Investor relations teams are more empowered by technology than at any other point in the past. Nasdaq’s ConnectIR has seen a 260% increase in the number of companies leveraging the platform since the start of the pandemic, and the number of bookings across buy-side, post-earnings and environmental, social and governance (ESG) events surpassed the 10,000 mark in October of 2021.1
In addition to the efficiencies in the promotion, scheduling and measuring the engagement of events that ConnectIR provides, the integration of Zoom video conferencing in the latter part of 2020 has helped IR teams adapt to the surge in virtual meetings through the pandemic.
Historically, IR customer relationship management (CRM) may have been used principally as a system of record to capture high-level data about past interactions. Even most event logistics were handled in the offline world.
However, as issuers emerge from the pandemic and corporate travel resumes at scale, the expectations for a modern-day CRM have shifted – many of our clients want technology to be integrated at every stage of the event process and support an IR program where both virtual and hybrid events are common.
Nasdaq Investor Relations’ Transition to In-Person survey from June 2021 highlighted that issuers polled expect a higher proportion of issuer engagements in the future to be virtual, with 56% anticipating virtual engagements while 44% expect in-person. However, buy-side participants surveyed reiterated the value of in-person interactions, particularly with C-level executives prior to an investment or with top holdings. That said, they are also open to and expect a higher proportion of issuer engagements in the future to be virtual. While it remains unclear what exactly this mix will be, armed with the right tools, companies can feel confident they can adapt efficiently to this new way of operating.
For the buy-side, this method of booking events with C-level executives in a streamlined fashion through a simple interface will only become more commonplace, particularly as the sell-side more tightly integrates technology platforms with their event planning workflow. The buy-side may also become accustomed to the self-serve model, booking event slots directly, receiving confirmations and options for virtual attendance, so it may be challenging to go back to the traditional way.
It is not only the event planning and execution process where companies are becoming more sophisticated but also all the additional data generated and rigor in logging interactions opens up powerful options for IR teams when it comes to reporting and strategy formation.
Nasdaq IR Insight has seen 12% growth YoY in users leveraging custom reporting tools in the platform. Through that activity, Nasdaq’s IR Intelligence team sees that issuers want to report on their event activity in an increasing variety of ways.2
At a minimum, they want to be sure that management time is allocated appropriately, and they also want to track how effectively they prospect for events, understand the value they are extracting from their broker relationships and measure the impact of meeting prospective investors. These extra insights allow IR teams to be flexible and targeted with their strategy throughout the year and adjust course when required.
As the demands on IR teams continue to grow disproportionately to resources, driving efficiency of investor meetings will continue to rise in importance and having the right tools will be paramount.
Like countless other trends through the pandemic, the adoption of these tools over the past 18 months feels like an acceleration along a path Nasdaq’s IR Intelligence team and our clients were already on.
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1 Date range from Feb. 28, 2020 – Oct. 1, 2021
2 Date range from Jan. 1, 2020 – Oct. 5, 2020 vs. Jan. 1, 2021 – Oct.5, 2021