Back in the 19th century, we Danes held the misconception that we were a superpower, but first Lord Nelson and later the German chancellor, Bismarck, taught us that those days were long gone, and our nation shrunk considerably. Instead we learned that though small geographically, we could still prosper through international cooperation and export. Ever since, the Danish economy has been open and mainly aimed at addressing foreign demand for high-quality products. That also goes for our Investor Relations.
The Danish Investor Relations Society (DIRF) was established by IR-officers, financial and communications executives in 1988. The objective was and still is to promote communication between listed companies and their investors – in Denmark and abroad – thereby increasing investor interest in Danish shares and corporate bonds. DIRF represents some 270 members from approximately 100 companies – of which many are globally known like Novo, Carlsberg and ISS World Services. Members are primarily listed on one of the Nasdaq Copenhagen exchanges and represent about 95 percent of the Danish total market cap. In addition, also service providers and advisors working with financial communications are represented along with a few companies listed in Sweden and Norway.
DIRF’s network seeks to meet its objectives by arranging meetings and conferences dealing with current IR-topics affecting the day-to-day tasks of IR-professionals. In September DIRF celebrated its 30th anniversary with a very well-attended annual conference DIRFdagen 2018 – How to navigate new waters (cf. https://dirf.dk/dirfdagen/ for programme, speakers etc). In many ways, IR must deal with a changing landscape these years, and DIRF’s annual conference had some of the most predominant themes and discussion on their consequences on the agenda:
- ESG-related communication is gaining momentum and traction among investors and companies. However, there is still a relatively large divergence on both sides in terms of focus and view of importance. IR plays a central role in closing any gaps between investor needs and requests and presenting the corporate value of relevant ESG initiatives.
- Good IR supports fair valuation. Seen with investor eyes good IR is open and straight talk, honest guidance and expectations management and not least a balanced approach to C-suite access.
- Setting the scene for the presentation to investors of a major strategic change to investors. IR plays a key role in working closely with management to align expectations and messages – and in communicating steps in the process.
- MIFID II is a challenge for both issuers and investors. The new payment models for research and corporate access will affect small corporates in particular and force IR to find more alternative ways to ensure a high level of investor communication.
To keep up-to date and to service our internationally-minded members, DIRF cooperates with the most professional IR associations such as IR Society, DIRK in Germany, and NIRI for inspiration and input on the latest IR-trends globally.
By Tina Høilund Pedersen, DIRF