Elsewhere, one of the biggest emerging ESG themes in North America is investor focus on racial equity. This proxy season, there are several proposals asking for racial equity reporting and evidence that the rhetoric is backed by conscious efforts to recognize and value the benefits of a diverse workforce. Ben Maiden outlines the notable proposals and looks at how company management teams have responded.
When last summer’s protests started, the price of Bitcoin was $8,841, Ethereum was $200 and Dogecoin was $0.002491. As of May 10, one Bitcoin is worth about $55,000, an Ethereum is worth $3,890 and Dogecoin is 45 cents. Cryptocurrency as an asset class is valued at more than $2 tn, and it’s time to ask how, not if, it will affect IR. In this issue, we look at various scenarios that are already happening: competition for capital, public firms buying cryptocurrency, and the use of blockchain technology for proxy voting, dividend distribution and settlement periods.
Almost half (45 percent) of small-cap companies have seen an increase in their retail shareholdings during the last year and, as Garnet Roach writes, some IR teams are experimenting with new methods of communication. While no IR team is going to prioritize retail investors over institutional holders, some are finding that one-to-many communications tools – like chat bots, paid social media campaigns and Reddit AMAs – can have positive results. But this can be a double-edged sword, as Tim Human reports, with some public companies in Asia facing a battle to correct misinformation on social media that investors act on.
Our research this issue looks at the changing corporate access landscape – exploring how much investors and IR teams use buy-side and sell-side corporate access, and how much all parties work together.
Thank you, as always, for reading. I hope you and your loved ones continue to stay safe, healthy and sane. If you can, get vaccinated and be sure to take some time off this summer to recharge your batteries. You deserve it!
Ben Ashwell, editor IR Magazine