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Aug 01, 2022

Investors concerned return to in-person meetings could reduce access to management

IR Magazine research finds majority of respondents in new Covid-19 impact report think virtual meetings and reduced travel will have big impact on post-pandemic work

The majority of investors are concerned that a move back to in-person meetings will give them less opportunity to engage with senior management, finds the latest instalment of IR Magazine’s Covid-19 impact series of research reports.

Regionally, Asian investors are most concerned about the impact a return to physical meetings will have on access to the C-suite, while more North American investors actively disagree with the idea that a return to in-person formats could reduce access to senior management. At a low of 28 percent, North American investors are less concerned than those in other regions.

Overall, researchers on the Covid-19 Update 2022 report also find the buy side is more concerned than the sell side about of a loss of engagement opportunities with management in a return to in-person meetings.

The IR view

Although most IROs also say they expect virtual meetings and events, combined with a reduction in travel, will continue to have a large impact on their post-pandemic work, less than half of them give the shift to virtual corporate access a high positive rating of eight or more out of 10.

This points to something of a potential disconnect between the investment community’s concerns around a return to in-person events and the views of IROs, who potentially appear keener on physical meetings and events.

As of May 2022, just under four in 10 IROs had resumed international travel with the gradual lifting of pandemic restrictions, according to the report.

Despite the continued trend for virtual meeting elements, a snapshot of FTSE 350 AGMs, released by law firm White & Case, finds the general trend this year is for companies to return to the pre-pandemic habit of a purely physical event. Just over half of the 186 meetings reviewed by White & Case had no electronic engagement.

Garnet Roach

An award-winning journalist, Garnet Roach joined IR Magazine in October 2012, working on both the editorial and research sides of the publication. Prior to entering the world of investor relations, her freelance career covered a broad range of...