IR Society advised to get out the lifeboats, the day of the MiFID II is really upon us this time!

When we wake up on Wednesday, 3 January 2018, will it be any different to the day before and possibly a day of woe for more than just Wednesday's child?

The IR Society, the UK's professional body for investor relations, held an intriguing discussion this week, courtesy of Georgeson and led by the stallions of Cenkos Securities, the AIM-listed specialist institutional securities firm.  When we recently featured, 'All change in the City: another Big Bang?' in Informed, our quarterly publication, and some seasoned City figures of 'the Big Bang' era tell you that MiFID II is the biggest market change for 30 years, not just for the sell-side but for all of us, you listen.

We did and it was one of the most engaging and stimulating discussions we have had the pleasure to host. Given over-supply and the inevitable fall-out in the broking sector, coverage of some companies will surely shrink, both in quantity and possibly in quality. This means that companies face significant changes in the way they engage with the market and investors. The knock-on effect may mean an even smaller view of what consensus really is with the role of IR potentially coming to the fore. Are you ready, adequately resourced and going to be waking up on 3 January 2018 without a hangover?

The discussion suggested a number of scenarios, all of which we may have heard or at least contemplated given how long MiFID II has been coming. There was even a suggestion that the regulatory impact may be far-reaching, beyond Europe and across the Atlantic. However, what echoed in our minds were the words of Professor John Kay who sagely said at our last annual conference, 'Regulation has been more a part of the problem than the solution.'

Sometimes when you start to unravel a complex institutionalised process, like that of investment, for example, you end up exposing greater risks in the overall system than perhaps you bargained for. Who pays? Well, perhaps the most vivid analogy was the rather bleak maritime one of having been torpedoed in the raging Atlantic, only to find yourself left precariously clinging to a piece of driftwood, along with the other survivors '... for the world has changed, and we must change with it'.

Join us at the IR Society annual conference on 20 June 2017 when we will discuss 'A new world order: The ascent of IR' and the impact of regulatory change on our roles from a variety of market perspectives, including the buy-and sell-side, as well as the corporate view. How can you be IR ready as the voice of UK plc in 2017 and certainly beyond 3 January 2018, the date of the implementation of MiFID II? Or in the pithy words of one IRO, 'I am the consensus!'

John Gollifer is the General Manager at the IR Society

Published 17 May, 2017