IR technology leaves Canadian investors unimpressed

Feb 05, 2015
<p>Investment community also largely unconvinced by social media, finds <em>IR Magazine</em> report</p>

Investor relations professionals in Canada have largely been left cold by recent technological developments, while social media is considered ‘not useful’, according to the IR Magazine Investor Perception Study – Canada 2015.

Unlike in previous years, the 2015 Canada study has a new feedback section where respondents to our survey have an opportunity to openly comment about their requirements from IR departments and corporate officers more generally.

The 272 professionals surveyed were asked to reveal what they most value in a number of IR-related topics, including financial reporting, corporate governance and how executives contribute to the IR function. Their answers were then compiled with the aim of finding which IR areas are being handled well, which need improvement and the kind of changes expected by the investment community, if any.

The results indicate that technology is one of the least satisfactory aspects of IR for Canadian professionals: both investors and analysts are typically neither interested in technological developments nor impressed with the way Canadian corporates exploit them.

‘There is nothing new on the technology front from an IR perspective,’ writes one member of the buy side (all comments are unattributed to preserve respondents’ anonymity). Another buy-side representative simply summarizes: ‘Canadians are not so good at the new technologies.’

Others write that the technological side of IR does not interest them, or remains irrelevant to their interests or needs. ‘I don’t know if anyone does anything interesting with technology for IR,’ writes a buy-side respondent. ‘I think it’s a lot easier and more productive to give someone a call.’

A number of respondents also say that adding any further channels of communication would be excess to requirements. ‘I’m happy with things the way are, and see no need for more ways to get information,’ writes one buy-side professional, echoing a sentiment repeated throughout respondents’ comments. Most say they simply prefer traditional forums for discussion, such as phone calls and face-to-face meetings.

Social media, too, attracts the ire of Canadian professionals. Beyond the majority of buy-side and sell-side respondents simply saying they don’t use such communication tools, some have different criticisms. ‘Social media doesn’t give huge value because we get the information faster by talking,’ says one member of the sell side. ‘Maybe it’s good at the retail level.’

This largely chimes with data obtained through IR Magazine’s Special Report: Corporate Reporting in October 2014. Of the 886 IR professionals quizzed in the research for that report, only 16 percent say they use social media channels to communicate with investors. In North America, more than four in five IROs (82 percent) say they would never feel comfortable responding to buy-side or sell-side inquiries via social media.

For details of how to access the full IR Magazine Investor Perception Study – Canada 2015, please contact Andrea Pion at +1 212 430 6895.

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