Westport, Conn. – June 17, 2020 – Rivel Research Group, the international, data-driven management consultancy, today announced topline findings from the latest in the firm’s series of global studies among senior investor communications executives. Between June 3 and June 11, over 400 interviews in North America and Europe were completed focusing on how the coronavirus pandemic may be transforming corporate outreach and engagement.
Rather than retreating from the unknown, corporate communicators have been stepping up their interactions with the investment community to help investors quantify the crisis’s impact on operations and reassure them of their company’s go-forward investment appeal. Messaging and communications methodologies are being profoundly affected. Virtual communications have quickly been adopted, upstaging decades of customary face-to-face, “handshake” interactions at industry conferences, non-deal roadshows and capital markets days.
For the time being, many companies have gone back to basics, stressing their financial strength and liquidity while earnings growth and strategic outlook are mired in uncertainty. Capital deployment plans have in many cases been adjusted in favor of building cash reserves (often at the expense of such popular initiatives as buybacks or dividend hikes). Moreover, nearly half of all companies in North America and Europe have either suspended forward-looking financial guidance for 2020 or announced more muted, less ambitious goals.
“I’m encouraged by how our study shows that investor communications executives have proactively sought to temper rash reactions by key stakeholder groups and help sustain shareholder loyalty,” said Brian Rivel, CEO of Rivel Research Group. “This is where IROs are really making a difference today.” Gene Rubin, President of Rivel, added, “We also cannot lose sight of the fact that while investors’ assumptions and expectations have been shaken, companies must keep their eyes on the big picture. As we head into the second half of 2020, investors will once again start looking at strategy and the capital allocation necessary to drive growth over the long term.”
Rivel helps companies improve valuation, mitigate risk and drive performance. Since 1991, the firm has been advising management teams and boards on how aligning attitudes and behaviors of key stakeholders (Employees, Customers and Shareholders) can make the difference between success and failure in their business. Each of these audiences poses unique opportunities and challenges. By understanding key decision drivers of each audience (through precise measurements) and acting on the information, companies ultimately are able to build better outcomes.
Barbara A. Sullivan
Chief Marketing Officer