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Dec 24, 2018

Fifteen questions with DBX Entertainments

Marwa Gouda is head of investor relations at the Dubai-based firm

1. How long have you been in IR? 
I’ve been doing public equity IR for the past four years, but my career in IR spans close to 10. Prior to my current role, I headed IR for a venture capital group and before that I headed IR for the private equity division of an asset management group. 

2. What did you do before IR? 
I started my career in human rights and development research. Many of the skills learned early on in my career have served me well: research, writing and the ability to manage multiple conflicting stakeholders are skills I still use. 

3. What are your qualifications? 
I graduated with a degree in political science and economics. I am also a chartered alternative investment analyst and have completed the International Certification in IR. 

4. How is your team set up? 
We are a two-person team and take a collaborative approach to most of our work, each one of us taking the lead on projects or tasks depending on our strengths. 

5. How many roadshows and investor conferences do you take part in each year? 
We typically attend between five and seven investor conferences and arrange one or two roadshows per year. 

6. Do you ever hold investor or capital markets days?
We aim to hold a capital markets day every two years. We also host numerous smaller analyst and shareholder-focused events and site tours each year. 

7. Do you use social media as part of your IR program?
Most of our social media strategy is targeted at our theme park guests. In terms of investor relations, we launched an IR app about two years ago that aims to deliver timely information to our shareholder base. 

8. Do you receive support from any external IR firms?
We use a financial communications firm, especially around reporting season. 

9. What is the most popular question from analysts and investors right now?
This is our first full year of operations, so most of the questions relate to our expected steady state of performance and future growth plans. 

10. Is ESG a focal point for investors and, if so, which aspect is most scrutinized?
The regulatory framework in our region is increasingly focused on various aspects of governance and social responsibility, and we have been committed to sustainability and sound corporate governance throughout our construction and operational phases. 

11. What’s been the biggest challenge of your IR career?
How to become a sector specialist in a fast- growing industry. Each IR position I’ve held has been in a new industry where I had to set up a team from scratch. When I joined DXB Entertainments, I was new to the theme park industry and we were a green field project operating in an industry that was new to the region. 

12. What’s your favorite thing about IR? 
I have enjoyed building the company’s relationships with the investment community. Writing the annual report is another part of the job I really enjoy. 

13. And your least favorite? 
While there isn’t anything I don’t like about investor relations, reporting day is usually the most stressful aspect of my job. My team is responsible for updating the corporate website, regulatory reporting, financial disclosures, financial media briefing and shareholder and analyst communication. On reporting day all these activities happen almost simultaneously within a very short time frame and I always feel there aren’t enough minutes in an hour! 

14. What do you enjoy doing outside work? 
I really enjoy reading and handicrafts, so I am generally either at home reading a good book or watching a TV series while crocheting baby blankets and clothes for my friends and family. 

15. If you could pass on one IR lesson, what would it be?
Never pass up a meeting request; every meeting is an opportunity to challenge your messaging and strategy. 

This article was published in the winter 2018 issue of IR Magazine – the 30th anniversary issue of IR Magazine

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