IRPAS Newsletter: August 2015

President’s Address

Greetings, members and friends.

As we approach the mid-point of Q3 2015, I am pleased to present you with our fourth newsletter for the year to keep you up-to-date on recent news and happenings within the Association and the IR industry.

Review of July and August 2015

The past two months have been eventful for IRPAS. We partnered Goldman Sachs for their annual Investor Relations Forum in July, and in August we had a lunchtime session with BNY Mellon and Ipreo on “Emerging IR Trends and Targeting methodology”. We have also successfully launched a second sitting for the International Certificate in Investor Relations (ICIR) which is scheduled for November.

Board Changes

The IRPAS Board of Directors have undergone some changes since the beginning of this year:

Lawrence Wong, Head of Listings, Singapore Exchange has resigned as a Director following his appointment as head of SGX’s China business. Mr. Wong has been a great asset to the Board, and the Association have benefited greatly from his counsel and network since his appointment. We are saddened by his departure and he leaves with our very best wishes.

Meng Fanqiu, CEO/ Executive Director, China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation, has joined the Board as a Director. Mr. Meng is also President at the China Enterprise Association (Singapore), an association committed to the development of Chinese enterprises in Singapore.

Mita Natarajan, Senior Vice President, Head of Corporate Services, Listings, Singapore Exchange, has joined the Board as Director. Ms. Natarajan holds a portfolio of corporate services, strategy, business development and M&A in SGX and her career also includes sales and marketing roles with global corporations in Asia and the U.S.

I am confident that the wealth of experience brought in by the new Directors will be a positive contribution to IRPAS, and the Board remains committed to IRPAS’ goal of championing IR best practices, enhancing professional competencies and elevating the overall standard of the IR profession in Singapore.

Goldman Sachs 2nd Annual Investor Relations Forum

On 3rd July, IRPAS partnered Goldman Sachs for their 2nd Annual Investor Relations Forum. The event attracted IR professionals from over 50 companies across Asia, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to catch up with some of you at the event. I hope you have found the learnings from the sessions helpful in your area of work, just as much as I did. Some key insights are summarised below:

GS Sustain: Issues Concerning Long-term Investors in a Hyper-Competitive World by Warwick Simons, Executive Director, GS Sustain, Goldman Sachs

  • Long-term investing requires one to go beyond financial metrics to see what is critical to the industry. As such, investors’ demands on governance and risk management are on the rise
  • Companies need to know about social media and how to engage on it as smartphones are becoming “weapons of mass dissemination” which raise the risk for all involved
  • Investors welcome a genuine debate, but Asian firms lag behind global peers in engagement
  • Actions to attract long-term investors:
    • Excellent financial performance
    • Clear view on competitive strength
    • Engage with governance, social and environmental risk

Managing Communications – Lessons from the Front Line

Speakers: Mark Wong (Executive Director, Lippo Karawaci); Will Carnwath (Partner, Brunswick); Patrick Tiah (Executive Director, Goldman Sachs); Edward Naylor (Head of Comms, Goldman Sachs)

  • Investors put more weight on information and facts from the company in today’s market where there is an information overload
  • On short-seller reports:
    • Investors are frustrated with short-seller reports, as they are strongly worded, biased and not balanced
    • Originators of these reports are not subjected to the same standards as analysts
    • The media has a tendency to sensationalise reports
  • On dealing with short-selling episodes:
    • Preparation is key for crises as it is hard to make friends in this situation
      • Prepare spokesperson(s) and have statistics ready on hand
      • Have a third party to speak on the company’s behalf to help build a compelling case
      • Be the “source of true facts”
      • Have a decision structure in place which includes a lawyer and Head of Finance
  • On social media:
    • Companies need to understand the function of social media and use it appropriately
    • In a crisis, social media is used to get the initial warning signs as most crisis break on social media
    • Companies should use its website as a central depositary for information during a crisis and use social media, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to direct traffic to it

Views from the Buy-side

Speakers: Jalil Rasheed (CIO, Invesco); Kelvin Teo (Portfolio Manager, UBS AM); Sandeep Dhingra (CIO, Ashiana); Michael Chandler (Managing Director, Goldman Sachs)

  • The buy-side focuses on the company’s IR culture, and the IRO’s position within the company is a key indicator for investors to know how it values its investor relations
  • The buy-side does a lot of its homework before meeting the company, and during the meeting it looks out for:
    • Company’s corporate governance, such as board independence
    • Management’s remuneration and performance metrics
    • Company’s operations
  • Fund managers are usually not industry specialists and rely on IR to explain the company, the industry and dynamics
  • As best practice, IROs should:
    • Have sound understanding of the company and the fund manager’s intention,
    • Be open to investors, even hedge funds
    • Be honest
    • Have a consistent message

IRPAS Event “Emerging IR Trends and Targeting methodology”

On 18th August, IRPAS held a lunchtime session with BNY Mellon and IPREO on emerging IR trends in Southeast Asia and the latest financial targeting methodology. The insightful session was particularly beneficial for IROs to keep abreast of the latest developments in the IR industry, and achieve better returns on their IR and stakeholder engagement efforts.

We were pleased to have Herston Elton Powers of BNY Mellon share insights into how companies can leverage on the issuance of depositary receipts, and effective IR strategies in light of ESG reporting and investing to stay ahead of the competition; and Robert Romanow of IPREO speak about the importance of being proactive when engaging in investor targeting. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring:

  • Aaron Low, Principal, Lumen Advisors
  • Herston Elton Powers, Head of Southeast Asia and Senior IR Specialist, BNY Mellon Depositary Receipts
  • Philip Levinson, CEO, Cambridge Industrial Trust Management
  • Justin Reynolds, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, IPREO
  • Robert Romanov, Associate, Analytical Services and Investor Targeting, IPREO

Key Insights

  • There is an increasing focus on KPI and IR benchmarks by management, and ESG investing is becoming mainstream.
  • There is the need to include information on the larger environment when reporting in order to provide investors with a holistic view of the company.
  • Corporate access should remain independent from the sell-side, where companies retain the ability to control and target the investors that it wants to meet.
  • There are various conferencing technologies that can be used to engage potential investors, but they should not replace face-to-face meetings as research has shown that many investors would not invest in a company without first having face-time with management.

Newsletter - Emerging IR Trends and Targeting methodology

International Certificate in Investor Relations 2015

We are heartened by the continued strong interest in the ICIR examination. As such, we are pleased to announce a second seating for the ICIR 2015 on Saturday, 28 November at SGX Centre. We would highly encourage our members to take the examination as it provides a good foundation for those entering the IR profession and is a valuable benchmark for existing IROs.

If you are interested in sitting for the next exam, or know of anyone who may be interested, please register by emailing by 28 September. For more details, please visit the IRPAS website here.

Upcoming Events

Looking forward, we have a number of events in the pipeline. We are partnering with CIMA and the IIRC on an <Integrated Reporting> Roundtable on 2nd September, and NIRI on their Investor Relations Wisdom Roadshow 2015 on 7th October, as well as a number of other initiatives in the pipeline. We have sent out the event details to our members and will be emailing a reminder closer to the time.  I look forward to our continued learning journey with you at these upcoming events.

IRPAS has also been invited to speak at an IR seminar for IR professionals across the Ayala group in Manila in October. I will be presenting on IR trends, the equity markets and engagement with the buy/sell side at the seminar, where I will be joined by our Secretariat, Tulchan Communication’s Senior Partner, Angela Campbell-Noë, who will discuss international IR best practice, messaging strategy, development of an IR plan, and the importance of communications and media engagement to IR. Dr. David Smith, Head of Corporate Governance, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia and Sin Yang Fong, VP, Group Investor Relations & Communications, Singtel will also be joining us at the event to share insights from the buy-side perspective and on industry best practice.

Featured IR Articles from Partners

We are pleased to bring to you each month specially curated articles kindly sponsored by IR Magazine (, the leading publication for IR professionals covering all areas of investor relations from a global perspective. The articles are attached for your reading pleasure.

  • Harold Woo: my IR journeyIR Magazine
    The head of IR at CapitaLand describes joining the profession, riding out the financial crisis and the impact of IR on strategy

In addition, we are also delighted to partner with IPREO (, a leader in the provision of market intelligence tools, real-time analysis and advice on the capital markets to investor relations professionals throughout the world, to share articles of interest from their BetterIR publication.

Board Diversity in Singapore

ISS examines the latest statistics around women on Boards as well as recommendations from the Diversity Task Force and subsequent formation of a Diversity Action Committee. The article is attached for your reading pleasure.

New Members

Last but not least, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to our new members who has joined the IRPAS family since our last newsletter:

Corporate Members:

  • China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation Ltd
  • DBS Group Holdings
  • Del Monte Pacific Ltd
  • Olam International Limited

Supporting Member:

  • Spurwing Communications Pte Ltd

Individual Members:

  • Chin Kaiying
  • Cassandra Seet
  • Ma Kin Hoong

We Want You!

Our events are most valuable when we have contributions from our fellow IROs and as we look to planning events we would like to call for volunteer IROs to speak to IRPAS members on their learnings and experiences. If you or anyone you know is keen to share experiences and insights with fellow IROs, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Secretariat at for a discussion.

If you are still not an IRPAS member but would like to benefit from our offering and be part of an illustrious network of fellow IR practitioners and experts, please sign up for an IRPAS membership here or contact the Secretariat at

FREE IR MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION IF YOU REFER 3 FRIENDS. We are pleased to offer members a free one-year IR Magazine standard subscription worth US$475 per annum if you successfully refer three* corporates/individuals to sign up as IRPAS members.

*Referrals need to be unique entities i.e. different organisations/individuals.

In Conclusion

As we move through Q3 2015 , we continue to work closely  with our members and partners to plan IRPAS activities, which I hope are beneficial to your work as an IRO, and I look forward to your continued active participation. Do visit our website regularly for more updates and information.

Till next time and I look forward to seeing you soon.

Best wishes,
Harold Woo
25 August 2015