The European judged awards: A look at 2017’s eight categories

Apr 10, 2017
<p>A roundup of new trends and previous winners</p>

Last year saw a new type of category added to the IR Magazine Awards – Europe, one that allows companies to nominate themselves or be put forward by a third party. 

This proved so popular that we’ve added another five awards to the self-entry categories this year, bringing the total number of judged awards to eight. 

Having received more than 100 submissions, the entry process has now closed and the jury – IR Magazine deputy editor Candice de Monts-Petit; Heinrich Ey, co-CIO for European mid/small cap at Allianz; Abigail Herron, head of responsible investment engagement at Aviva Investors; Catherine James, former head of IR at Diageo; and Nicholas Melhuish, head of global equities at Amundi – will reveal the short lists soon. 

Below, we break down this year’s five new categories and look back at previous winners in the three categories that are making a comeback in 2017. 

New for 2017:

Best annual report
From pared-back infographic-style reports and integrated reports to the growing importance of non-financial KPIs and multimedia PDFs with an embedded video message from the CEO, there’s a lot going on in the world of annual reporting.

Research on 100 UK annual reports by Deloitte in 2016 shows that a third discuss how they create value for a variety of stakeholder groups, 8 percent describe their report as ‘integrated’ and 71 percent discuss value creation in some way. There are failings too, however: 72 percent of those presenting alternative performance measures on their summary page fail to give equal or greater prominence to corresponding Gaap measures, and more than half do not include the qualifications or assumptions underlying the directors’ assessment of longer-term viability. 

Best crisis management
From macroeconomics to geopolitics, hostile takeovers and supply chain scandals, IR teams deal with a potentially vast array of crises. Back in 2012, IR Magazine research revealed that a corporate crisis had affected one in three companies in the previous five years – and that two thirds of firms had an action plan in place. And often, it’s when a problem does arise that IR professionals really get to show their worth. 

Best ESG communications
Each year, ESG plays an ever-greater role in the decision-making processes of huge investors, from the world’s largest SWF to the big institutions. Assessing investor priorities for the 2017 proxy season, the EY Center for Board Matters talked to more than 50 US-based investors representing $24 tn in assets under management. ‘Close to a third of the investors we spoke with said climate change should be a board priority in 2017,’ notes EY. ‘That’s more than double the number of investors who said so last year.’ 

Best IR website
There’s a lot out there when it comes to best practice IR websites – and best doesn’t always mean most expensive. A recent guest article by Scott Payton, managing partner at Bowen Craggs, highlights five low-cost ways companies can improve the IR website. In fact, research by the firm in 2016 shows that, globally, it’s European companies that are winning when it comes to corporate websites. The Bowen Craggs Index of Online Excellence highlights just how clear the transatlantic gap is: of the 30 most ‘effective corporate web estates’ (websites plus social media channels) in 2016, just six are US companies; the other 24 are European.

Best IR during a corporate transaction
While Brexit had an impact on European M&A last year, research by Willis Towers Watson in October shows that the number of deals on the continent was set to hit a five-year high for 2016. The research firm notes that ‘despite companies perfecting the execution of M&A, transactions are becoming increasingly complex to close and integrate.’

It’s year-end review continues: ‘In 2017 and beyond, what is required to succeed in M&A is experience. This can never be underestimated, nor undervalued. It’s knowing the roadblocks and how to effectively overcome obstacles in the deal cycle.’ 

Now in their second year:

Best investor event
Unilever took home the judged award in this category last year for not only having extensive senior management buy-in at its events, but also including a visit to a consumer in his own home – a unique approach to understanding customers’ needs. 

Best use of multimedia for IR
Last year the judges awarded Deutsche EuroShop the gong for best use of multimedia for IR after the firm took the initiative to stream its CEO speeches via the free app Periscope. Speaking to IR Magazine at the time, Patrick Kiss, head of IR at the company, said more than 100 people tuned in.

Rising star
The rising star award – given to an up-and-coming IRO –went to Martin Kjær Hansen from ISS last year, with judges impressed by his commitment to the profession. One judge commented that this youngest ever board member of the Danish Investor Relations Society ‘went above and beyond the call of duty’. 

We’ll keep you posted on the short lists for each self-entry category, coming soon.

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