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Jul 02, 2024

How to keep stakeholders informed on emerging events

A combination of maximizing internal links and using external partners is key to keeping investors informed, finds a recent IR Magazine Webinar

The macroeconomic landscape has rapidly evolved over the past decade, particularly in the last year, due to the pandemic, conflicts in the Middle East and Europe, ongoing supply-chain issues and political changes. For IROs and issuers, these factors represent a critical juncture of new challenges and opportunities.

Staying ahead of emerging events and keeping stakeholders informed is essential for a competitive edge, with many teams leveraging cutting-edge technology to navigate geopolitical upheavals. A recent IR Magazine Webinar – held in partnership with AlphaSense – examined how IR teams are achieving this in more depth, featuring a panel of experienced IR professionals and capital market experts who discussed the strategies issuers are using to help stay on top of developments across industries, sectors and regions.

Below, we share some of the top takeaways from the event, which can be reviewed in its entirety on BrightTALK.

Maximizing internal resources

Building robust internal networks is essential. Insights from sales, strategy and treasury teams are invaluable for making informed decisions. Regular communication within the organization ensures IR teams are well prepared to address external queries and manage crises.

‘The most important source of information and feedback is your own network of expertise, particularly inside the organization,’ said Richard Whiteing, vice president and head of investor relations at satellite-based communications firm SES. ‘Whether it’s your sales head, strategy team or treasury team, they provide the best insights.’

Structured systems are also vital for managing vast amounts of data efficiently, ensuring reliability and avoiding overload, noted Sam Jobson, head of industry for IR at AlphaSense. ‘Having a structured system as opposed to jumping from broker portal to CRM to news outlets is crucial,’ he said. ‘Speed and agility in receiving and understanding insights are key areas where we’ve seen IR teams benefit.’

Embracing technology and AI

Technology, particularly AI and large language models, is rapidly reshaping industries and company valuations and redefining productivity benchmarks. ‘AI presents a significant opportunity to enhance productivity,’ said Amit Bhalla, senior vice president & head of investor relations at energy technology company Schneider Electric.

Highlighting the potential of these tools for tasks like peer analysis, crisis management and earnings preparation, he said that by integrating AI into their workflows, IR teams can manage vast amounts of data more effectively, enabling quicker and more accurate decision-making.

Sustainability still a concern

Climate change and sustainability have become central concerns for business. Market participants must integrate these elements into core operations and communicate their efforts transparently to stakeholders. Bhalla emphasized the importance of this shift: ‘Climate change and sustainability are crucial. The energy transition, extreme weather events and the focus on energy efficiency and electrification are central to what Schneider does, presenting both challenges and opportunities.’

Honesty and transparency

In situations of uncertainty or limited information, honesty and transparency are key. IR teams should avoid fabricating answers and ensure consistency in their messaging, the panelists agreed. ‘It’s important not to provide false answers,’ Bhalla explained. ‘If you don’t have the answer, communicate that clearly and work to get back with the information.’

Consistency in messaging and a commitment to follow up with accurate information are essential for maintaining trust with stakeholders.

Proactive monitoring and early-warning systems

Proactively monitoring market developments and having early-warning systems in place are crucial in preparation for potential crises. Being aware of regulatory changes, market rumors and competitor activities allows for quicker, more effective responses. ‘Early-warning systems and being involved in the process from start to finish is important,’ noted Whiteing. ‘This ensures you’re prepared and can manage any situation calmly and efficiently.’

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

Scenario planning for macroeconomic and geopolitical developments enables better preparation, informed decision-making and an understanding of potential impacts on the business. ‘It’s crucial to be on top of all potential scenarios, whether it’s technology, geopolitics or other factors affecting your business model,’ said Bhalla. ‘Understanding these scenarios helps in making informed decisions and being prepared for unexpected events.’

Adaptability and agility

The ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances is a critical skill. Developing agile processes and being prepared to adjust strategies ensures the company remains resilient and responsive, said Whiteing. ‘The world is moving a lot faster and a lot quicker than it ever has done,’ he explained. ‘How you continue to evaluate the impacts on the company’s value proposition and adapt your strategies is critical.’