Jessica Spina Mediobanca
Investor Relations

Intro to an IRO: Jessica Spina, Mediobanca

Nasdaq IR Intelligence highlights the Investor Relations Officers who perform beyond the traditional role of the IRO. This week we highlight Jessica Spina of Mediobanca.

Jessica Spina Mediobanca

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:

  1. To create an investor base, institutional and retail, for our shares and bonds in the medium/long term.
  2. To facilitate stock liquidity and price stabilization.
  3. 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.

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