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Jul 08, 2020

Covid-19 prompts rise in extra duties for IR departments

Research finds North American respondents taking on most additional tasks

While budgets have taken a hit during the Covid-19 pandemic, IR professionals have also seen a rise in additional responsibilities, according to new research.

The Covid-19 and IR report, published by IR Magazine, finds that 38 percent of IROs globally say their non-IR duties have increased since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The shift is most apparent in North America where 57 percent of IROs say they are taking on extra tasks, compared with 35 percent in Asia and 22 percent in Europe. 

There is little difference between companies of different size: 40 percent of IROs at companies under $5 bn in market cap have received more duties, while the figure is 36 percent for IROs at companies above $5 bn.

Survey participants were asked to comment on the main changes that have taken place to their working practices. Some of the responses include:

  • ‘Everyone working from home. More communications needed and more co-ordination with other communications within the company’ – head of IR, Canada, financials
  • ‘More virtual engagement, additional reporting, less focus on numbers vs trends. Increased volume of incoming interest, from both current and prospective holders, globally’ – IRO, UK, technology
  • ‘Working from home. The demand has only increased, especially given the increase in video calls/conferences’ – head of IR, US, technology

Looking to the future, 41 percent of IROs globally expect their non-IR responsibilities to climb over the coming months. 

The regional findings follow a similar pattern to before, with North American IROs most likely to foresee additional duties (57 percent), followed by those in Asia (35 percent) and Europe (29 percent).

The IR Magazine report is based on a survey of more than 180 IR professionals, investors and sell-side analysts. The research took place between May 12 and May 21.

Last week, we reported on the finding that almost half (45 percent) of IROs on a global basis  have either witnessed budget cuts or expect them in the near future.

Click here to read the full report.