Jessica Spina is the Head of Group Investor Relations and Strategic Corporate Development of Mediobanca. She graduated with honours in Economics and Business Studies from the Bocconi University in Milan. She is also qualified as an auditor (Revisore Contabile) and an accountant (Dottore Commercialista). She started her career in 1992 as a financial analyst covering Italian listed banks. She joined Mediobanca in 1998, working first in Corporate Finance, in particular the Financial Institutions Group. In 2004 she founded the Investor Relations unit, starting up a dialogue with the financial community. As IRO she has received several awards: in the Institutional Investors survey (All-Executive Team – Mid-Cap European Banks) she was ranked Top 3 in the Best IR professional category in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Jessica is also Head of Group Strategic Corporate Development, where she is responsible for supporting the CEO and senior management in identifying directions for the Mediobanca Group to grow, which includes evaluating options for acquisitions.
What are your top priorities as an IRO?
I see Investor Relations as a responsibility for the company in both ethical and strategic terms, the purpose of which is to create effective, two-way dialogue between the company itself and the financial community. Our mission follows three main guidelines:
- To create an investor base, institutional and retail, for our shares and bonds in the medium/long term.
- To facilitate stock liquidity and price stabilization.
- To promote ongoing dialogue between investors and senior management regarding strategic choices.
To meet these objectives, we work hard to ensure that our communication is timely, relevant, reliable, comparable (over space and time) and comprehensible to all categories of users.
How long have you been in your role, and how have you seen the role evolve in the past couple of years?
I’ve been in the role since 2004, so 15 years. The role has evolved significantly in that time, in terms of scope and complexity. At the start the core of the job was equity: analysts and portfolio managers. Since the Lehman crisis and the sovereign debt crisis that hit Italy (and the spread on Italian bonds), credit, in the shape of agencies, analysts and portfolio managers, has gained traction, asking for separate road-shows, presentations, meetings, and sections in institutional websites. Recently ESG has become increasingly relevant. So to summarize, the job has basically tripled!
Strong hard and soft skills – which require constant updating – are needed all the time. Along with resilience, self-control, passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
What are some challenges you face when liaising with other areas of your organization around proxy and earnings seasons?
The beauty of our work is that we act as a link: between internal and external stakeholders, between the different units of the Bank, between senior management and the operations teams. In earning and proxy seasons all staff are working under serious pressure. A high-quality and effective joint-team performance depends on four magic words: collaboration, patience, trust, and competence, at all levels. When we engage with the outside world we gain useful feedback on our work, understand who we are being compared to, what others do, what KPIs they value, and also the quality of our own communications, financial reports and disclosure. At the same time, we also get a chance to tell our side of the story, explaining our competitive advantages, what makes us different from the others. So it’s a continuous learning-by-doing process, a virtuous cycle.
© Copyright 2019 Nasdaq, Inc. The Nasdaq logo and the Nasdaq ‘ribbon’ logo are the registered and unregistered trademarks, or service marks, of Nasdaq, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. This communication being is provided to you by Corporate Solutions, a business of Nasdaq, Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries (collectively, “Nasdaq”), for informational purposes only and is of general character only. None of the information herein constitutes advice, a recommendation, solicitation, invitation or inducement to buy or sell securities of any kind, or as commentary on the value of any security. Before making any investment decision, you should seek independent legal, taxation or financial advice. Nasdaq makes no representation or warranty with respect to this communication or such content and expressly disclaims any implied warranty under law. At the time of publication, the information herein was believed to be accurate, however, such information is subject to change without notice and Nasdaq makes no representation or warranty as to the correctness or completeness of the information. The information provided in this report remains, unless otherwise stated, the copyright of Nasdaq and may not be used, reproduced, published or copied, in whole or in part, in any form or for any purpose whatsoever without the express written permission of Nasdaq. This information is not directed or intended for distribution to, or use by, any citizen or resident of, or otherwise located in, any jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to any law or regulation or which would subject Nasdaq to any registration or licensing requirements or any other liability within such jurisdiction. By reviewing this document, you acknowledge that neither Nasdaq nor any of its third-party providers shall under any circumstance be liable for any lost profits or lost opportunity, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, or punitive damages whatsoever, even if Nasdaq or its third-party providers have been advised of the possibility of such damages. Additionally, unless due to willful tortious misconduct or gross negligence, neither Nasdaq nor any of its third-party providers shall have any liability in tort, contract, or otherwise (and as permitted by law, product liability), to you or any third party. This disclaimer is governed by the laws of the State of New York.