IR Magazine’s latest report looks at the biggest challenges faced by IR teams in 2017 and examines their main objectives for this year, from investor targeting to gathering feedback or increasing research coverage. Based on responses from almost 600 IR professionals and senior management members, the report breaks down the data by region, cap size and sector, and offers verbatim comments from the IR community and case studies.
- Globally, targeting new investors is the top priority for IR teams, with 75 percent putting it among their top three objectives for 2018 and 37 percent saying it is the number one goal they want to achieve.
- Enhancing engagement with existing shareholders comes second on the list of global IR objectives for 2018 at 65 percent. After this, no objective is a global priority for more than 36 percent of respondents.
- Regionally, Asian IROs are the only ones not to put investor targeting as their key focus for the year. Instead there is a greater focus on existing shareholders, with enhancing engagement coming top for this group, followed by targeting new investors and increasing investor feedback.
- The focus on increasing research coverage – unsurprisingly – peaks at small caps (43 percent) before dropping as market cap size rises to a low of just 4 percent at well-covered mega-caps. Another area of far greater small-cap focus is (again, unsurprisingly) raising capital.
- Among IR professionals’ top objectives, the views of IR heads and IR managers differ most when it comes to increasing investor feedback. A quarter of IR heads put this into their top three, rising to a third among IR managers.
- The biggest challenges in 2017 were market-related (such as managing expectations or liquidity) with 56 percent of IR professionals giving this category a top-three rating, followed by other company-related challenges (crisis management or company performance, for example) at 42 percent.
- Regionally, management-related issues were a bigger challenge for IROs in North America (35 percent compared with a regional low of 21 percent in Europe), though North Americans were less concerned with compliance and regulation (10 percent compared with a regional high of 33 percent in Europe).
- At the cap size level, ESG was less of an issue for small caps (13 percent) rising with cap size to a high of 28 percent at mega-caps.
- IR heads and IR managers differ by highs of 10 percentage points on the importance of two key challenges from 2017: macroeconomic issues and compliance and regulation. In each case, IR managers were more likely to give these a top-three rating than were IR heads.