AIRA 2018 Conference: “Navigating uncharted territory”
The Westin Hotel, 1 Martin Place, Sydney
21-22 November, 2018
The Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA) annual conference is the leading event for IR professionals and listed companies in Australasia.
Once again Edison was a lead sponsor at the event and CEO, Fraser Thorne was invited to provide an international perspective to the issue of MiFID II and outline how it is likely to impact companies looking to access European capital markets.
This year’s conference was introduced as follows:
Execution on a global level has never been more important for investor relations professionals. The need to embrace new ways of communicating with investors is at the core of the post-MiFID II world: targeting those you need to engage with – institutions, passive funds and activists – and planning when and how best to do that; sorting out who can provide tactical advice; and ensuring that you have the resources on hand.
We believe the year ahead brings activist resolutions, a sharp focus on ESG issues, shifts in technology and growth in artificial intelligence. It is imperative that companies are well versed in best practice investor relations so that tighter regulation and global headwinds can be effectively charted.
Session topics were:
- The regulator’s verdict: Is MiFID II hitting its intended goals?
- How MiFID II is working out for Australasian companies in the front line?
- The future of investor relations: What every investor relations officer (IRO) needs to know.
- Increasing the focus on the long term.
- Ownership trends in Australia.
- The love-hate relationship between the IRO and the annual report: The best way to deal with it.
- Building the bridge between IR, the C-suite and the board.
- Shareholder communication: How is technology influencing best practice?
- Q&A with activist managers: What drives activism?
- Shareholder proposals are rising: Manage your AGM in the age of activism.
Edison CEO, Fraser Thorne was on the panel for the second session, which turned out to be the best attended.
The discussion focused on how IROs are affected by MiFID II. How are Australasia-listed entities adapting to the new rules of engagement with fund managers and stockbrokers? What practices have they scrapped, and what new ones are cutting through? What are the most effective means of engaging with your shareholders and hunting for new ones? Are fund managers opening their doors to direct communication and do they still attend conferences around the world? What benefits can stockbrokers now provide to listed entities?
Both the MiFID II sessions were a key focus for all attendees, as the previous expectations of minimal effect and local impact have since been overtaken by events.
Many of the larger cap-companies are seeing their international roadshows and investor access programmes impacted by the new regulations and there are considerably greater implications for medium and smaller-cap companies as they have to face the implications of unbundling and restricted broker research reach outside Australia for both research and corporate access.
For the first MiFID II session, the presenters were Cathie Armour, Commissioner, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Adam Wreglesworth, Technical Specialist, Markets Policy Department, Strategy & Competition Division, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) (UK).
Fraser’s session included James Fitzsimmons, Head of EMEA Corporate Access, Goldman Sachs (London); Will Jackson, Senior Investor Relations Officer, National Grid; and Genevieve Murray, Head of Australian Equities & Co-PM Systematic, AMP Capital.
Also presenting at the conference were: Liza McDonald, Head of Responsible Investment, First State Super (FSS); Natalie Worley, General Manager of Investor Relations, Rio Tinto; Nick Paris, Director & Portfolio Manager, LIM Advisors; Gabriel Radzyminski Managing Director & Portfolio Manager, Sandon Capital; Dr Gary Weiss, Chair, Ridley Corporation and Director, Estia Health and Ardent Leisure; Ariadne Australia; Dean Fergie, Director & Portfolio Manager, Cyan Investment Management; Simon Gresham, Director of Equity, Asia, MFS; Marcus Ryan, Senior Investment Manager, Yarra Capital Management; Chris Williams, Co-Head of Equities, Australia & New Zealand, UBS Securities Australia.
Representatives from leading Australian companies National Australia, Commonwealth and Westpac Bank, CSL, Santos, Qantas, Mirvac, Wesfarmers, Woolworths, and the ASX were all in attendance, with approximately 170 delegates attending the conference.
At the conference dinner a number of awards are distributed, with Edison client CSL winning both the Morrow Sodali award for Best Investor Relations by a company in the S&P/ASX 50 and the Orient Capital Award for Overall Best Investor Relations by a company in the S&P/ASX 200.