IR professionals dip toe into water with Clubhouse

Feb 05, 2021
New audio-only social media platform could provide venue where IR professionals connect

While the events of the last couple of weeks have prompted many IR professionals to create Reddit accounts and browse the world of investing sub-Reddits, three IR professionals are experimenting with the other hot social media platform: Clubhouse.

Unlike Reddit, where members and non-members alike can read the posts made by individuals in sub-Reddits, Clubhouse is an invitation-only social media network that allows its users to broadcast audio conversations.

Clubhouse launched in April 2020 and reportedly has 2 mn weekly users. The app grabbed headlines at the end of January when Elon Musk announced he would be participating in a live session on the app. Musk announced the move in a tweet that received more than 200,000 likes, while the session was oversubscribed on Clubhouse.

For Marcus Händel, head of investor relations and sustainability at Cembra Money Bank, Clubhouse represents an opportunity to connect with like-minded IR professionals around the world.

On the same day Musk made his announcement, Händel posted to his LinkedIn account that he and Sudarshan Setlur, a former IR advisory expert at IHS Markit, would be leading a conversation about integrating ESG into IR. The event was scheduled for 5.00 pm Central European Time on February 1. Händel and Setlur were joined on Clubhouse by Fabiane Goldstein, partner at InspIR Group.

‘I’m not sure whether Clubhouse will be relevant in two months or two years,’ Händel says. Regardless, he’s keen to experiment with the new social media platform, and for good reason. Seven years ago, he created an Instagram account (@VisitSwitzerland) dedicated to Swiss tourism – and he’s watched the follower count grow to 754,000, higher than the official count of the Swiss tourism board. It’s been a lesson in the benefits of early adoption, Händel says.

With that in mind, he and Setlur have another Clubhouse chat scheduled on February 9, when they’ll be discussing ESG ratings. At the moment, they imagine the app could be effective for checking in with peers and colleagues, as opposed to being of immediate use for IR activities.   

Setlur, who is based in New York, says it’s a great way to reconnect with peers he hasn’t seen in a long time (Händel is based in Zurich). ‘It was cool for three people from three different parts of the world to talk about the same subject,’ Setlur says. ‘ESG is a common language now around the world. As companies realize that and integrate it more into strategy, it becomes a common language for IR.’

Setlur says he has talked to other IR professionals who expressed an interest in trialing Clubhouse but need more time to learn about the social network and its data security.

Händel, Setlur and Goldstein’s first foray into Clubhouse is reminiscent of the IR ‘support group’ established by Marina Calero, director at Powerscourt, last year, where up to 40 IR professionals gathered on weekly Zoom ‘coffee breaks’ to help one another troubleshoot the IR challenges posed by Covid-19.

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