homepage-rotator-1.jpg

Our Blog: The Podium

National Investor Relations Institute Conference 2022: Key Takeaways & Learnings

By Ian Rhoades, Senior Associate

Nearly 900 investor relations practitioners and service providers descended on Boston in June for the 2022 edition of the NIRI (National Investor Relations Institute) Annual Conference, which returned in person for the first time since 2019. ESG was a dominant theme of the three-day event, which included sessions on environmental, social and governance frameworks, a forecast on what ESG will look like in 2025, and navigating the ESG bond market.

Picture1

ESG Drives Long-Term Growth, and Profits. With the major mutual fund families continuing to expand their lineup of sustainability-focused products, ESG has become an essential ingredient of every investor relations program. Speakers at the NIRI conference noted that strong corporate governance principles will lead to a more effective overall ESG strategy. A solid governance foundation gives management the credibility to persuade investors that the company can achieve its environmental and social objectives.

Investors also stressed the importance of authenticity in a company’s ESG approach. Authenticity is reflected in ESG strategies that both reduce risk as well as map directly to meaningful growth objectives. Best-in-class ESG implementation includes conducting a materiality assessment, whereby a company surveys its key stakeholders—investors, employees, customers, suppliers—to ascertain the specific ESG issues of primary importance to those audiences. Doing so sends the message that the company’s ESG strategy is genuine and inclusive.

Two Way Street — IR as a Crucial Conduit. Think of the IRO as a messaging maestro conducting the flow of communications in two directions: from the company to the investment community, and from the investment community to management and the board of directors. This requires not only a detailed understanding of the story, and the ability to translate complex information into a narrative that is clear and persuasive. It also requires an intellectually curious ear. When speaking with investors, IROs must listen closely, picking up signals about competitive trends, company-specific issues, or looming activist threats that may harm credibility. That information should be conveyed regularly to the board and management team.

Best-in-class board communication should involve a short presentation paired with Q&A and conversation around the most pressing topics. Hearing what’s going through investors’ minds provides actionable insight and leads to better decision making and enhanced corporate governance.

Activism in 2022. Activists launched 73 new campaigns in the first three months of 2022, making Q1 the busiest quarter for activism ever, according to a recent webinar on the topic hosted by IR Magazine. IR pros, investors and analysts at the NIRI Conference shared their recommendations on keeping your company out of the activists’ crosshairs.

If an activist takes a stake in your company, establish a dialogue with them. Most will want to speak with you and share their concerns. That dialogue can be very productive if management keeps an open mind as to whether the activist’s concerns (and potential solutions) are valid. It also is critical to have a productive, ongoing dialogue with your current investors so that you can understand what their concerns may be. It is better to address any perception gaps with investors on an ongoing basis, before finding out that a large shareholder has voted with an activist during a proxy fight. Consider undertaking a perception audit to find out what your shareholders are thinking about your management team, strategy and prospects now.

NIRI’s first in-person event in three years certainly did not disappoint, and we’re excited to see everyone again in Chicago next year!

Sharon Merrill provides best-in-class investor relations advice, including strategic counsel and implementation of ESG programs. Click here for an overview of our investor relations service offerings or fill out the form below for a complimentary consultation.

Sharon Merrill Associates, NIRI, Investor Relations, IR Trends, ESG

Contact Us for a Free Consultation on Your Investor Relations Program

Connect with your Investors

Establish a sincere connection with investors to communicate key messages during your Investor Day. Download our free e-book on effective presentation habits, and learn to deliver ideas with confidence and clarity.

Delivering Effective Presentations

When it's time for a change

Whether planned or sudden, it is crucial to communicate the succession of high-profile positions effectively. Download our three-part e-book and learn the best way to craft a plan for CEO, CFO and Board of Directors transitions.

Download Your Free eBook: Communicating Management Transitions 

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

With our new Proxy GamePlan, we create a year-round, data-driven strategic roadmap for effective shareholder engagement. Implement a best-in-class program rooted in a deep understanding of your company’s proxy practices, shareholder voting trends and peer landscape.

Learn More About Proxy GamePlan

Find Effective IR Counsel

Whether you’re seeking external IR counsel for the first time or evaluating your current provider, you need a firm that understands your strategy, adapts to your culture and tells your story. Download our free guide on how to assess the effectiveness of an investor relations firm.

How to Assess  an IR Firm

Activism Defense

No company is immune to shareholder activism. Sharon Merrill helps boards of directors and executive management teams identify the activist red flags lurking in your shareholder base, assess your governance risks and develop an action plan to prevent, detect and neutralize any threats. Download our free white paper, “Leveraging Institutional Shareholder Relationships to Reduce Activism Risk,” and learn how the best defense against activism is a strong offense.

Download Activist Defense White Paper

Captivate your Audience

Speaking persuasively is critical in today’s competitive business environment. Effective speakers use voice techniques and body language that project authority and credibility. Download our free e-book, “A Guide to Delivering Captivating Presentations,” for insight into good -and bad- presentation habits, and learn how to improve your skills.

Become a Persuasive Speaker 

Perceptions Matter

How do you ensure that investors clearly understand your strategy, growth drivers and market position? The most effective way is through a perception study. By periodically taking the investment community’s pulse you can avoid the knowledge gaps and misperceptions that hurt valuation. Download our free whitepaper, Why Perceptions Matter, to learn more.

Download your free copy of  'Why Perceptions Matter' 

Common Topics:

More topics