Hot off the press! The insider’s guide to winning a 2018 Best Practice Award

Following the launch of the 2018 IR Society Best Practice awards, John Gollifer shares the thinking of the best practice judging panel and how to submit that award winning entry.

First, each award category is subject to the same overriding IR principle that every business has an investment story. The onus is on the company to find its own voice and present its story to its target audience. Ask yourself, what’s in it for my investors and other stakeholders and how do I make sure they know?

The awards entry form is structured to take into account both a quantitative (50% based on the Society awards criteria) and a qualitative (50% based on the self-entry write-up of up to 500 words written by the company/adviser) approach. This should allow the company to address best practice in accordance with the Society’s awards criteria, while leaving enough flexibility for the company to differentiate itself in its own words from the other entries.

Importantly, evidence of governance and overall stewardship is becoming a key factor to investors. Business is expected to adopt a more thoughtful approach to a wider societal purpose and we wish to see this addressed. Accordingly, what is needed is more of an understanding and appreciation of what the target audience is thinking and expects to see in company reporting and presentation. Entries for the Society awards should demonstrate this by including both financial and material non-financial factors as part of the overall approach to best practice investor communications.

In a MiFID II operating environment, there is an opportunity for IR to own more and do more. This should include making more effective use of digital communications. Part of this is to scan what your peers are doing and do even more yourself, while not forgetting that all companies are in a competition for capital. Further, the judges reward innovation to make communications more effective in engaging the audience and in getting the message across.

Generally, avoid jargon and keep any technical terms used by experts to a minimum while remembering that you are effectively addressing the layman. Keep the underlying investment story simple and consistent across all platforms used, including online and offline. This means that the annual report, presentation materials and any other supporting information, online and offline, should be consistent in look, feel, language and tone. The Society uses software from a number of Business Schools to assess consistent use of narrative reporting and it is important that all corporate reporting remains fair, balanced and understandable. 

Above all, remember that simplicity and clarity are key in what are competitive award categories. Good luck!

For more information, entry criteria and forms click here

Published 12 April, 2018

Revised guidance on the strategic report. Recognising the increasing importance of non-financial reporting. FRC enc… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…