Morrow Sodali Chairman John Wilcox recently sat down with Valerie Haertel, former National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) board chair and award-winning Investor Relations executive. They discussed the collaborative IR program she has pioneered to manage shareholder expectations and “tell the company’s story” in an individualized narrative that brings together the strategic, financial and non-financial information that investors are seeking.
- The IR department can act as a “communications clearinghouse”, building interdepartmental relationships and implementing a more strategic approach that addresses the full scope of informational needs of investors, including those on the governance side of the house.
- “Engagement” has become an alternative communication path that is endorsed by both companies and institutional investors to get candid feedback from shareholders as well as, vice versa, to allow shareholders to get to know the management team and in some cases, board members personally.
- In today’s environment individual companies have a better chance of being evaluated by investors on the merits rather than exclusively in terms of their compliance with external standards. This depends, of course, on two conditions – (1) companies must be willing to build sustained relationships with shareholders and improve the quality of the information they provide; and (2) institutional investors must reconfigure their investment models to include ESG and non-financial metrics and they must focus on the long term.
We believe the ideas in this discussion are useful to corporate boards and management as well as IR and corporate governance practitioners. They provide a strategic roadmap for dealing with shareholder activism, indexed investing, stewardship codes, ESG, board accountability, technological change and other global trends that are transforming the way companies communicate and interact with shareholders.
Download the attachment below to access the full interview.