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IR Webinar – Moving forward: Life after the crisis

12 May 2020
1 July 2020

Summary from IR Webinar – Moving forward: Life after the crisis

Last week I have attended a very insightful Webinar organised by the IR Society led by some speakers from Barclays, EY and SASB (the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board).

The webinar looked primarily at two areas of IR which will form part of the upcoming future of many IROS: how public companies will try to bolster their balance sheets through recapitalisation, and secondly, how ESG factors will affect the relationship between companies and their stakeholders.

Key takeaway:

  1. The crisis has highlighted the importance of companies having the correct technology in place at home. The transition has been much easier for those companies and employees that were already well prepared;
  2. The virtual meeting environment may geographically broaden a company’s potential investor base;  
  3. Many companies have had to withdraw financial guidance and provide more regular market updates; 
  4. Being on the front foot in engaging with investors is important. More incoming requests have been received directly from the buy-side;
  5. There is likely to be more equity fundraisers in the next year or so, once markets stabilise, to repay the debt financing relied upon during the crisis.

It is relevant to adjust the balance sheets for life after the crisis: check all the financing options open to companies and the process for equity fundraisings both in more ‘normal’ times and during the crisis.

ESG considerations post-crisis:

  1. It is evident that the convergence towards one global set of standards for ESG reporting is necessary; currently there are too many ratings agencies and frameworks;
  2. The CEO/CFO should be able to understand the impact of ESG on their business and in the creation of long-term value; IROs should play an important role in these communications;
  3. Momentum around climate change has rapidly shifted to a focus on human and social capital as a result of the crisis

BlackRock’s recent research showed that ESG investments have been outperforming.

During the Webinar, a poll was conducted. Key results are as follows:  

  1. Over the next year approximately 80% of respondents expect the crisis to have a negative impact on their company. 
  2. Conversely, over the next three years, 25% of participants expected the crisis to have a negative impact, 50% were neutral and 20% expected it to have a positive impact
  3. 55% of respondents said there had been an increase in discussions around liquidity and capital needs and a further 39% reporting a material increase 
  4. 86% of respondents expect ESG to become more important as we emerge from the current crisis.

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