In the final stop of the Asia IR Wisdom Summit, it seemed we have saved the best for last. The IR community gathered at the SGX and discussions were well supported by industry players, investors, as well as the Stock Exchange. Below are key takeaways the EQS team believe would be valuable for IR professionals who were unable to attend the event.

SGX’s Emphasis on IR Efforts Online

Mr. Chng Lay Chew (Chief Financial Officer of the SGX) started the day and spoke about the importance of the IR profession in Singapore and the need to enhance the degree of IR efforts to keep up with the industry’s global growth and development. This is especially important given the many new and fast-paced possibilities the Internet has to offer in disrupting how investors interact with information and communicate with one another online. The SGX is particular supportive, as evidenced by its array of online tools available for IR managers.

The day continued with many IR professionals sharing their experiences with regards to switching from the buy- & sell-sides to IR, efforts in times of crises and turmoil, as well as planning and organizing investor days.

Digital Communications is Inescapable

EQS moderated the panel “Crisis Communications in the Digital Age: Blessing or Curse” joined by representatives from IR, buy-side, and digital media to present their views and insights in a more dynamic manner. All of our panelists see crisis as a blessing, that it should be considered a marketing advantage, and shouldn’t be something to avoid.

Photo of panelists during IR wisdom summit
From left: Marcus Sultzer (EQS), Patrick Nathan (SMRT Corp), Keith Kok (RHT Digital & Media), and Justin Tang (Religare Capital Markets)

For a prominent corporation like SMRT Corp, being in the public eye is nothing out of the ordinary. Mr. Patrick Nathan (VP Corporate and Communications of SMRT Corp. Ltd.) shared that as both investors and commuters of all ages are SMRT’s audience, the company keep both traditional and digital forms of communication quite balanced. However, he did praise the power of Twitter and other social media channels, leveraging their viral nature to amplify messages quickly and broadly; but added that companies should set out social media policies for better control and guidance for employees to engage online. On this aspect, Mr. Keith Kok (Director of Digital Strategy at RHT Digital & Media) noted that most companies tend not to have the capabilities to upkeep their social media presence, thus he stressed that a lot of preparation and strategizing work is needed before setting up such channels.

In terms of investor relations, Mr. Nathan stressed that he would like to see more use of digital media within IR especially when sustainability plays a larger role nowadays, adding that outdated forms of presentation such as print and CD-ROMs are just becoming irrelevant. Mr. Justin Tang (Director, Global Special Situations of Religare Capital Markets) echoed the necessity for IROs to transit more into digital as he shared an analyst method to find information online, which includes searching through company websites, news portals, social media channels, and forums.

All in all, our panelists believe the worse approach to crisis communication is to “take things offline”. Digital is no longer escapable as people go to the Internet in search for truth. Companies should always fix things publicly, and should work on developing a communication style that is not templated and not consisting “no comment” responses.

EQS is once again a key sponsor of the Investor Relations Wisdom Summit organized by Ipreo. This is the fifth year the day-long educational program takes place in Asia, and same as the previous year, EQS moderates one of the panels.

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