RD:IR introduces new Investor Access department

PRESS RELEASE

Leading global investor relations consultancy, Richard Davies Investor Relations (RD:IR), is delighted to announce the creation of its new Investor Access department. Seasoned IR professional, Jenni Herbert, has joined RD:IR to lead the department in the newly formed position of Head of Access. Jenni brings with her a wealth of experience, having worked in the financial markets for over twenty years, most recently with investment banking house, Liberum, where she built up its corporate access function. 

With increasing regulatory pressures being placed on investment banks by the FCA, the traditional model of corporate access is undergoing considerable changes, and RD:IR has identified an increasing opportunity to help companies manage their relationships with stakeholders and potential investors in a way that complements the services provided by their advisors.

RD:IR is already widely recognised for the excellence of its shareholder analysis and targeting campaigns and the company is planning to use its proprietary data to give an added layer of insight and advice to clients, in order to help them engage with, and manage their shareholders and targets in a cost and time effective way. Furthermore, the focus that the team are putting into winning pan-European business also translates into opportunities to introduce investors to clients outside the UK.

Asked to comment on her new role, Jenni said, “I am delighted to have joined the team at RD:IR. I have worked in the City with companies in a variety of advisory roles during the past ten years and hope to bring this experience to bear in a new and holistic offering at RD:IR, helping its existing clients and attracting future opportunities.”

For further information regarding RD:IR’s investor access services please contact Jenni Herbert on +44 20 7492 0540 or jenni.herbert@rdir.com. 

 

 

RD:IR Client Testimonials: Delivering exceptional IR services for over thirteen years!

We are proud to work with a range of fantastic companies, including UK and international corporates, across the entire market capitalisation spectrum; UK investment trusts; corporate brokers; and other corporate intermediaries.

A number of these clients have employed RD:IR’s investor relations services right from the company’s inception in 2002 and for that, we are delighted and humbled.

We currently act for over 630 clients, both directly, and indirectly via stockbrokers and investment managers. The service we provide our clients has been described as “exceptional”, “impeccable”,”comprehensive” and “professional”.The testimonials below, elaborate on the type of service provided and how satisfied the respective client has been.

These are just a small selection, to read them in full please visit our dedicated testimonials page on the website:

 

“We have long been supporters of RD:IR, in fact from their inception, and use a range of their services. We believe they provide some of the best share register analysis in the industry which gives us confidence when using the data at board level and also for investor targeting. On top of this, the team are always approachable, helpful and professional, all of which makes RD:IR a pleasure to be associated with.”

Shelley Fishwick, Aberdeen Asset Management plc

 

“RD:IR’s team ran a very useful targeting exercise which has been the basis for our investor targeting refresh.”

Gary Leibowitz, SABMiller plc
 
 

“We find the IR InTouch platform an invaluable CRM tool especially with regards to recording all our meetings and notes. The system produces insightful roadshow packs which incorporate all share register and peer analysis information, which are useful for our busy meeting schedules. We have also started using the offline meeting function, allowing the recording of notes in an efficient and user friendly manner even on the move. Additionally, with a focused investor base on the CRM platform, we know we can reach thousands of relevant investors, globally, at a touch of a button.”

Lisa Williams, Debenhams plc
 
 

“I am a serial customer –  I cannot imagine running my IR function without the support of RD:IR on the share register analysis and CRM fronts. They are incredibly easy to deal with, they really understand the way IR works, including the pressures. They pitch their services at the sweet spot between responsive and proactive. Their information is clear and comprehensive.”

Jill Sherratt, AA plc
 
 

“I have used RD:IR’s proxy solicitation service through two acquisitions and strongly recommend them. The team was very supportive and the analysis comprehensive. I was very impressed with how they ran the process in each instance and I was kept fully informed at every stage.”

Tanya Hitchens, IR Consultant to Oil & Gas Sector
 
 
To understand further how RD:IR can help enhance your IR strategy, please contact Sarah Blackshaw on +44 20 7492 0500 or sarah.blackshaw@rdir.com
 
 
 

1H 2015 RD:IR Proxy Round-Up

 

 

The UK M&A market saw an upturn in 2014 and this positive momentum continued into the beginning of 2015. RD:IR in turn began the year by carrying out two M&A proxy solicitation campaigns, the first for Salamander Energy plc and the second for Friends Life Group Ltd.

Salamander Energy plc, a FTSE 250 Asia-focused oil exploration company, reached an agreement to be acquired by Ophir Energy plc in an all share deal in November 2014, to be effected by a Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement. The scheme required the approval of Salamander shareholders at both a court meeting and a general meeting in February. Our campaign to Salamander institutional investors helped ensure the successful passing of all resolutions at both meetings, with a large majority of 95% of Salamander shareholders voting in favour of the takeover.

Continuing the M&A trend, Aviva plc agreed to buy Friends Life Group Ltd in December 2014 in an all-share deal between the two FTSE 100 companies. The deal, worth £5.6bn, created the largest UK insurance deal since 2000.

RD:IR conducted a proxy solicitation campaign to Friends Life institutional shareholders to ensure maximum voting. This resulted in more than 99.9% of Friends Life shareholders voting at the general meeting to support the deal, which overwhelmingly passed the 75% threshold required for the two companies to combine.

During the AGM proxy season RD:IR was pleased to provide proxy and corporate governance services to a number of clients, among them: Tullow Oil plc, bwin.party digital entertainment plc and Faroe Petroleum plc.  

If you wish to enquire further about our shareholder communication services please contact Yolande Lundy (Proxy Research Manager) on yolande.lundy@rdir.com / +44 20 7492 0527

The Divestment Movement: Where do Investors Stand?

WHITE PAPER

Discover where investors stand on climate change and the divestment movement by downloading our White Paper at the bottom of this post. You can also discover how RD:IR can overlay your ownership information on our proprietary investor relations platform, IR InTouch, with insight into the ESG principles of your investors.

  • The divestment movement has gathered considerable traction over the past year and it is forcing investors to evaluate their position on fossil fuel investments. 
  • As world leaders prepare to meet in Paris in December this year for the annual UN Climate Change Conference COP 21, stakeholders hope that a global carbon pricing system will result to guide policy and planning for carbon dioxide emissions reductions.
  • The role of investors is evolving; many see both a moral case and a superior investment case for companies with sustainable business plans involving less carbon extraction and less carbon consumption.
  • Investors are looking to understand their carbon exposure and develop strategies to reduce, offset and hedge against risk without relinquishing engagement opportunities.
  • Companies must be aware of shareholder sentiment, initiatives and research, as well as possible regulatory changes, in order to communicate effectively with investors.

Download Paper here:

The Divestment Movement – Where do Investors Stand – RDIR

Shifting Sentiment

Leading European equity indices are 7–12% more expensive now than at the start of 2015. For example, the FTSE-100 index  currently trades at a calendar year 2015 estimated  P/E multiple of 18.9x (source: FactSet consensus data), an expansion of 148 basis points compared with 17.5x at the start of the year,  an 8.4% re-rating.

We note that increasingly stronger equity valuations are not a purely European issue, as the STOXX Global 1800 index has re-rated by 10.2% over the same period.

 

 

Furthermore, current P/E multiples are not only expanding, they are also getting close to historical highs. For example, the entire UK equity market (FactSet aggregate data) currently trades at a CY’15E P/E of 16.7x, representing a 14% premium to the 2000–2014 historical average of 14.6x.

 

Consequently, both sell-side analysts and investors are getting nervous and market sentiment has deteriorated in recent months.

The share of sell-side buy/overweight recommendations has been falling across the board on the back of very strong price performance year-to-date, particularly in Continental Europe, boosted by the ECB’s quantitative easing measures. For example, the share of positive (buy/overweight) ratings among all DAX companies is 38.1% today, a drop of almost ten percentage points from 47.6% of positive at the start of the year.

To rate a stock positively, analysts have to offer some upside to their price target (usually at least 10%). With raising share prices, analysts have basically two ways to continue offering upside potential: 1) raise earnings estimates, which has to be supported by strong trading updates, or 2) apply higher target multiples to earnings forecasts. In other words, stock ratings are being downgraded because analysts can’t justify increasing their earnings projections in a fairly muted macro environment. Again, this is even more evident in Continental Europe, where quantitative easing is first and foremost aimed at reviving sluggish Eurozone economies.

 

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Investors are also getting more nervous about equities. The April 2015 Bank of America Merrill Lynch fund manager survey highlights the deterioration in investor perception of European stocks since the start of the year.

A net 8% of worldwide respondents said that European equities were overvalued in February, rising to 23% in March and then 25% in April survey. Manish Kabra, European Equity and Quantitative Strategist at Merrill Lynch noted: “We are seeing a form of rational exuberance in Europe where a positive view on stocks is supported by fundamentals – but investors no longer believe valuations are cheap.

The belief that European equities are now overvalued is not limited to international investors. In March a net 3% of European managers believed European equities were undervalued, yet in the April survey, sentiment shifted significantly, with a net 10% now saying Europe is overvalued.

While this sentiment prevails, it is worth noting that global investors see the US as the most overvalued market, with 68% of respondents holding this view. However, we would add that, in comparison, the US is in a much better position in terms of earnings recovery potential.

 

What does it all mean for quoted companies?

When equity valuations are getting stronger and trending above the historical average, it becomes increasingly challenging for active fund managers to generate alpha (and justify charging more than tracker funds). This may well mean an increased focus on portfolio rationalisation and a more thorough review of what constitutes top picks and best investment ideas.

In this context, and also given the changing dynamics of the corporate access market in the UK, quoted companies, particularly the smaller ones, need to be even more proactive with their engagement with shareholders and potential investors.

Investor targeting is not simply about identifying and prioritising investors, whether current shareholders that could invest more, or absentee investors that could re-invest or invest for the first time. Good targeting is also about developing high quality relationships with target investors in order to gauge their sentiment towards your stock and to provide them with adequate information about your stock in order that they can make an informed choice about monitoring your stock and/or meeting with you.

A list of targets is only useful if acted upon methodically and quickly, via direct outreach, to investors on a global basis. Such an exercise can be very time-consuming for in-house IR teams, as a targeting campaign may involve hundreds of target investors. The companies that most need this type of campaign are very often also those with more limited internal resources.

RD:IR is well-versed in helping corporates reach out to investors, gathering useful feedback from the buy-side within a short period of time, as well as providing quarterly updates on target sentiment, keeping the target lists fresh and current.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss our Targeting / Investor Access services or any of our other IR services in more detail.

 

Authors: Mark Robinson (Senior Client Manager – European Issuer Services) & Philippe Ronceau (Senior IR Consultant)