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May 07, 2020

The week in investor relations: New exchanges, virtual roadshows and fossil-fuel disclosure

This week’s other IR-related stories that we didn’t cover on

This week’s roundup appears a day early as IR Magazine’s London office will be shut tomorrow for the UK bank holiday

– A new US stock exchange supported by major financial services firms said it received regulatory approval from the SEC, according to Reuters. Members Exchange is backed by firms including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citadel Securities, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. The exchange, which says it wants to bring innovation and lower costs to US trading, is planning to go live in the third quarter of the year.

– The Financial Times (paywall) covered the upcoming IPO of Pexip, the Nordic videoconferencing software firm, which is experiencing strong investor interest amid a general slump in IPOs caused by Covid-19. So far this year, there have been 22 IPOs in Europe, compared with 38 over the same period last year, and capital raised has fallen by 84 percent. Amid lockdown restrictions, Pexip used its own service to conduct a virtual roadshow, allowing it to take in more cities than it would under normal conditions. 

– Investors criticized the ‘exclusion of oil and gas from a definition of fossil fuels’ in draft proposals for the European Union’s sustainable finance initiative, reported the Financial Times (paywall). As part of the initiative, the EU is developing new ESG disclosure requirements for asset managers. Critics said the decision could hide exposure to fossil fuels, cause confusion and allow greenwashing. 

– Despite the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the energy industry, US oil majors still made time to discuss climate change on their earnings calls – ‘albeit fleetingly,’ according to Bloomberg. ‘Exxon touted a previously announced model framework for industry-wide methane regulations, while Chevron said it planned to maintain its commitment to environmental, social and governance priorities,’ noted the article. 

– Tesla CEO Elon Musk wiped around 10 percent off his company’s value when he tweeted that the share price was too high, noted CNBC. The entrepreneur previously got into trouble with the SEC over tweets about taking Tesla private. He later made an agreement with the regulator that future public statements would be vetted by the company’s legal team. The Wall Street Journal asked Musk whether the latest tweet was a joke or vetted internally, to which he replied: ‘no’. 

– Veteran investor Warren Buffet urged investors to stick with stocks despite revealing he had sold off stakes in airlines at huge losses and held back from making investments during the current market downturn, reported Reuters. Buffett, CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, was speaking at the company’s annual shareholder meeting, which normally draws thousands of spectators but this year was held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions.