ESG tops list of hot topics on the minds of IROs

IR survey highlights talking points for 2013, with IROs broadly optimistic about the year ahead

ESG communications, integrated reporting and debt IR top the list of topics occupying the minds of IROs today, according to a new survey conducted by brokerage house Cheuvreux in partnership with a number of national IR associations.

Looking at the world of investor relations in continental Europe, the firm’s European Corporate Survey highlights three hot topics for IR, with ESG topping the list after being named by 26 percent of IROs. Integrated reporting projects and management of the fixed-income community follow on 19 percent each, based on answers from 140 IROs.

Regulation is lower down the list of priorities, however, with European regulation related to transparency or to MiFID mentioned by just 15 percent and 11 percent of IROs, respectively. ‘Likewise, investors’ understanding of the company’s business model is not a source of concern for most of the IROs surveyed,’ notes the report.

A separate survey of 270 international investors by the European equity broker finds an increasingly positive view of the coming year. More than 80 percent of respondents say they expect the Eurostoxx 50 to rise by June 30, 2013. Overall, 35 percent expect it to rise by at least 10 percent ‒ a proportion that is even higher for investors in continental Europe, where the percentage of optimists rises to 41 percent.

In a year when researchers say we will see the ‘return of a bottom-up approach’, investors are also anticipating a shift in the way they assess companies. More than half of all investors surveyed say company results will be the most important factor when making investment decisions in 2013 – rising to 78 percent in the US.

The importance of macroeconomics in such decisions will fall next year, with 24 percent citing its importance for the coming year compared with 32 percent at present.

The survey was conducted in partnership with France's CLIFF, Germany's DIRK, the Netherland's NEVIR, Switzerland's IR Club and Spain's AERI.

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