Discussions in the HK event was well supported by spokesperson representing institutional investors, IR managers of large and smaller companies, as well as the Stock Exchange. Below are key takeaways the EQS team believe would be valuable for IR and communications professionals who were unable to attend the event.

HKEX opening up another investor group – Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect

As addressed by Mr. Tae Yoo (Managing Director, Market Development Division, HKEX) when he kick-started the Wisdom Summit in Hong Kong, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect scheme is likely to be launched in November 2016. Learning from the Shanghai-HK Stock Connect’s success, Mr. Yoo expressed that while Mainland investors may have other choice of investment vehicles aside from equities, or may have preferences of investments outside of Greater China, he still encouraged issuers to engage with this new investor group.

Responding to new regulations and investor behavior

ESG reporting continues to be the talk of town within Hong Kong’s IR community, combined with changing behaviors of how consumers access information, EQS hosted a panel discussion on “Reporting trends and the role of digital, mobile and ESG” to explore what are optimal reporting approaches. The panel was moderated by Mr. Marcus Sultzer (CEO Asia Pacific, EQS Group), joined by Ms. Shelldy Cheung (Head of IR and CorpComm, Chu Kong Petroleum), Ms. Emily Lau (CorpComm and IR, Pacific Basin), and Mr. Tony Wong (Founder, Alaya Consulting).

Our panelists shared how reporting has transformed in the past five to ten years from financial figures on paper to integrating more qualitative and ESG content that could be accessible across various medium and channels — driven by new regulations and investor behaviors. New regulations referring to the global shift towards importance of transparency, corporate governance, sustainability, and holistic communication; while new behaviors referring to tech-savvy retail investors in HK and Mainland China who are now exposed to large amounts of content in the online world when making investment decisions. This is also backed by other speakers throughout the day, from both the buy-side and sell-side, expressing that investment decisions nowadays are more often being made over an assessment of a company’s corporate governance approach.

While many companies are still in a preliminary stage to taking the holistic communication approach, Pacific Basin Shipping has been actively incorporating Integrated Reporting when they tell their business stories. The content of reports need to be beyond stand-alone facts and financial figures, but something to tie in different functional units of the company together to demonstrate how short-term and long-term value are being created.

In addition to Integrated Reporting, Digital Reporting comes into play to make all the content known to stakeholders. Our panelists discussed that shifting strategies to be more digital/online is not something that can be done overnight but could actually take years of convincing senior management to invest in digital initiatives. However, it is quite evident that printed reports are being reduced, shorter versions of report summaries are now created to cater for mobile users, and investors now demand instant and constant updates via email and/or financial portals. Are your senior management recognizing and keeping up with this change?

Investors need investment ideas

In addition to learning first-hand from IR managers of various-sized companies on IR best practices, the audience sure was ecstatic when Ms. Victoria Mio (Co-Head Asia Pacific Equities and CIO China of Robeco) encouraged listed companies to ramp up their efforts to proactively talk to investors given great timing to invest in equities as well as investors’ constant search for investment ideas. Combining this great news with the soon-to-be-reality SZ-HK Stock Connect, are your forms of IR communications the latest and greatest yet?

 

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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