IR teams increase focus on Asia roadshows

Jan 18, 2016
<p>Singapore and Hong Kong grow in popularity as IR travel budgets revealed</p>

Investor relations teams have upped their focus on non-deal roadshows to Asia as they search the globe for fresh investment opportunities, finds new research.

Singapore is now the 15th most-visited city among IR teams, a rise of two places from a year ago, while Hong Kong has jumped four places to 16th, according to a global survey of more than 900 IROs by IR Magazine.

‘I feel there is growing interest for Asian investors to invest more globally, there appears to be more capital available for that, so I think it’s right for IR teams to be going out there more,’ says Damien Maltarp, head of IR at FTSE 100-listed BT Group.

The roadshow survey reveals that 23 percent of IR teams visited Singapore at least once during the last year. A similar proportion – 22 percent – stopped off in Hong Kong at least once over the same period.

While roadshows around Asia are commonplace for locally based IR teams, others must decide whether targeting the region is worthwhile. It can take making annual trips for two or three years before investors feel comfortable enough to invest.

Maltarp, whose firm won best IR in the communications & technology sector at the IR Magazine Awards – Europe 2015, recently returned from an IR-only trip to visit Asia-based funds. ‘We use IR to get out there, probably once a year, and if management happens to be out there on business we try to tack on a couple of meetings with key accounts,’ he explains.

The six most popular cities for non-deal roadshows haven’t changed since the previous survey, highlighting the importance of these financial centers to the global IR community. New York is top, followed by Boston, London, Chicago, San Francisco and Frankfurt.

‘Notwithstanding the specific needs of a company and certain cities that fill those needs in a certain time, New York is the most concentrated and efficient,’ comments a US-based energy sector IRO who responded to the research.

A separate study, meanwhile, shows that IR teams spend on average just over a quarter of their budgets on travel. The research, carried out by IR Magazine and the London Stock Exchange, calculates that average IR travel costs stand at $132,500, based on an average overall budget of $491,000.

Asian IR departments allocate the largest proportion of their budget to travel, at 34 percent. The figure is 26 percent for Europe and 24 percent for North America.

Across regions, the biggest spenders on travel are mega-cap companies, which allocate on average $327,000 to travel costs over the year.

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