IR Society webinar: Reporting and Stakeholder Communications

Tuesday 7 April 12.30-13.30

During this period of considerable uncertainty and beyond, effective communication with stakeholders is more important than ever. This webinar will provide you with comprehensive and interactive advice and practical tips from our panel of experts on regulatory developments and broader issues to consider for your reporting, including annual report preparation, and AGM planning in light of Covid-19. We will also be discussing annual reporting for your next year-end cycle and how current events are likely to influence the planning process and narrative.

  • Moderator: Kate Heseltine, Head of Policy & Communications, IR Society 
  • Speaker: Sean Bride, Senior Investor Engagement Consultant, Radley Yeldar 
  • Hannah Boore, Senior Manager – Corporate Reporting, Investor Relations, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Susan Swabey, Company Secretary, Smith & Nephew
  • Phil Fitz-Gerald, Director, FRC Financial Reporting Lab

Reporting and stakeholder communication
We have seen a cycle of stakeholder engagement with focus on relations at the expense of resources. Ongoing rise of purpose and partial realignment in governance reporting.

Lots of changes but key principles remain the same. It is advised to frame your own report using your own business model. Do not expect the reader to go through the entire report but establish strong navigation. In the 2020/21 reporting investor focus will be on the new stewardship code and the corporate reporting should be supporting this in addition to ESG with wider adoption of TCFD. Is the company purpose, culture and diversity clearly communicated? The next three reports are likely to have a much broader audience – adapt your reporting to be reset by covid-19 with clear stakeholder communication and handling of KPI’s of the crisis. Be realistic in your targets and strategies.

Culture and purpose, stakeholders and other challenges
Renumeration will get a lot of attention; so consider if there are multiple cultures across the business including what is the link between the cultures, stakeholder engagement: has that been communicated in the reporting and how? How do purpose and culture support each other? This can be identified through surveys and perception studies: care, collaboration and courage.

Consider driving your content into messaging targeted to specific stakeholders. Evolution of reporting not revolution:  Be clear on what has remained consistent, key developments and future focus. Offer insight into what the business considers the important stakeholder interests. Strategic areas, governance and compliance in focus. Clear and concise reporting of group strategy and direction.

Really important times to be thinking about your communications due to the uncertain times. The regulators quickly recognized the difficult times for the companies and allowed extra time to prepare their financial statements (+ suspension of guidance in DK). Investors mainly seek information in
1. How much cash does the company have – provide helpful disclosure on capital, liquidity
2. What cash and liquidity could the company obtain in the short term?
3. What can the company do to manage expenditure in the short term?
4. What other actions can the company take to

Climate-related reporting and workforce-related reporting should be addressed, investors are looking for insights, data is important with increasing calls for quantitative information.