Investor Relations: What, Where & How?
The key role of investor relations (IR) is to accurately, consistently and impartially disseminate the information about the developments in the company to the outside world in general and to the investment community in particular. The IR department has to ensure that the information is not Material and Non-Public at the same time. Practically speaking, IR plays a vital role in building the right perception of the company and supports the fundraising plans by building interest in the business and liquidity for the stock. Often, it is assumed that IR is doing its job well by providing accurate and detailed information about the company’s performance and its long-term prospects.
However, IR’s role does not just stop there. Nowadays IR plays a more strategic role in the company. They resolve investor queries, conduct extensive research about the company’s business and its peers and organize meetings for investors with the company’s senior management including key people from Operations and Finance. Since IR has several other responsibilities apart from being a bridge between the company and its investors, they need to have a structured plan to ensure that they don’t miss out on things that are not only urgent but also important. In this piece, we will discuss the IR department checklist that will be useful for today’s IR professionals.
From what to plan for the coming days, to what must be completed for current projects, relying on a well-organized checklist can assist IR professionals in accomplishing critical tasks efficiently. To do this, IR should follow some ground rules to effectively implement the IR program. They are:
IR department should help in formulating the corporate strategy and set a future roadmap and for this, IR must first develop a thorough and comprehensive strategy for their department to;
- Compare the institutional investors’ ownership and the linkage between the financial performance of the company and its peers
- Keep track of important performance metrics and how that links with the investment style of different investors
- Build an optimal potential shareholders’ list and to strategically plan to achieve that mix over a period of time
- Focus on developing effective and impactful press releases, quarterly releases and earnings call transcripts and investor presentations for the sell side analysts and investor community
- Manage the IR section of the company’s website and to be responsible for making annual reports
- Inform investor perception about the company to the top management periodically and IR should ensure that their communication and engagement with investor community should be consistent
- If there is a sizable change in the investor holdings, the IR should immediately bring it to management’s notice
IR should have immaculate knowledge about;
- Current market environment and news flow in the sector and economy
- Financial and Operating Performance of the peer group and their strategic moves
- Analyst notes and reports and should be updated about investor reviews and feedbacks
IR professionals should make sure their communication is transparent. To ensure that, they keep records of;
- Reviews and press releases
- Presentations and Fact sheets
- Follow-ups (feedback calls and sessions when necessary)
- News releases, Web articles, and releases
- Personalized emails and one-to-one calls to the shareholders
IR also needs to plan;
- To develop IR event planner and target lists for events such as roadshows and investor days
- To work on the theme, message and content for upcoming events
- Coordinating with other departments to ensure the event is perfect
- Getting feedback and working on the same after the event
Often, there is confusion and misunderstanding about the roles and responsibilities of IR. But, IR professionals always need to remember why they are called IR and not PR. It is because their job is not always to talk about good things about the company. They need to be balanced, neither irrationally exuberant nor unduly pessimistic and always ready to explain the happenings and answering the questions without having a tinted view of the future. If they remember this ground rule, there is no reason why they won’t succeed.