The week in investor relations: Active investors, political statements and racial inequality

Jun 12, 2020
This week’s other IR-related stories that we didn’t cover on IRmagazine.com

Buy side

– Active investors failed to beat the broader market despite major volatility during the early months of the year, noted the Wall Street Journal (paywall). Looking at all actively managed US funds, 64 percent did worse than the S&P 1500 index, explained the article, referencing data from S&P Dow Jones Indices.

– Aviva Investors spoke out about the decisions of HSBC and Standard Chartered to back a controversial security law for Hong Kong, reported Financial News. ‘We are uneasy at the decisions of HSBC and Standard Chartered to publicly support the proposed new national security law in Hong Kong without knowing the details of the law or how it will operate in practice,’ said David Cumming, equities chief investment officer, in a statement.

Markets

– SIX, the European stock market operator, completed its acquisition of Spanish bourse BME, reported Reuters. The deal makes SIX Europe’s third-largest exchange group in terms of revenues. It was thought Euronext could also bid for BME but in the end it did not submit an offer. 

– The variation in Wall Street estimates for the economy and stock markets have widened greatly during the Covid-19 pandemic, noted the WSJ. ‘The reason the dispersion of the estimates is so wide is that no one has a clue what the second half of the year will look like – not Fed governors, not CEOs and certainly not Wall Street analysts,’ said Adam Johnson, who writes the Bullseye Brief newsletter.

– Sell-side analysts from minority racial groups are less likely than white peers to be given the chance to ask questions during US earnings calls, reported the Financial Times (paywall). Analysts from minority racial groups were 5 percent less likely to get time for a question and 20 percent less likely to get time for a follow-up, according to a study. 

ESG

– Investors have put increased pressure on UK companies over pay this annual meeting season, reported the FT. Up to the end of May, there were 31 shareholder revolts over pay, two more than during the same period last year. A revolt is defined as when at least 20 percent of shareholders vote against a resolution.

– There has been a major surge in the amount of assets invested sustainably in Switzerland, according to Reuters. The proportion rose 62 percent over the last year to roughly one third of all assets, noted the article, quoting research conducted by the University of Zurich and Swiss Sustainable Finance.

Companies

– Dozens of US corporate executives released statements in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody and subsequent anti-racism protests, reported the WSJ. The longest message came from Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, who wrote more than 2,300 words. ‘Most messages call for unity and condemn racism, but not every company has been using the same language to make its point,’ said the article.

– The US economy officially entered a recession in February, reported CBS News. The declaration was made by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which defines recession using a range of factors. The announcement ended the longest US economic expansion on record. 

And to recap, here are IR Magazine’s stories posted this week:

– Sensitive issues barge into boardroom
– AIM sees widespread dividend cuts
Influential proposal providers face uncertainty
Gaining access: Q&A with Victoria Redgrave of Fidelity Investments
Ten lessons for dealing with investors in a crisis
The great leveler: 20 years of Regulation FD
How the corporate access landscape has changed since Covid-19
Investor groups ponder further action on racial inequality
What happens to investor relations in a downturn?
CIRI elects Nathalie Megann of Chorus Aviation as new board chair
Investors’ collaborative efforts accelerate, pressing IROs to do more on ESG
Last word: The new meeting paradigm
15 questions with Cargotec
What if an executive posts earnings results before their release?
Engagement advice for small and micro-caps amid Covid-19

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