Skip to main content
Feb 07, 2023

Macro issues surpass ESG as core challenge facing investor relations officers

Targeting new investors, enhancing shareholder engagement and improving ESG profiles are key priorities

Navigating macro issues within a company has marginally surpassed the ESG landscape as a core challenge for IR professionals, according to Nasdaq.

The fourth annual Nasdaq Global IR Issuer Pulse survey features input from more than 800 IR professionals. It finds that while 35 percent of issuers continue to rely on IR as a contributor to help companies achieve their ESG efforts, navigating macro issues is seen as more of a core challenge for IR professionals.

The survey shows how IR practitioners work through reporting and disclosure priorities, while large and mega-cap companies prioritize responding to customer and supplier demands for climate-related disclosures.

Rise in IR and ESG roles

The report also notes increases in the number of companies appointing heads of sustainability or ESG or merging IR and ESG roles.

One third of newly appointed IR professionals have come from other corporate functions, such as treasury, financial planning & analysis, finance and corporate development. Notably, 21 percent of IR professionals have transitioned from the sell side, a trend Nasdaq says has been on the rise the past few years.

Macro issues surpass ESG as core challenge facing investor relations officers
Foli Pontillo, Nasdaq

In-person events are also a priority this year, with surveyed IR professionals ranking hosting market-facing events as the fifth-highest IR priority behind targeting new investors, enhancing shareholder engagement, improving ESG profiles and increasing sell-side research coverage.

The survey shows the most difficult decisions taken by IR professionals during the 12-month period relate to guidance and communication, the uncertain macroeconomic environment, inflationary pressures and general market volatility.

‘Breaking through international markets’

Foli Pontillo, global head of investor engagement & perception at Nasdaq, tells IR Magazine: ‘The greatest challenges IROs say they are grappling with include attracting investment capital from the generalist population, breaking through international markets and messaging around guidance and forecasts.

‘The global capital markets are forecast to experience extended macro headwinds and corporates will rely on financially savvy and strategic IR talent to improve the impact and efficiency of their engagement with the markets.’