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Jun 27, 2024

‘IR is a deeply rewarding experience’: Q&A with the editorial board’s Nicole Chen

CapitaLand China Trust’s head of IR talks crafting narratives and writing children’s books

IR Magazine is proud to introduce its new editorial board. It is made up of 12 seasoned investor relations professionals from across the world, each working at companies in different sectors and of varying cap sizes, but with one thing in common: a passion for pursuing excellence in the profession.

Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing you to each of our board members, who will be working alongside IR Magazine to advise our editorial team about emerging trends, themes and issues facing the profession around the world. You may also hear from them on the IR Voice podcast or on our videos and you might read their words in our weekly Editor’s Picks newsletter.

This week, we speak to Nicole Chen, head of investor relations at CapitaLand China Trust (CLCT), Singapore’s largest China-focused real estate investment trust (Reit), and a frequent speaker at the IR Magazine Forum – South East Asia in recent years.

Nicole Chen, head of IR at CapitaLand China Trust
Nicole Chen, head of IR at CapitaLand China Trust

How would you sum up your approach to IR in three words?

I would sum it up as: understand, craft and serve.

  • Understand: I believe developing a comprehensive understanding is the bedrock of effective IR. To achieve this, it is essential to delve into macroeconomic conditions, stay attuned to competitor actions, grasp the intricacies of our business and understand investor sentiment. This approach will empower me to make informed decisions in shaping our IR strategies.
  • Craft: Crafting messages that highlight the Reit’s narrative while selecting the most appropriate medium and timing is integral to my IR approach. By leveraging gained insights, we can create messages that are both engaging and relevant.
  • Serve: At the heart of every IR effort is a commitment to serving stakeholders. Whether it is the internal team or shareholders, adopting this mindset enables me to build trust and foster long-lasting relationships.

Overall, my approach to IR revolves around understanding the market landscape, crafting holistic messages and serving stakeholders effectively. With these three principles guiding my approach, I partner with the wider CLCT team to effectively create sustainable, long-term value.

What’s been your most memorable IR moment?

One of my most memorable IR moments happened in 2020, during the announcement of CLCT’s mandate expansion and the acquisition of business parks. This period holds significant importance as it required the development of a multi-faceted IR strategy centered on the following key elements:

  • Educating stakeholders – It was essential to educate both new and existing unitholders about the importance and value of the mandate expansion. We focused on educating and showcasing the potential transformation of CLCT with the inclusion of these new assets. This involved crafting clear and compelling messages that demonstrated the strategic rationale behind the expansion and the long-term benefits for investors
  • Gaining the support of the investment community – Gaining support and confidence was crucial to our IR efforts during this period. The acquisition of the business parks was a significant milestone for CLCT and our largest acquisition to date. Through targeted communications with analysts, fund managers and institutional investors, we conveyed the value proposition and growth prospects of CLCT post-acquisition.

Working on such transformative deals is invigorating as it allows me to shape new narratives and materialize them in the market. The process of developing a comprehensive IR strategy, educating stakeholders and witnessing the positive response from investors is a deeply rewarding experience. It underscores the importance of effective communication and the value it brings to building investor confidence.

What’s something people don’t typically know about you? (This doesn’t have to be related to work)

I have a passion for writing and, in my free time, I often find myself composing short stories and poems whenever inspiration strikes. These moments of inspiration can occur in the most unexpected places – whether I am waiting at a traffic light or enjoying a quiet moment reading. It is during these seemingly mundane moments that ideas come to life, words form verses and characters weave themselves into stories.

Naturally, my passion for writing spilled over into my professional life in IR. I enjoy the art of crafting narratives and strategically positioning our company’s messages while brainstorming the most effective media for communication.

In 2022, I published a children’s book titled I’ll be me. My goal for the book was to ignite the imagination of young readers and expand their awareness of the limitless possibilities in their lives. The fulfillment and enjoyment I derive from this project motivate me to publish more in the future.

Read the rest of our Q&As with the IR Magazine editorial board here

Laurie Havelock

Laurie has been part of the IR Magazine team for more than a decade, starting out as a reporter and research editor before becoming editor in 2023. He was previously acting business editor at the i newspaper and deputy business editor at The Daily...