‘Bridging the Gap’ with the Investor Forum

The Society partnered the Investor Forum on their latest white paper, which focuses on helping build stronger, more collaborative partnerships and rejuvenating the investor-company dialogue.

The ‘Bridging the Gaps between Companies and Investors: Shaping Tomorrow's Dialogues’ White paper includes reflections from investor relations, sustainability, corporate governance and audit perspectives, and sets out some practical actions that would improve best practice, reduce friction and strengthen relationships between companies and investors, enabling them to focus on long-term value creation. 

When looking at actions for companies, the Top 10 things investors would like to see are:

1. Make access easy - establish a feature on corporate websites for investors to express interest in engaging and to sign up to distribution lists (and maintain a generic IR@plc.com).
2. Determine the purpose of any meeting - information gathering, investment decision-making, strategic or thematic engagement - and focus on both specific information needs and attendee expectations.
3. Tailor communications to meet the needs of your different audiences – equity, credit, ESG - as each may have different interests and priorities, investment strategies, risk appetite, and long-term goals.
4. Communicate with authenticity andstraightforwardness in all interactions to build credibility and trust.
5. Be bold in crafting and owning your narrative; emphasise your unique value proposition and sustainability journey.
6. Understand the materiality of issues for your company. Use this understanding proactively to inform how you address regulatory and reporting requirements.
7. Align reporting efforts with strategic objectives to ensure coherence and relevance.
8. Avoid unnecessary complexity in reporting by providing clear summaries and linkages. Present information in various formats tailored to the needs of different investors.
9. Be aware of the pressure and influence that different asset owners mandate on asset managers.
10. Don’t be offended if investors don’t engage regularly but do ensure that the lines of communication are open and available.

Investors acknowledge that "Companies know their businesses better than anyone else. They should take a bolder stance in proactive communication, and not just tell investors what they think they want to hear." with corporates commenting that "Authentic dialogue builds relationships and is so critical in a sea of data overload and uncertainty. We need a clear purpose and focus on materiality to build trust." and that "It’s important to recognise the inadequacy of resources available to meet reporting and disclosure requirements. Both companies and investors need greater prioritisation."

The summary presentation (available for download below) distils key insights and strategies for improving dialogue, and shares some day to day practical actions we can all take to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of dialogues. The standout insight from this exercise is that the foundations of the relationships between companies and investors are robust. 

This project resulted from the Capital Markets Industry Taskforce (CMIT) 2023 suggestion of an ‘investor and issuer forum’ to facilitate more effective ongoing engagement between boards and their shareholders, and the Society looks forward to continuing this ongoing dialogue with the Investor Forum during 2024 and beyond - our next roundtable is being arranged in May, please contact Liz.Cole@irsociety.org.uk if you would like to get involved!


Published 13 March, 2024


Summary of key insights