A leading Thailand-based investor relations professional expects Mifid II to have an impact across Asia – and in doing so shift the role of the IRO.
‘Companies [in the region] have taken note of what is happening with Mifid II. I do see it coming to Asia and Thailand. What the West does [will follow] here. The sensibility of Mifid II is: you want something, you pay for it, and there are no freebies. It makes common sense,’ Richard Jones, head of IR at packing company Indorama in Thailand, tells IR Magazine.
Jones notes the changes this will force on the IR role. ‘The IRO will have to be more of a communicator than ever before,’ he says. ‘For those in Asian countries where English is a second language, if you want to attract investors you are going to have to be understandable on a global level. So I think IROs in the region will be hired from international businesses a lot more frequently in the future.’
This in turn would affect the culture and education of IROs in Asia. ‘It will be more difficult to start at the bottom level [of IR] if your English is not 80 percent,’ Jones warns. ‘You will have to have people who can communicate very clearly in English - not just speaking, but in writing. I don’t think it is an issue for those currently doing the job, but for the small companies trying to get somebody to this standard, it may be a problem in the future.’
Asked to forecast when Mifid II will become the norm within Asia, Jones says: ‘I don’t think it will happen in the next couple of years…There is a new president of the Stock Exchange of Thailand [Pakorn Peetathawatchai] starting in June and new brooms generally have new ideas.
‘So it wouldn’t surprise me if this became a point of debate from this date. One of the good things about the stock exchange is they do bring IR professionals into the conversation to discuss changes in rules and regulations. And I could see the stock exchange playing a major role in organizing large [investor] conferences as opposed to the brokers having to do it all.’