On February 9, 2016, BNY Mellon released its 2015 Global Trends in Investor Relations: A Survey Analysis of IR Practices Worldwide. The report summarizes survey responses of 550 companies from 54 different countries to identify current trends in the global investor relations (IR) space. The report indicates that IR departments globally are intensifying their efforts with research analysts and building the visibility of their management teams with investors. Some of the highlights of the report are as follows:
Non-deal roadshows: The majority of companies continue to depend on brokers to organize non-deal road shows (NDRs). However, the number of companies that do not use brokers for NDRs has increased from 5% in 2012 to 10% in 2015. The principal factor cited in selecting a broker for NDRs is the quality of investor targeting provided by the broker. 84% of companies name sell-side/broker-run road shows as the top source of introductions to investment professionals, but this is a decrease from 87% in 2010. One of the reasons for this decline is the increase in one-on-one investor meetings. The average number of road show days has decreased from 25.1 days in 2013 to 18.6 days in 2015, while the total number of one-on-one meetings outside the issuer’s home market increased 12.6% from 250.6 meetings to 282.3 meetings.
Director participation in investor meetings: Investor meetings with participation by board members more than doubled between 2013 and 2015, from 24% to 49%, respectively. This trend was led by companies in Developed Asia, with 81% of companies reporting such meetings, followed by Eastern Europe with 59% and Western Europe with 55%. North American companies had the lowest rate of board/investor interaction at 26%. Of the companies that reported meetings between directors and investors, 54% stated that such meetings were standard practice for the company and were generally the result of investor request. However, only 24% of companies reported having a written policy regarding interaction between directors and investors. 21% of companies stated that they believed directors should have no direct contact with investors.
Social media usage: The use of social media for IR purposes continues to increase, although at a slower pace in recent years. In 2010, only 9% of companies reported using social media for IR purposes, which increased to 28% in 2013 and 30% in 2015. Of the 70% of companies that reported not using social media for IR purposes, approximately half indicated that they may use social media in the future. The most common social media platforms used are Twitter/StockTwits (16%), Facebook (11%) and mobile phone/tablet IR apps (11%).
When analyzing the companies utilizing social media, the survey found that twice as many mega cap companies (54%) use social media in IR compared to microcap companies (26%). The four industry sectors reporting the highest usage of social media are Technology (39%), Financial (39%), Telecommunications (38%) and Healthcare (38%). Of the companies that reported not using social media for IR purposes, the majority cited a lack of investor demand (61%), as well as limited resources (35%), inability to control the message (29%) and lack of management support (28%).
Written disclosures/social media policies: The prevalence of written disclosure policies has increased steadily over the past five years. In 2015, more than 80% of companies reported having formal written disclosure policies, compared to 62% in 2010. The number of companies with social media policies also has increased from 49% in 2015 compared to 42% in 2012. Other types of written policies in place that were examined in the survey include crisis communication policies, which decreased from 54% to 52% between 2013 and 2015; data breach communication policies, which decreased from 48% to 44% between 2013 and 2015; analyst and broker interaction policies, which decreased from 39% to 37% between 2013 and 2015; and policies on employee interaction with expert networks, which increased from 27% to 29% between 2013 and 2015.