IR-only meeting numbers cut in 2020, shows global survey

Jan 29, 2021
Number of one-one-ones fall but senior management attendance remains almost identical

The number of one-on-one meetings between companies and investors dropped to a global average of just 123 last year, down from 188 in 2019 and 204 five years ago.

That’s according to IR Magazine’s Global Investor Relations Practice Report 2020, which also shows that while the number of days senior management dedicated to IR dropped to 40 in 2020 – no doubt as management teams were spread more thinly tackling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic – the percentage of one-on-one meetings attended by senior management was almost flat, at 44 percent: in 2019, senior management dedicated 45 days to IR activities and attended 45 percent of meetings.

‘Interestingly, the fall in in-person meetings is not uniform across market cap sizes,’ write the report authors. ‘Typically, the number of investor meetings increases substantially with company size. The difference is less steep [in 2020], as small-cap companies have lost just seven investor meetings while the number of mega-cap meetings with investors has more or less halved.

‘While the percentage of meetings with senior management in attendance has remained the same overall, it has changed with the differing drops in meetings according to cap size. The proportion of investor meetings involving senior management has decreased among small and mid-cap companies, but has increased among large and mega-cap firms. This indicates that the sizable cuts in investor meetings felt by larger companies have been more focused on IR-only meetings than on those with senior management.’

It should be noted that the research was conducted between Q3 2019 and Q2 2020, covering both the pre-pandemic quarters and the initial phase of the outbreak, when many companies had yet to comfortably get to grips with new, virtual ways of meeting investors.

Regionally, companies in North America held the fewest meetings during the research period – just 107, and down from 158 the previous year. Senior management in the region also dedicated the fewest days to IR (35) but attended a higher percentage of one-on-one meetings (52 percent). Both those numbers are down on the previous year, however, when senior management dedicated 46 days to IR and attended 58 percent of meetings.

Europe stands out as the region that held the highest number of meetings overall, at 141. This is, however, a big drop on the 234 held the previous year. There was a slight drop in the number of days dedicated to IR (36 in 2020 from 38 in 2019) but the percentage of meetings attended by senior management stayed the same, at 45 percent.

Asia is the only region where senior management actually attended more meetings: 28 percent, up from 26 percent in 2019 – though both these figures are notably lower than in Europe or North America. Despite this, senior management in Asia dedicates a lot of time to IR, and the most of any region in 2020, at 46 days. But that is still far short of the 63 days dedicated to the practice in 2019. Meetings were also down overall, from 170 in 2019 to 120.

Click here for more information about the Global Investor Relations Practice Report 2020.

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