a result of those changes. As well as the uncertainty that the Brexit vote has brought to the City, we find that technological development is gathering pace in terms of the formation of new ways of thinking about IR data and processes. The world of investor relations is not immune to the current sense of disruption and innovation.

There has been much comment on the potential changes in the corporate access market brought about by MiFID II. Even though we can only guess when exactly this market Directive will be finally introduced in the UK – it is flagged for 2018 but we have been here before – most commentators are of the opinion that it is coming to our shores, in whole or in part, whether we leave the EU or not.

One clearly flagged outcome of MiFID II has been and will be the seismic shift of the payment mechanism that hitherto existed between the buy-side and the sell-side with regard to research and access. While the exact formulation of the Directive has yet to be revealed through “the finalisation of the EU implementing legislation”, as the FCA website so poetically states, the City has started slowly to come to terms with the proposed changes, though some would argue that many on the sell-side remain in denial, hoping that one day all this nonsense will simply go away.

From the IRO’s perspective, life can either look pretty much the same right now or it can look very different from just a few years ago. We are now living somewhat in a two-tier market system.

For large- or larger mid-caps or for those companies which are more heavily traded or have M&A in the offing, then the banks and brokers remain keen to please. We find that these companies may have to endure the attention of up to 25 sell-side analysts. Sadly, the proportion of those analysts that these companies rate as “good” has fallen sharply over the last few years. It is not entirely the analysts’ fault as they are being squeezed to cover more companies due to the economic pressures being applied to their employers, the banks. However, there is a feeling among many IROs that the quality of sell-side research has drifted down in tandem with the perceived influence of that research on the buy-side. For the first time in my career, I now get regularly asked by IROs of these “well-covered” stocks, how they can stop analysts writing on them because the IROs neither have the time to deal with so many of them nor the belief that what some analysts produce has any value, except as marketing material for the bank.

Alas, on the other side, we have the situation of the small- and micro-cap stocks where there is no coverage whatsoever from the sell-side, including, in increasing numbers, even from their own broker. The institutions have in many cases retreated up the value chain to focus their funds on larger, more risk-averse companies, while either concentrating their portfolios or taking a “closet index” approach to investment to save on research costs. Some wonderfully well-run and profitable UK small cap stocks have been simply left to hang out to dry by both the buy- and sell-side. This flies in the face of the notion of the efficient market and also highlights the fact that hedge funds do not necessarily spot every nugget of deep value going.

Independent research has frequently been cited as taking up the breach for those companies that have been left high and dry but being written about is not the same as being read about, and the small- and micro-cap markets are still very dense, despite the attrition on issuer numbers overall that I have written about in former columns. There are many voices clamouring for attention in this area and a close examination of the UK stock market in terms of issuer fundamentals reveals that not everyone knows how to shout nor what to shout about.

There has long been a need for those smaller companies which have a good equity story to be more pro-active about reaching out to the market and demanding investor attention but the irony is that these companies are those less likely to have an IRO to make this happen. These companies are also more likely to have senior management who have historically relied completely on their broker to provide engagement with the capital markets.

The growing issue now is that these problems of reduction in corporate access levels and dwindling institutional investor support are moving up the ladder of market capitalisation but most senior management without a dedicated IR team will have little idea how to benchmark themselves to know, for example, that meeting so few new investors each year is not necessarily how things should be. There has been a paradigm shift the in the markets but many companies have not yet worked out what that means for their stock in terms of price or demand.

This is, or should be, good news for the IR market in terms of the growth in the number of companies who take on IR professionals for the first time. Given that the proportion of public company equity issuers, excepting investment companies, which have a dedicated IR person remains under 50%, then there is tremendous scope for new IR jobs under the current circumstances.

Of course, agencies and consultants can fill some of those gaps but there are still dozens, if not hundreds, of public companies that will, I believe, over time take on a dedicated IR function.

MiFID II has yet to be fully implemented and there is still scope for vast change in the capital markets ahead of 2018. As I have previously commented, we are at the start of a very long road and if the Brexit vote has achieved one thing, then it is that we are more certain of our uncertainties now than before. However, those fund managers and stockbrokers who think that things will go back to their previous state as a result of the vote are misguided. The changes have already begun.

Informed Magazine Article by Richard Davies

RD  IR and the aftermath of the Brexit vote

I write this on the morning of a new phase of existence for the United Kingdom – the great leap into the unknown represented by the vote for Leave, as decided yesterday by the British public. While there is a broad plan for our exit from the European Union, the finer details have still to be decided or, at least, made known to us.

The impact of Brexit on the economy for any term of time is as yet unclear but already currency and equity markets, and the announcements on plans for some US financial services companies with UK offices to move to the Continent, have shown that life ahead in our new ‘liberated’ format will not be a smooth ride.

Much has been written from both sides of the argument of the likely or possible implications for UK business of a vote to Leave but it is clear that IROs in the UK face busy times ahead, whatever sector they operate within.

Uncertainty is hardly the preferred environment for the long-term equity investor and every UK public company must be prepared to attempt to explain the impact of market conditions which have yet to be understood fully.

Given that we already know that other major European markets outside the UK (for example, Norway and Switzerland) conduct themselves largely according to EU regulatory practice, there may be little chance of ridding ourselves of what many firms see as the common market’s stifling bureaucracy. Given the potential loss of the EU passport model (a strong possibility as I write), we may yet see the outflux of many financial services companies from London to Frankfurt or other EU cities.

The poll taken at this year’s Society Conference showed overwhelming support for remaining in the EU, as a result, I assume, of the belief among UK IR professionals that departure would be bad for their companies and the economy in general, if only for an indeterminate while.

I am sure many of those conference attendees now wonder what will happen next: to their businesses, to sterling, to the regulatory environment, to their share price, and to the markets within which they operate.

The ripples of Brexit spread far and wide – many have spoken of this as a global event, extending way beyond our shores. The whole EU project is now under threat from dissent in some of the major market constituents. Talk of nationalism and self-interest has replaced the now tainted project of globalisation. Market protectionism is the avowed way forward for US presidential nomination, Mr Trump, who is perhaps a more likely winner of his election as a result of Britain’s choice.

Brokers have been saying that the IPO and M&A markets would get busier in September, after the Referendum and the summer recess, but I am not sure that took into account a Leave voting outcome. Markets may well become far more active but perhaps not for the best reasons. I am sure the hedgies are delighted by the current turmoil, and the sell-side will enjoy trading levels they will remember from the halcyon days, as volatility ramps up.

UK IROs should enjoy their summer holidays as much as they can, as the next months could prove arduous. There will be much to do.

RD:IR takes part in J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge 2016

RD:IR were proud to once again field a team to take part in the annual J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge held on the 20th and 21st July 2016.  The 5.6 km course wends its way around the iconic Battersea Park and attracts around 30,000 participants over the two days, raising money for charity.

The weather gods were kind to the 14 members of Team RD:IR, with the heat wave affecting London in the earlier part of the week giving way, on race-day Thursday, to balmy conditions. The team ranged in ability from regular runners to  “can-do” walkers.  Runners were joined by London’s new Mayor, Sadiq Khan, as part of his recently launched “London is Open” campaign.  The event was started by quadruple Olympian and Gold medal winner Sir Matthew Pinsent.

A full report of the event can be found on the event website here

Before

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After

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Post-event, J.P. Morgan will make a donation on behalf of all entrants to their chosen charity this year, Age UK. 

RD:IR also supports the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and our donation page will be open until the end of September. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RDIRforCALM

RD:IR sponsors award at IR Magazine European Awards

IR MAG

At a glittering gala event held at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London on 22 July 2016, IR professionals from around Europe gathered for the IR Magazine European Awards.  

RD:IR sponsored the Rising Star Award, a new category for IR professionals under 35 who bring fresh thinking and a unique approach to the profession.  Mark Robinson, Senior Client Manager (European Issuer Services) represented RD:IR and was on hand to award Martin Kjær Hansen from ISS A/S with the award.

IR Magazine awards

 Martin Kjær Hansen (ISS A/S) with Mark Robinson (RD:IR)

Source: IR Magazine 

 

A full list of the award winners can be found below, and RD:IR takes this opportunity to congratulate all nominees and everyone who went home with a prize.

The full list of winners:

Best investor event Unilever
Best use of multimedia for IR Deutsche EuroShop
Rising star Martin Kjær Hansen, ISS 
Best use of technology  Iberdrola 
Best sustainability practice Unilever
Best IR by region: Central & Eastern Europe ČEZ Group
Best IR by region: Germany  Continental 
Best IR by region: Northern Europe Novo Nordisk
Best IR by region: Southern Europe Iberdrola 
Best IR by region: UK & Ireland Unilever
Best IR by region: Western Europe Roche Holding
Best IR by sector: Communications Deutsche Telekom         
Best IR by sector: Consumer discretionary Continental 
Best IR by sector: Consumer staples Unilever
Best IR by sector: Energy Galp Energia
Best IR by sector: Financials Allianz                  
Best IR by sector: Healthcare Novo Nordisk
Best IR by sector: Industrials Deutsche Post DHL
Best IR by sector: Materials BASF               
Best IR by sector: Technology  Amadeus 
Best IR by sector: Utilities Iberdrola 
Grand prix for best overall investor relations (small cap) REN ‒ Redes Energéticas Nacionais
Grand prix for best overall investor relations (mid-cap) RWE                      
Grand prix for best overall investor relations (large cap) Novo Nordisk