Itaú Unibanco prevails in 10th annual Brazil awards

Jul 23, 2014
<p>Putting IR intelligence to work in post-World Cup S&atilde;o Paulo</p>

Brazil doesn’t have the feel of a country that lost the World Cup. The tournament was seen here as a humiliating but deserved loss for its team – and by extension for its increasingly unpopular President Dilma Rousseff – but a triumph for the Brazilian people and their beloved country.

Itaú's Marcelo Kopel

Itaú's Marcelo Kopel accepting the grand prix

Brazil doesn’t feel like a victor, though, with Dilma’s prospects in the October presidential election constantly debated, along with the outlook for an economy that has been probing for a foothold since the end of the country’s stellar 2005-2011 run. According to a temperature check of investors by BNY Mellon, average optimism on Brazil is three out of five but deteriorating.

At least one winner is certain, though, and that’s Itaú Unibanco, which swept last night’s IR Magazine Awards in São Paulo. The banking giant won seven awards, including the grand prix for best overall IR, as voted in a survey of 198 analysts and investors, and a special award for being the top performer over the 10 years of these Brazilian awards.

Marcelo Kopel, Itaú’s new head of IR, was on hand to celebrate along with a good chunk of Itaú’s formidable team of IROs. Click here to view a full list of winners.

IBRI and value creation

The awards attracted around 320 IROs and their supporters to last night’s gala, held in conjunction with the 16th annual IR and capital markets conference put on by IBRI, the Brazilian IR association, and ABRASCA, which represents listed companies.

IBRI president Geraldo Soares

IBRI president Geraldo Soares launches the organization's 16th annual conference

The conference drew some 750 attendees, an increase over 2013, with IROs being told they have to work harder than ever considering a generally lukewarm interest in Brazilian equities. The theme throughout the two-day event, the largest of its kind in Latin America, is the ‘intelligence of investor relations’, defined by VALOR Partners’ Helmut Bossert, IBRI’s coordinator for new members, as ‘extracting maximum information from the players in the capital markets, so that companies can benefit from insights, accelerate their growth and create value for their shareholders.’

To kick off the conference, IBRI president Geraldo Soares unveiled a new communications campaign under the tagline ‘IR cria valor’, or ‘IR creates value’. ‘It’s a clear message, a mantra for the coming years,’ he announced.

The theme of intelligence was carried into an opening panel of CEOs who declared that the IRO should be close to if not an actual part of strategic planning. ‘Knowing how to put yourself in the shoes of investors is an important virtue of the IRO,’ said André Dorf, CEO of CPFL Renováveis, which listed in 2013. Fibria CEO Marcelo Castelli added: ‘It’s important to know what’s in the mind of investors.’ And Libano Barroso, CEO of Via Varejo, emphasized that feedback about the market, investors and competitors is essential to decision-making, with the IRO ‘a translator, an agent.’

As the conference wraps up today, panels will look at IR intelligence directed toward institutional investors as well as crisis management. Once again, Brazil is showing – even in this uncertain climate and a World Cup hangover – that its IR professionals are playing with the flair the country is known for, even if its footballers have not been.

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