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Mar 24, 2020

'Be consistent to build trust and credibility with investors'

Amit Bhalla is head of IR at global energy management and automation firm Schneider Electric

How long have you been in IR?

I have run the IR team at Schneider Electric – my first IR role – since August 2016.

What did you do before IR?

I worked in multiple roles for large global companies – Huawei, Cisco and Nortel – in areas including international tax planning, transfer pricing, restructuring and M&A advisory. I started my career in consulting with Arthur Andersen. 

What are your qualifications?

I am a qualified chartered accountant and have degrees in business studies and accountancy. I also have management training from INSEAD and UNC.

How is your team set up?

My two IR directors and I focus on external interactions, and my two senior managers generate content, plus one of them organizes our events. 

How many conferences and roadshows do you participate in?

Last year we participated in nine conferences – seven with management – and 10 roadshows.

Do you ever hold investor or capital markets days?

We average a formal capital markets day every 15 to 18 months. But I believe in an ongoing exchange with investors and have instituted a program with quarterly touch points, like site visits, conference calls, events, newsletters, and so on. 

Do you use social media as part of your IR program?

Yes: many analysts and investors follow the company and our leaders’ social media feeds, which provide real-time dissemination of information.

Do you receive support from any external IR firms?

We partner with multiple service providers and always look for best practices and tools to improve our efficiency and knowledge.

What is the most popular question from investors and analysts right now?

As for most companies, the most common question is around macroeconomic trends. I also see a lot of interest from investors on our sustainability efforts as well as on digital transformation.

Is ESG a focal point for investors?

I am glad to see ESG gaining relevance as part of the core investment process. I think topics around climate change and governance are very important to investors at the moment, and rightly so.

What’s been the biggest challenge of your IR career?

I was a core member of the team at Nortel, driving the bankruptcy and sale process after the financial crisis (2008- 2012). This process included reporting to global creditor committees, selling assets and intangibles, downsizing teams and preserving value.

What’s your favorite part of  working at Schneider?

I am inspired to work for a company with a meaningful purpose, one that celebrates diversity and inclusion and where people are truly empowered.

And working in IR?

I enjoy the opportunity to work with the sharpest minds (internally and externally), to develop talent within the team and contribute to the success of the company.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Even though I travel a lot for work, I still like to travel in my off-time. I also enjoy playing tennis, reading, going to the theatre and collecting art.

If you could pass on one IR lesson, what would it be?

You have to be consistent over time to build trust and credibility with investors. 

 

This article was published in the Spring 2020 issue of IR Magazine.

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