New Year resolutions for IROs
As we welcome 2018, we hear from IR experts Martino De Ciccio, vice president of strategy & IR at Endeavour Mining, and Andrew Hanson, director of IR & corporate communications at Victrex, who share their views on the aspects of IR best practice and career development they’ll be focusing on this year.
What currently works really well for you in terms of IR activity that you’ll definitely be taking forward into 2018?
Martino De Ciccio: What Endeavour has been working on recently is improving the flow of information into our corporate center from our individual operations and assets. As we have worked on establishing improved processes for sharing information internally and setting up better communications channels, we have been better able to provide the high-quality information investors are seeking. Shareholders and analysts have appreciated that so we will be taking this forward and looking to improve even further in 2018.
Andrew Hanson: As a manufacturing-based business, with UK manufacturing but global sales, site visits have worked very well for Victrex over the last year and we’ll be doing more in 2018. These have enabled investors to ‘touch and feel’ the products and understand the opportunity in more detail.
For example, we are currently working on a polymer gear to replace metal gears in cars, saving weight and significant noise. The value of seeing and feeling it is massive for investors and whether it’s a major shareholder visit or a group of analysts, we put significant emphasis on such opportunities. They are also a really great tool to use in light of Mifid II, enabling investors to see things first-hand, building relationships and applying the personal touch. In addition, allowing investors to see management beyond executives is really valuable.
Are there any areas of IR activity you’ll be looking to change in 2018, and why?
AH: Investor conferences have generally worked well but we will become more selective on these going forward and make best use of the time we have, particularly where management is involved.
MDC: As a relatively young company that is growing fast, we are always looking to improve. One area in particular is to continue to be more transparent and increase our disclosure. This is particularly important in the area of governance and sustainable development. We know an increasing number of investors are interested in this area and are giving greater weight to it when they make their investment decisions. While this has always been important to us, we will be placing a greater focus on improving awareness of our ESG strategy, our execution of it and the way we measure it. This will be a key priority for us in the coming year.
Are there any areas of career development you/your team will look at for 2018?
MDC: Investor relations is an area that is constantly developing. As we respond to increased volumes of ESG investing, we will be working on what new tools are available to support our efforts in this space. We will also be looking to develop our use of new and existing digital and social channels to improve our communications with our investors. I’m also interested in how we can use new data analytics to further refine our communications strategy by better understanding what matters to our investors.
AH: With a role that encompasses IR and wider corporate communications, I’m keen to look outside of our own area, so understanding what similar-sized – and even larger –companies are doing across this space is always useful. The feedback we receive suggests Victrex is well regarded within our own chemicals sector in terms of IR activity, but what are other companies doing that we can learn from?
Some IR activity may not be relevant for us but ‘informal learning’ is a great way to develop skills, knowledge and ultimately helps employees for their future careers, too.