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The Australasian Investor Relations Association's (AIRA) annual conference is a great place to hear new ideas, exchange views, and reconnect with colleagues.
I attended this year’s conference in person. Here were my three clear takeaways:
- ESG importance is here to stay
The focus on Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance (ESG) is growing. The heightened importance of the impact of climate change, energy use, modern slavery and diversity are now front and centre in the minds of long-term investors. There is still a lot of work to be done by regulators and governments to define the standards.
- Know your company's current position,
- Get ready now; Don’t leave it to the last minute to understand your reporting responsibilities. There are a lot of great pools and resources out there already to learn from
- Be truthful; investors are savvy and they will spot ‘greenwashing’.
- KISS is back
The old saying "Keep it simple, stupid" still applies. We're all short on time, so we're all doing our best to adjust to the new COVID environment. Investors do not have the time to read and understand lengthy research papers and analyses. Plan your meetings carefully, and make sure your presentation materials and communications are clear, accurate, and easy to understand.
If potential investors want more, they will ask.
- The days of old when a fund manager or analyst had time to read and report on a 20 -30 page pack are gone.
- Give them a one-pager, a fact sheet, a business on a page, and ESG for that business on a page.
- Know your product.
Know your product — and, in this case, the product is the company you work for.
We are all employees of companies, and that company is the product we are selling. How many of us know how to sell our businesses or reply concisely when asked, "What does your company do?"
How are investors meant to know if they want to invest in your company if you can't articulate what the company does?
Create a strong story and know the story’s ending; while you cannot give a forecast, you can talk about the company's plans.
Other points of interest I gleaned from listening to the experts:
- It is difficult to stand out in a vast crowd – therefore, good content is essential.
- Be honest; if you know something may impact your company's results, flag it early.
- Non-financial metrics are growing in importance – but they need to be clear and aligned with your business
- Zoom and virtual investor meetings are here to stay; learn to do virtual meetings well - and stick to the time allocated.
- Smoke machines are still a thing - and useful for conferences, weddings and Bar mitzvahs.
Thanks to everyone at AIRA for organising another great conference.