Deutsche Telekom and Vivendi score IR wins at Extel awards
The 41st annual Extel awards – otherwise known locally as the Oscars of financial services - were presented in London’s Guildhall less than a day after it was announced that WeConvene had bought research service Extel from Thomson Reuters.
Around 400 members of the investment community met for drinks, canapés and a brisk lunch, before the BBC’s Emily Maitlis officiated proceedings. The Extel awards are determined, she explained, by a survey conducted by Thomson Reuters between March and May which this year attracted ‘a record level of participation’, with some 16,000 brokers, analysts and bankers casting votes.
WeConvene’s CEO, Radek Barnert, even presented the award for the best fund management individual, picked up by JPMorgan’s Peter Lawrence. During a short speech, Barnert outlined his hopes for the new partnership with Extel and reaffirmed both companies’ support for current and future initiatives.
Strangely enough, a cartoon character appeared on stage to name the ‘Leading Pan-European Investor Relations Professional’ rather than one of the eminent finance heads preferred for other awards. Alex Masterley – the fictional boss of Megabank and star of the Telegraph’s finance cartoon – presented the gong to Vivendi’s head of IR Jean-Michel Bonamy from the comfort of Epsom racecourse, before quipping ‘if he asks, don’t tell my compliance officer’.
Alex Masterley reveals the winner from Ascot
Karin Forseke, chairman of Alliance Trust, then introduced the award for the leading company for investor relations. She highlighted the ‘three pillars of long-term consideration, stewardship and transparency’ that make up good IR, in particular the importance of ‘saying no to short-term quick fixes’ and ‘caring for our investors’ capital’.
Forseke then called on Deutsche Telekom’s Stephan Eger, head of investor relations, and CFO Thomas Dannenfeldt to pick up their glass trophy.
Elsewhere in the awards, Bank of America Merrill Lynch picked up the title for leading brokerage firm for equity and equity-linked research, while fellow investment bank JP Morgan was named the best European fund management firm. Individual honors were awarded to Andrew Wood, of Sanford C Bernstein, as the leading equity analyst in the continent, and to JP Morgan’s Sophie Warrick as the best specialist sales person.
Other IR winners were also identified – though not awarded with a trophy –as part of the Thomson Reuters Extel Survey. Jörg Schneider of German insurers Munich Re was named as the leading European CFO for IR, Maurice Levy of Publicis Group the best CEO for IR. Of all the UK companies who formed part of Extel’s research, BT Group was found to provide the best IR.
Steven Kelly, Thomson Reuters Extel’s managing director, notes in a press release that votes for IR performances were more prevalent in 2014 than in previous years.
‘The pivotal role of IR in the investment community is reflected by the growing interest in using Extel rankings as a benchmark of outperformance, as IR professionals face even tougher competition to be rated highly,’ he suggests. ‘Every winner demonstrates how their IR program adds value to their company.’