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Nov 28, 2023

How companies use shareholder insights to drive engagement

It’s said that knowledge about your shareholder base is the cornerstone of IR activity. Understanding who your shareholders are and what they think are essential elements to building an effective engagement strategy.

In a recent IR Magazine Webinar, held in partnership with Proxymity, speakers explored how to gather information about shareholders and the way that information can be fed into different aspects of the IR program.

Marc Koebernick, head of IR at Siemens Healthineers, discussed how he used a perception study over the summer to prepare for a meet-the-management event taking place this December.

‘We wanted to be sure that when we craft these presentations and the story, we address the right points and also strengthen certain statements where we think they’ve not come across well enough,’ he said.

The company conducted a perception study across May and June that included additional questions to Siemens’ normal investor feedback surveys, explained Koebernick: ‘We tested a lot of the statements that we set out [during] our larger capital market day in 2021, in terms of making sure people get what we want to bring across about these businesses. Have these statements really sunk in?’

This kind of feedback is helpful, not just for crafting investor outreach, but also for internal communications, added Koebernick. ‘Just yesterday, we had an update call with 200 leaders in the finance organization,’ he said. ‘I had a very prominent spot in the presentation, where I commented around the feedback on our Q4 results.

‘Of course, it’s always good to give people positive feedback. But I think it’s even more important to put the mirror up and say, Look, this is what came back. There are still things we need to [improve]. I think it’s very much appreciated.’

Format choices

Müge Yücel, director of IR and sustainability at Galata Wind Enerji, explained how her company doesn’t yet run full perception studies but puts bespoke surveys to investors when meetings take place. ‘It’s manual work for IR, currently, but it’s the best way to understand where we stand with the investor base,’ she said.

The questions cover both the equity story and how investors would like to receive information. ‘Some of our investors prefer detailed financial reports, whereas others prefer a two-minute video of either the CEO or CFO talking about the numbers – bite-sized information, basically,’ she said.

As a result, Galata has started taking information from its regular reporting and packaging it in short, digital formats. This content is being used not just by the IR team but also by corporate communications to get the message out, said Yücel.

The webinar further tackled what shareholder insights are available to companies as they plan for their annual shareholder meeting.

‘There is absolutely no reason that a company, where regulation allows it, shouldn’t know exactly what their shareholder base is going into an AGM,’ said Michael Kempe, global head of business development at Proxymity. ‘The disclosure rules are out there in many, many markets around the world. [But] you shouldn’t take for granted that they’re all going to vote for you.’

Technology today allows companies to know five or six days before a meeting who is voting and what their decision is, added Kempe: ‘If there is a problem, you can resolve it very, very quickly… the power is now in the issuer’s hands, because all the information, through the technology, is there should you choose to use it.’

Click here to watch a recording of the webinar.