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May 10, 2021

Israeli companies intensify IR during pandemic but could do more

Tel Aviv-listed companies attend fewer corporate access events than global peers, finds survey

Israeli companies have upped their engagement with investors during the Covid-19 pandemic, but they still take part in fewer conferences, roadshows and investor days than global peers, according to a new study.

The research, conducted by IHS Markit in partnership with the Israeli Investor Relations Forum (IIRF), polled 28 IR professionals during January and February this year. IHS Markit compared the results with a global survey of IROs to uncover differences between local and international practice.

As a result of the pandemic, a net 10 percent of respondents have increased the frequency of investor engagement and a net 24 percent have boosted management involvement in IR, finds the survey.

Israeli companies receive more support from senior management than international peers, notes the research. On average, the CEO or CFO takes part in 68 percent of IR activities, compared with 54 percent at global small caps and 43 percent at global large caps.

When it comes to corporate access, however, Israeli companies lag global activity: they conduct 4.1 non-deal roadshows each year, versus the global average of 6.4, and attend 3.2 investment conferences per year, far below the 6.6 of global companies.

In addition, only 52 percent put on investor days either annually or less frequently, compared with 77 percent of companies on a global basis.

Iris Golani, head of the IIRF, says some Israeli companies lack a dedicated IRO and not all boards appreciate the importance of building an IR strategy. ‘That can affect the differences between Israeli IR practices and global norms, as well as investor targeting efforts and visibility in global markets,’ she tells IR Magazine.

At the same time, Israeli IR has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, adds Golani. She puts this down to a number of factors. First, the pandemic has pushed companies to conduct more IR activity. Second, local investors are increasing their global investments, pushing Israeli companies to match international standards. And third, dual-listed companies that must comply with multiple regulatory systems are setting a high benchmark.

The research also reveals that Israeli companies, like their international counterparts, are mostly incorporating sustainability issues into their IR strategy. Three quarters of survey respondents say they include ESG topics in their communications.

ESG has become more important for both domestic and international investors in Israeli companies, says Golani, with the buy side engaging on issues like gender equality, human capital management, green energy and air pollution.