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Nov 16, 2023

IR function increasing and improving across Middle East, MEIRA finds

AI and ESG disclosures flagged as key focus points for IROs

The investor relations function has favorably increased across the Middle East, with more organizations paying attention to its growing importance and value within a business.

Across the Middle East, almost 90 percent of survey participants from this year’s Middle East Capital Markets Survey recognize the importance of having a dedicated IR specialist within their organizations, while 87 percent acknowledge the importance ESG data disclosures hold for listed companies.

The survey, conducted by the Middle East Investor Relations Association and the Arab Federation of Capital Markets, finds the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and the emphasis on ESG disclosures impacting the profession across the region.

As AI continues to become more prominent in business across the globe, many respondents consider how this will impact the role of IR, with 59 percent of surveyed professionals believing it will affect the IR function positively. Only 5 percent of respondents view the use of AI as a threat, the report details.

The IR role has grown considerably in the Middle East, with 20 percent of respondents saying IR practices in the region are ‘as per their international peers’, the report details. But 9 percent of surveyed capital markets professionals believe IROs in the Middle East are underperforming compared with other regions.

According to the report, the key areas IROs need to focus on when thinking about their own training and professional development include a refresher on ESG practices and sustainability, with 66 percent of respondent highlighting this as a crucial area.

Enhanced strategic communication is an additional area of expertise flagged by 72 percent of respondents, while 57 percent of surveyed professionals say corporate governance is another area IROs need to make progress in.