Insights from the IR Society Conference 2023

Luminous was an exhibitor at this year’s Investor Relations Society conference where we shared our latest research from Digital Matters, and discussed how companies can effectively shorten their reports and present a clearer equity story.

The conference was an invaluable opportunity to engage with fellow professionals and gain insights into the evolving landscape of Investor Relations. This year’s conference explored the theme of ‘Dynamic IR: Staying Authentic and Managing Ongoing Structural Change’, which is particularly relevant now as many companies strive to navigate the complexities of maintaining authenticity while adapting to ongoing structural shifts in the industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • In times of economic disruption, it becomes crucial to carefully assess your positioning and clearly communicate what remains the same and what is different. Adapting your story while maintaining a consistent narrative and considering the stakeholder impact is essential. Safe metrics that emphasise the basics, clear communication of strategy, as well as an accessible explanation of financials based on the macroeconomic environment, are all areas of significance.
  • Ensure investors understand the various scenarios faced by disruptions: this helps them make informed decisions during uncertain times, as understanding the various risk scenarios provides greater clarity and transparency.
  • The sustainability agenda has extended investors’ time horizons, encouraging them to consider supporting companies with long-term potential. When presenting the investment cases to investors, it is important to recognise the broader business direction, structural trends and long-term drivers. By strategically positioning the business to navigate these factors, companies can effectively capture investor interest and support.
  • Whilst AI can offer significant efficiencies for companies, human interaction and decision-making remain irreplaceable. Companies must strike a balance between AI technology and human capabilities that benefits all stakeholders.
  • Recognising the crucial role of ESG data in driving sustainable decision-making and long-term value creation, it is imperative to treat it with the same level of importance and rigour as you treat your financial data.
  • Robust governance is essential: companies should be more self-critical and analytical of their own arrangements and behaviours. If you get governance wrong, then everything else falls apart. Governance is crucial to protecting a company’s long-term arrangements and reputation.
  • The Audit and Corporate Governance reforms consultation includes a more rigorous internal control and risk framework, with some suggesting it could be the equivalent to the Sarbanes-Oxley regime in the US. The consequences of getting it wrong are very serious, holding directors’ feet to the fire.
  • Tim Marshall from Invesco emphasised the value of annual reports, stating, “It’s potentially the best bit of research written on a company annually, with insiders providing the best information and with the most investment behind any piece of research.” Marshall further emphasised that annual reports are not only highly important but are increasingly used more than the sell-side research. Andrew Millington from Abrdn added that the absence of a well-prepared annual report could be a reason investors don’t invest.

The conference was a great event, providing valuable insights into the evolving landscape of Investor Relations. It reinforced the importance of staying authentic and managing ongoing structural change.

If you are seeking guidance and support or interested to learn more, then please do get in touch.