RD:IR GROWS A MO

Resident Mo Bros and employees Jack Millward and Tom O’Grady spent their November grooming their top lips to raise money for the Movember Foundation. It was like the 80s had returned to London for a whole month, and all for a great cause.

The Movember Foundation work to fight men’s health issues, primarily prostate cancer, testicular cancer, depression and suicide. Having dubbed November ‘Movember’ back in 2003, the Foundation encourages thousands of men worldwide every year to don the all-but-lost ‘tache. We are proud to have taken part in this great cause, and not for the first time.

If you would like to make a donation, please click here.

For more information on the Movember Foundation, please click here.

BEST PRACTICE AWARDS 2018

RD:IR was front-and-centre among the 500 or so guests at the Best Practice Awards again this year, being a Gold Sponsor of the IR Society. This year’s event was held at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms and was indeed grand, as the name suggests. This annual do, now in its 18th year, is always the most anticipated in the investor relations calendar, leading to attendees dressing in their finest to be entertained and socialise the night away.

We send our warmest congratulations to all winners on the night, and are especially proud to work with RDI REIT, which was named for having the best overall communication of company investment proposition, and Fidelity International, recognised for having the best investor engagement. Both companies were rightly acknowledged to have a strong IR strategy due to their commitment to their investors and the markets.

The Best Practice Awards are an important marker of the seriousness with which the IR Society takes best practice and good governance, issues which we at RD:IR view as vital for healthy capital markets. It is right to recognise those people and companies leading the field with their approaches to investor relations, and long may it continue. Thank you to everyone who contributed to such a fantastic evening, not least the hard-working team at the IR Society.

Fidelity International picking up their award for best investor engagement (L-R: Miles Jupp, Patricia LeFranc and David Enticknap)

RDI REIT picking up their award for FTSE 250 company with the best overall communication of company investment proposition (L-R: Debbie Nathan, Tish Crawford-Jones, Janine Ackerman and Miles Jupp)

British Land picking up their award for FTSE 100 company with the best overall communication of company investment proposition (L-R: Miles Jupp, David Walker, Joanna Waddingham and Alison Owers)

EasyJet picking up their award for best overall company IR (L-R: Richard Davies, Stuart Morgan and Miles Jupp)

RD:IR ATTENDS FINNISH IR CONFERENCE

On 01 October, RD:IR had the pleasure to sponsor and participate in the Finnish IR Conference, hosted by the Finnish IR Society (FIRS) at F-Secure’s offices in Helsinki. Opening and closing remarks were made by FIRS’ chairman, Marja Mäkinen, with various speakers filling the day. It was a very well attended event, with diverse participation ranging from corporate issuers to legal companies and major local investors. Several newcomers to the industry were also in attendance. The programme benefited from excellent speakers passing on their experiences on subjects ranging from governance to the economy. 

Everyone in attendance at the Finnish IR Conference was very engaging, and credit to the board for making the annual event a memorable one. RD:IR very much looks forward to working with our Finnish partners in the future, having enjoyed working closely with FIRS.

We are successfully growing our client base in Northern Europe, being active in Norway, Denmark and Finland, and these events prove useful for both RD:IR and our clients. They are well organised and a superb opportunity to meet others and discuss the state of the IR and wider investment industries.

INFORMED ARTICLE BY RICHARD DAVIES

The 2018 Outlook – Uncertainty, Change and Possibility

Looking into his crystal ball, Richard Davies picks out the issues that IROs may be preoccupied with next year in addition to the ‘M’ and ‘B’ words – and there are both promising and ominous ones.

I promised myself that I would not write about ‘the M word’ in this article as I have the feeling that many in the IR community are ‘M’d out’, as one of my clients recently so wonderfully described their state of mind. Never has so much been discussed in IR about something so lacking in clarity. How many times have we heard or used the phrase “we just don’t know” in the last few months? It has become the mantra of the capital markets.

I am looking forward to 2018, if only to witness the excitement of the banks finally putting their rate cards for research and access on the table. I suspect the printers will be very busy with all the edits that will need to be carried out over the first few months of the year. This will be a race to the bottom.

I also promised myself that I would not mention ‘the B word’ as that is turning into an even greater fiasco than even the most hardened Remainer could have imagined. There are some good news stories coming through but whatever your views on the process, the business community in the UK remains wary in terms of investment. The UK economy remains on a tight-rope regarding interest rates, yet inflation is ticking slowly up, as are, I note from our research, levels of stocklending in UK equities. The UK IPO market remains sluggish, not helped by banks pulling back on some major offerings in recent weeks.

The cherry on the bun of the perfect storm regarding UK equities is the recent drama at the London Stock Exchange. In a world which has seen so much challenge to the institutional framework of the developed economies, driven by a US president unashamedly tearing up the rule-book on how to run a civilised nation, we now expect disruption and change on a daily basis. However, despite the froth and static of contemporary politics, we assume some structures will remain icons of permanence in an otherwise unsettled world.

The last thing the UK equity market needed in these turbulent times was a shaking edifice at its core, its domestic stock exchange, but this is what has happened in recent weeks. It is not my business to comment here on the reasons for this disruption but the requisition of an EGM by an activist investor has struck at the heart of the City.

How much damage this has caused to London’s reputation as a safe place for raising money, a fundamental strong positive for our market and country, remains to be seen.

Debt, private equity and innovation

Outside the M word and the B word, what does 2018 offer for the UK investor professional by way of excitement? As I have written in previous columns, capital markets are moving towards debt and private equity as ways of raising money. Many believe that the impact of the impending regulatory change is detrimental to smaller quoted companies, who will struggle even more for a voice in the marketplace. Many companies will give up fighting the tide and delist in some way.

We are only at the beginning of the blockchain story, which will create change across all markets and sectors including areas tangential to IR, from share registration through trading and asset management to the basic ways that companies conduct their business operationally.

We have already seen innovation in personal share trading, initially through online platforms but now through the use of dedicated apps that save and invest money for their users on a collective basis. The only brake on expansion of these new routes to market is regulation. Financial services represent a ripe market for change as cash keeps pouring into asset management businesses. How far away are we from being able to buy shares on Amazon or Google? Coming soon to your smartphone, I suspect…

IROs and robots

Robotisation and AI are key themes for the New Year, but I am slightly reminded of the 1970s when the BBC popular science show, Tomorrow’s World, spoke glowingly of a brave new world of technology that is only now starting to present itself in reality and only in part. I doubt if the IRO will be replaced by a robot anytime soon, just as active asset management has a long way to run, despite the lures of far less expensive quantitative and passive investment strategies.

Certainly, with the threat of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula to sharpen our minds, a global political situation which increasingly resembles a children’s playground, and a lonely planet which seems to be buckling under the pressure, I doubt if life in 2018 will be boring.

Let us hope investor relations remains a beacon of calm and certainly, a point of surety in troubled times. We must never forget that there are facts and news should be real. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous and prosperous New Year.

FIDELITY GO HOME HAPPY – BEST PRACTICE AWARDS 2017

A team of RD:IR employees and clients joined the IR Society Best Practice Awards 2017 for an evening of entertainment, socialising and prize-giving. The 17th awards ceremony, held at the Tower of London, was attended by almost 600 IR professionals, the highest ever number of guests.

We are pleased to announce that our client, Fidelity International, scooped the Best Investor Engagement Award. We commend the team at Fidelity for their diligence, professionalism and market insight, which led to winning in this category.

We wholeheartedly congratulate all the winners and nominees at the Awards, and thank everyone who contributed to such a fantastic evening, including the hard-working team at the IR Society!

 

Picture shows, left to right: Rev. Richard Coles, Trelawny Williams from Fidelity International, and Cynthia Meiring from Jefferies.