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Jan 27, 2016

Board members increasingly meet with investors

Sixty-five percent of companies reached out to sovereign wealth funds in 2015

Board members are increasingly meeting with investors and companies are reaching out more to sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), according to BNY Mellon’s annual investor relations survey.

The latest survey shows the percentage of board members meeting with investors increased to 49 percent last year from 24 percent in the previous survey, conducted in 2013. It also reveals that 30 percent of IROs reached out to SRI or ESG investors last year, up from 26 percent two years ago.

The targeting of SWFs is also on the up: 65 percent of companies surveyed reached out to SWFs in 2015, an increase from 57 percent in 2013. Norges Bank Investment Management was the top target, cited by 42 percent of companies, followed by Government of Singapore Investment Corporation at 38 percent and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority at 30 percent.

‘Global firms continue to expand and enhance their engagement with current shareholders, but we’ve seen an interesting shift,’ says Christopher Kearns, CEO of BNY Mellon’s depositary receipts business. ‘Responses indicate that after a post-crisis period focused almost solely on investors amid intense competition for capital, companies are now devoting more time to other IR activities, such as board member involvement, enhancing senior managers’ visibility and improving relationships with analysts.’

The survey also shows that only 30 percent of companies use social media to communicate with investors, led by eastern European firms, at 53 percent. North American companies are least likely to use social media, with only 24 percent indicating they do so.

IROs, CEOS and CFOs are less likely now than in 2013 to reach out to retail investors as firms seek to use their time more efficiently, according to the survey.