Spotlight on: Key issues in Q4 for UK IROs
As we enter the last months of 2018, we hear from Leah McCreanor, senior IR manager at RBS, and Steve Nightingale, director of IR at Britvic Soft Drinks, who share their Q3 experiences and outline their expectations for Q4.
What was your main IR focus in Q3, and did you experience any challenges or achievements you’d like to share with your IR peers?
Leah McCreanor: We held an investor seminar on our personal & business banking franchise in Q3 that always involves a great deal of effort across the business. While these events are very time-consuming, they are an invaluable part of our IR program and very rewarding when well received by investors and analysts. We learn a lot about the business when preparing for them and our internal teams get a different perspective from us on the external view of their strategy.
Steve Nightingale: Across the industry we faced a shortage of carbon dioxide that had a huge impact on the sector as it is a key component in the manufacture of carbonated soft drinks. Thankfully things have returned to normal now, but it reinforced my belief that IR professionals should build strong relationships with both investors and the sell side, because this proved important as we explained the shape of our Q3 performance.
What are the main issues on your horizon going into Q4? Do you have any planned IR activity for the period?
SN: Specifically, for consumer goods, the issues of packaging, plastics and the possibility of a deposit return scheme (DRS) are major topics of discussion. On a wider front, I believe investors are keen to understand what the impacts of Brexit will be on business, and what contingency plans companies can put in place to deal with these.
LM: Events will again be a big focus for us going into the next three months. We have another seminar planned around our commercial banking business in Q4 that will, no doubt, keep us busy, and this will sit alongside our usual IR roadshow activity.
What do you feel have been the main talking points for IROs over the last quarter, and what do you expect these to be for Q4?
LM: For those of us in the banking sector the narrative has really focused on three main areas: Brexit, mortgage margins and competition. Looking ahead, we expect much of the same in Q4.
SN: For us it has been the impact of the soft drinks industry levy (SDIL) that came into force earlier this year. For a category such as soft drinks, the weather can be an annual discussion point and this year saw a fantastic summer for the UK and Ireland. As you can imagine, this has only heightened interest.
Is there anything else on your mind as 2018 draws to a close?
SN: While Mifid II has been in force for nine months now, I believe the visible impact to IROs has yet to been seen. Our coverage has remained the same and access to investors remains open, but I’m sure we’ll start to see changes coming through over the next 12 months.