IR Magazine has a long history of honoring those men, women and companies around the world that excel at investor relations. In celebration of 30 years of IR Magazine, we selected 30 IR stars that have shone particularly brightly over the past three decades and will be posting one profile each day for 30 days.
A suitable final IR star comes in the form of Jacky Yung of China Unicom – a big winner at the 2018 Greater China Awards – and a look toward the future of IR in China. ‘The rise of China as an economic strong power and the increasing integration of the global economy have given rise to an increasing international appetite for Chinese investment opportunities,’ Yung says, ‘especially given the inclusion of China A Shares in various MSCI and FTSE indexes as international asset managers increasingly turn to China to look for their next alpha stocks.
‘For Chinese IR, it represents new opportunities to market the corporate investment story and to broaden the investor base. But it also entails tremendous effort to iron out differences in cultures and market regimes, as international investors may find it difficult to understand the economic interplay in China under socialism. There have never been greater opportunities – and challenges – for Chinese IR to bridge companies with foreign capital.’
So where does Yung see the profession in 10 years’ time? Many factors have impacted IR in recent years, says Yung, including ‘the evolution of the investment community and its dynamics toward the increasing integration of the global economy, the rising prominence of ESG issues, the implementation of Mifid II, the growth of exchange-traded funds and the rise of artificial intelligence.’
This pace of change is, he predicts, set to continue but rather than eliminating the need for IR, as some believe it will, Yung says these changes ‘will lead to a rising importance of the IR function in effectively engaging the investment community to enhance the value of their companies.’
IR professionals will also need to evolve to equip themselves with new skill sets and perspectives in order to seize the new opportunities available. ‘IROs will take up a bigger role in managing information flow across markets, as well as dealing with a wide investor base of varying demands,’ Yung says.
‘It is important for IR professionals to know what investors prioritize and how best to engage with them. They also need to present investor feedback to senior management or the board, with a view to effectively aligning the demands of investors with the interests of their companies.’
This is the final profile in our IR stars series. You can view the full list here or simply look inside you copy of IR Magazine.
A version of this article was published in the winter 2018 issue of IR Magazine – the 30th anniversary issue of the industry’s premier publication.