Companies need to regularly engage with stakeholders in a meaningful way, informing them of the goals being pursued, and the direction and strategies being taken. Presenting a clear picture of corporate governance and performance is crucial to solicit support and cooperation. As such, the role of an investor relations team is crucial.
As part of the Asset Benchmark Research’s (ABR) annual review of the best companies in Asia, which is an integral process in coming up with the ESG Corporate Awards, we have taken a thorough look at the corporate practices that distinguish the best from the rest.
Clearly, consistent engagement and clear messaging are some of the critical traits that make an impactful investor relations team.
Engagement involves not only making general presentations to a large audience of analysts or investors but, perhaps more importantly, the ability to conduct one-on-one meetings, detailing the financial health of the company and sharing how the organization is navigating the volatile market environment.
A highly competent investor relations team is able to showcase transparency in the company’s operations by facilitating regular and meaningful disclosures. For example, several investor relations teams shared with ABR that they have a weekly newsletter on corporate goings-on as well as market updates and commentaries. Some highlighted the fact that they kept investors and analysts informed during unexpected market developments.
Leveraging various channels from personal emails to social media and online events displays a company’s sincerity and eagerness to engage with stakeholders. Some progressive investor relations teams went the extra mile, appointing third parties to undertake surveys to gauge shareholder sentiment and market pulse.
Given the growing focus on sustainability, leading investor relations teams have incorporated ESG metrics such as greenhouse gas emissions into their financial reporting.
In fact, a number of companies in Asia have formed sustainability teams as part of their efforts to inform stakeholders of their ESG efforts and accomplishments. This is an exciting area that the ABR is looking at and seeking to recognize more in the coming years. It is an area where certain teams stand out.
One sustainability team, for example, was mainly responsible for crafting a sound ESG policy framework for their company that is aligned with international standards, along with a roadmap that is ambitious but achievable. The scope of the sustainability team, moreover, should be felt across the organization and not limited to interaction with upper management.
Initiatives may include providing ESG training for colleagues or working with external stakeholders such as suppliers to encourage a change in attitude and habits for the better. Sustainability teams should also be able to showcase the company’s sustainability journey in public forums or significant improvements in ESG performance as assessed by a third-party firm.
In this respect, leadership is crucial. In this year’s ESG Corporate Awards, for example. ABR is pleased to recognize Eric Lim, chief sustainability officer at UOB, as Best Sustainability Officer. Appointed to the role in 2021, Lim over the past couple of years has built up the bank’s sustainability credentials to one of the best in the region and is responsible for reviewing the bank’s ESG material and identifying risk and opportunities.
To see the full list of best investor relations teams please go here.
View the winners of best sustainability officer and teams please go here.
For more information about these awards please go here.
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