Traditionally, the role of an investor relations (IR) department or person, is to act as a bridge between investors and a company. Effective IR should provide investors with an accurate account of company affairs. When done right, private and institutional investors make informed investment decisions and companies acquire their target capital.
In the past, investor relations was a predominantly reactive function that responded to the market and investors needs as they happened. As we settle into the fourth industrial revolution, companies are bracing themselves for digital change.
Investor Relations Officers (IROs) are now under pressure with developments in digitalisation, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning – all of which contribute to trusty relationship building between companies and investors.
Today, technological IR can predict events before they happen and communicate risks and opportunities to a large investment community.
Investors play a fundamental part in the expansion process of many companies. The flow of information between said investors and a company could make or break growth strategies.
A lack of clear communication and incomplete information could end in one of two ways. First, without profiling your company effectively and ensuring all expansion plans are communicated to the investment community; chances are, your capital needs will never be met. Second, if by chance your business successfully attracts a relevant investor but there are significant gaps in communication; ineffective decision making and futile investment strategies could harm the investor’s portfolio, tarnish your reputation and ultimately fail.
IR in Capital Markets
Capital markets can be volatile places. Within them, a company can realise rapid growth by gaining access to the capital they need. Individuals and institutions engage in the trade of financial securities like bonds and stocks of companies.
Essentially, it is a race between companies for the capital of investors. When this takes place against the backdrop of continuously changing political and economic climates; Investor Relations step in to maximise efficiencies and minimise risk.
Role of Investor Relations:
- Attract investment (obviously)
- Provide information to support company valuations
- Maintain a loyal shareholder base
- Prepare the capital markets for future financing at favourable terms
- Establish long-term credibility
- They observe the rules of security commissions and stock exchanges
- Record investor feedback for management
Evidently, IR cannot be overlooked but it has been adapted into the capacities of mobile apps and online tools. The Fintech industry has been at the forefront of innovation, using technology to improve the activities in finance. And its capabilities have been extended to the financial communications sector.
ATM giant Diebold Nixon has claimed that consumers will be able to have video chats with mortgage advisers through high street cash machines in as little as 5 years. As 24/7 cash machines gain more and more financial capabilities, professional roles across the entire industry are expected to shift sooner or later.
Let’s take a look at some of the mobile apps that are connecting companies with investors and assisting the communication processes between them.
Sberbank IR App
The Sberbank IR App lets companies, investors, analysts and the media to stay on top of current financial and corporate information at Sberbank – investment bank based in Russia. Where once upon a time, the task of relaying this information was on the shoulders of IR personnel, for better or worse, the mobile app has now consumed a large portion of their job spec.
The app updates its individually configured dashboards on a daily basis. Users find access to real-time data on the investment history of Sberbank. What would essentially take an IRO week to research and report back to stakeholders – access to this information is instant?
Sberbank is committed to digitalising as many services as possible. The banking group recently announced it’s offering online individual lending through its mobile app – receiving a decision in a matter of minutes. Meaning, long, drawn-out meetings at the bank, or tireless PR efforts to attract investment are curbed with a few clicks of a button.
Allianz Investor Relations App
Frankly, each stakeholder of Allianz needs to install its IR app. Whilst the PR and IR departments of the Insurance company giant do much to keep its news at the forefront of business affairs, the IR app alleviates pressures on its personnel.
Allianz IR app allows its users to watch their analyst conference calls in real-time and provides them with the most important information about share prices, bonds, company results and its financial calendar.
Reports and presentations are also made imminently available offline. These crucial documents and announcements can have profound effects on any investment. These include sustainability reports, SFCR and Own Funds Reports, financial supplements, annual and interim reports and analyst and investor presentations. Having these on hand in a comprehensive app removes the need to search the web or contact investor relations officers.
Meaning, IROs are free to focus on other research areas. Likewise, stakeholders save time and can stay on top of their investments by knowing how the Allianz share is performing and the latest on Allianz bonds.
TheIRapp has essentially made it easy for all publically traded companies to optimise their IR content for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices.
Since we understand the importance of investor relations, we should also take a moment to appreciate its inefficiencies. Just consider the amount of time it would take even the most efficient IR team to research, analyse data, create content and distribute it far and wide.
Using theIRapp, within a few short weeks, any company has the capacity to have its own IR app to provide investors across the world with IR information. Giving them access to up to date and real-time stock related data, fact sheets and marketing collateral.
This platform was created with communications professionals in mind – IR and IR professionals in particular. Meaning, theIRapp understands from the company perspective, precisely how information should be disseminated. And they know how IR content is being consumed and what investors want from public companies.
Now, more than ever, the need to digitalise business processes is apparent. There is still a role for Investor Relation Officers to play. But with more communication processes being delegated to technology, these roles are likely to change.
As with most technological advancements, these changes are likely to be for the better. Investment Relations Officers are no longer confined to the limits of dated communication processes, like telephone and meetings. Suddenly, that’s all taken care of as the entire investor community has access to all the relevant information they need to make effective decisions.
IR personnel are free to run the accounts of active investment relations and can spend more time on research and innovative relations techniques.