Saturday, July 26, 2014

What was your experience dealing with Investor Relations?

I had started my new role at a new company a few weeks ago and I enjoyed some of the detailed learning which I've never really encountered in my previous work experience. Sadly, one of our portfolio analyst is resigning and due to the small organizational structure of the company the CEO had asked me to take over his role as an investor relations.

The Scope of Investor Relation?

So what is exactly the role of an investor relations?

Here are some of the main purpose why an investor relations department is set up in a company:

  • Bridging communication between the investment community and management
  • Providing feedback amongst Internal communication
  • Liaise with external parties (existing/potential shareholders, analysts, media) to provide value creation by adopting an open and transparency approach. 

  • In the past, I've always wanted to try out the investor relations role one way or another, thinking what they did was fun and easy. That was until his handover to me last week. The investor relations role can be quite tough and grumpy. Not only I had to deal with various regulatory SGX and MAS compliance, but I also went through the list of questions that some of the investors had asked and it can be range from pretty irrelevant to really daunting types of questions. 

    For example, some of the easier questions I saw in the email was "What does the company do?" Or, "Where can I find the annual report of the company?"

    Some of the harder questions include questions relating to very specific details such as the tenure of the specific loan or the hedging interest rates or the incumbent use of the SPCs, etc. The thing about answering these type of questions is not only do you need to understand the background of the specific operations well but also to go through the CEO for approval before replying - this can be pretty tiring since there are tons of questions in the mailbox :(

    Dealing with an investor relation can be pretty rewarding at times. By liaising with them directly, you can gain insightful information which you might have missed when you are researching otherwise. Having said that, the information gathered must not be something that has not been publicly disclosed. So it can be hard to draw the lines at times.

    So the next time you see those quarterly presentations on the SGX website and replies from your company's investor relation, do appreciate what they do. It is not as easy a job as I thought it would be.

    What was your experience with an investor relation? Please share.


    1. B,

      Investor relations is like Customer Service - you get tons of complaints and questions more than bouquets...

      When management trainees are posted to Customer Service, I'll tell those mentees under my charge that it's part of paying our dues by building a broad portfolio of business processes in the beginning.

      But try not to stay there too long!

      Just research how long your predecessors stayed in your job. And where are they now in your corporate food chain. Got time, ponder why "lao jiao" will "siam" such positions ;)

      Always "position" yourself to be selected in those processes that either BRING IN the MONEY or SAVE the company MONEY.

      I am not pouring cold water; I am cheerleading!

      Look out for my next post that may apply here.

      1. Hi Smol

        The IR role was an extra responsibility for me because the person has quit earlier. It was not supposed to be what I am doing. I guess this is the ad hoc stuff the conpany can argue it includes in the contract.

        Support staff?? Always at the mercy of the management. Low bonuses compared to sales and higher risk of dispense from the company.

    2. Now, you may realize why I don't take annual leave and attend AGM. They can't answer something that has not been publicly disclosed. Otherwise; they have to rush for urgent press release. LOL!

      1. Hi Uncle CW

        Hahaha they are not that bad. They can become an asset to us if we use it correctly ;)

    3. Hi B,
      I used to work for a listed company. The investor relation was answered by the CEO secretary. Apparently she was not so busy because the company is not so well known and not too many questions from IR. I was also involve in the AGM and approval was done by a show of hands from shareholders. Guess what? Many shareholders present, were employees from CEO's other company. Hence, you can already know result, even before the vote! For many listed companies, there are many "wayang" within it and sometimes not as what we thought as outsider. Of course there are good companies too!

      1. Hi Rolf

        Thanks for sharing your experience.

        Its my first time working for a publicly listed co in singapore so I got to learnthe many regulatory requirement required. Usually they are not as pain in the ass as it used to be ;)

    4. Hi B,

      Interesting article. Now I know why my queries to IR were either ignored or took such long time to be replied.

      Look forward to more sharing from you!

      SG Wealth Builder

      1. Hi Gerald

        Not that we purposely wanted it to be but we got to obtain approval from the top lest we leaked out some information which were not publicly disclosed ;)