FAVOURABLE ALLIANCE - JSE MAGAZINE

FAVOURABLE ALLIANCE

The JSE’s Investor Relations division is the ears, eyes and mouthpiece of the exchange in terms of its interaction with the company’s investors

FAVOURABLE ALLIANCE

Investor Relations (IR) is tasked with entering into dialogue with investors, shareholders, analysts and the media so that they might have a greater understanding of the JSE’s operations, strategy and value proposition. Headed up by Michelle Joubert, the JSE’s IR team liaises with relevant JSE departments, such as accounting, legal and management as well as investors, to be able to deliver feedback to various stakeholders.

‘Investor Relations is not simply a marketing exercise. We provide a channel between themselves and investors to handle investor inquiries and provide company information to the market,’ says Joubert, who adds that while investors are a key audience they aren’t the only target.

‘Interim and annual reports take into consideration the needs of the investment community, financial media, and other public stakeholders so that they can fully understand the company.’

The knowledge required by the JSE’s own IR team is what the exchange’s Company Services team offers every JSE-listed company. The IR team’s Romy Foltan outlines this knowledge base as including a need to understand a large amount of regulatory and governance requirements, global and continental investment and capital markets as well as investor needs, risks and tolerances. This requires the IR department to be alert and in sync with current and ever-changing market trends. These are tasks that require an enormous amount of dialogue, listening to the investment community, and being able to interpret a number of stakeholders needs, so that a clear, concise message can be delivered to interested parties.

Apart from managing relations with investors and acting as the interface between shareholders and the company, a huge percentage of the IR role is focused on regular updates for the JSE’s executives and the Board; and ongoing feedback to the CEO and CFO, based on interactions with shareholders and analysts. ‘We also work closely with the finance team to ensure we meet reporting requirements, and the Company Secretariat to manage our compliance and listing requirements,’ says Foltan. ‘These are all determined in advance to ensure we meet our reporting mandates.’

Joubert adds that because IR is a fast-moving field, the exchange offers training to IR teams of companies listed on the JSE. ‘The JSE Investor Relations training programmes are useful to any corporation wanting to understand and convey its market value,’ she says.

‘Since July 2014 the JSE has trained over 62 companies, many of which fall within the Top 40. The decision to offer this training came from our own realisation of the importance of Investor Relations to a listed company. It’s key that companies have the tools to create IR strategies and skills to deliver messages that matter to investors, analysts and the media.’

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Company Services’ Carol Crozier emphasises that training is one of the most valued services her division provides. ‘We have partnered with world-class trainers to ensure we provide global best practice IR training. We run two sets of public training annually, each being very well received.

‘The training programmes offered are generic in terms of investor relations but industry-specific examples are also used to highlight key areas.’ The beauty of the training is that it can be adapted to suit any client’s specific needs. ‘This training is just as relevant to JSE staff as it is to JSE-listed companies, and we feel that C-Suite and IR professionals would gain real value from the course material,’ says Crozier.

Popular training courses currently on offer include the ABCs of investor relations; how to develop a compelling investment case for your company and target investors; understanding how analysts and investors use financial statements; IR and the CFO; and using SENS to tell investors what they want to know.

Of particular interest to new JSE-listed organisations as well as those considering a listing is training that will provide comprehensive knowledge for an understanding of the JSE listings requirements (and a refresher course of that); how to list; specific tool specialisations, such as ETF/ETN; structured products; the debt market (why and how to list debt securities); REIT and company property specific training. Social media has not been forgotten, and is specifically structured for public relations and brand custodians (among others) of organisations that are increasingly using social platforms to engage with an audience.

Overall, the JSE’s Investor Relations can help JSE-listed companies embrace best practices in their own investor relationship packages.

Find out more about training and/or venues by clicking on the links.

By Kerry Dimmer
Image: Gallo/Getty Images