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How the best made it in IR

EMR were proud to sponsor the Best Newcomer to Investor Relations award for the fifth year running at the Investor Relations Society Best Practice Awards. The IR Society recognised those companies and individuals that are leading the way in engaging with the capital markets, building trust and strengthening corporate reputation. Muksheeda Boodhooa, Senior Consultant at EMR presented David Phillips, Head of IR at Hays plc with the award. We spoke to him and the runners up about how they entered the world of IR and what they have achieved so far.

Best Newcomer to IR Winner – David Phillips, Head of IR at Hays plc.

What was your background before moving into IR, and why did you make the transition?

I have worked as an Accountant (1996-99), a Fund Manager (1999-2006) and an Analyst / Stockbroker (2006-2017). But I have always wanted to see how a business operates close up and work in a Corporate, and IR is the perfect role to do this. The timing, team and opportunity with Hays was perfect.

What do you feel has been your most significant contribution to your IR role so far?

I think I bring a high degree of practicality to the IR job, and having been an investor myself I know the value of clear, honest communications. Hays already has a strong IR platform , but I think we have made improvements in the clarity of our quarterly reporting, the way our Annual report/website explains our business and the ways we target our trips overseas to meet prospective investors.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for this award?

Naturally I am delighted to be nominated for the award, and to have joined an industry with great forward momentum.

Runner up – Phillip Lindsay, Director Investor Relations Europe at TechnipFMC

What was your background before moving into IR, and why did you make the transition?

I had spent the majority of my career in sell side research – Credit Suisse most recently (before that HSBC, RBS, ABN AMRO). The last ten years I specialised in the oilfield equipment and services sector, which included coverage of TechnipFMC. TechnipFMC is a new company resulting from the merger between Technip (of France) and FMC (of the US) in January 2017. I was the only London-based analyst that had experience of covering both legacy companies. I had huge admiration for TechnipFMC; the management team, the technology and the strategy, driving much needed change in the oil & gas industry. I viewed TechnipFMC as a highly accomplished player in the market with an exciting future and I wanted to be part of that. I believed that I could make a real difference to the company from an IR perspective, and my background would enable me to get up and running quickly. I considered IR to be an attractive career progression from sell-side research. 


What do you feel has been your greatest/most significant contribution to your IR role so far?

I have successfully established the European arm of the TechnipFMC IR function. Building trust with the investment community - strong relationships formed with key sell-side / buy-side players. Understanding the key issues – providing management with market Intelligence and key investor pushback on our equity story. Playing a key role in preparation for earnings and investor conferences – script writing, slide preparation, financial analysis and Q&A prep. I have enjoyed being part of Successful and highly targeted self-organised investor roadshows in London and other locations.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for this award?

I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled to be nominated for best newcomer only one year into my new career. My understanding is that the IR Society awards are the most prestigious in the U.K. It’s been an amazing year; not only have I learned a great deal from an amazing management team and highly innovative company, I have also learned a lot of new skills as I make the transition from research analyst to investor relations - this nominations is the icing on the cake.

Runner up – Jennifer Ramsey, Head of Investor Relations at Rolls Royce plc

What was your background before moving into IR, and why did you make the transition? 

Prior to joining Rolls-Royce as Head of Investor Relations, I worked as an equity fund manager in London and New York for almost 20 years for Sarasin & Partners, TRW Investment Management and JP Morgan Private Bank. Previously I was a Chartered Civil Engineer specialising Earthquake Engineering at Ove Arup. I obtained my MBA from London Business School in 1998 and I became a CFA Charterholder in 2002. I have a degree in Civil Engineering and a masters in Soil Mechanics and Earthquake Engineering both from Imperial College, London. I decided to make the transition as the opportunity offered a new challenge, a chance to learn something new, to take me out of my comfort zone and to do something that I thought I would enjoy doing.

What do you feel has been your greatest/most significant contribution to your IR role so far?

Opportunity to shape the investment message as the company restructures. I have invested in many turn-around stories, this was a chance to be part of the change.  When I interviewed for the job, I was very clear on the reasons why I had never invested in Rolls-Royce and Stephen and Warren were clear that those reasons were changing. We had made significant progress on co-ordinating a coherent message across all Rolls-Royce stakeholders and increasing our transparency for our shareholder and as an investor for 19 years I was uniquely placed to understand the importance of expectations and delivery in building trust.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for this award?

It is an honour to be recognised as one of the best new comers in the IR industry over the period and justifies the career move I made a year ago

Runner up – Matthew Kay, Director of Investor Relations at InterContinental Hotels Group

What was your background before moving into IR, and why did you make the transition?

I have been with IHG for over six years, working in different finance roles around the business. Most recently I was on the commercial side, working with our brand and marketing organisations. I had always thought IR jobs were interesting and challenging, and when an opportunity came up to join the team, I jumped at the chance. 

What do you feel has been your greatest/most significant contribution to your IR role so far?

It has been a busy year, and the learning curve has been pretty steep! Some changes to the team meant there was an opportunity to get promoted to a more senior role, and I have taken on more responsibility and have a more visible presence as a result. I feel that being able to get up to speed quickly and lead results preparation and investor meetings has helped anchor the team and provide a degree of continuity throughout the year.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for this award?

This nomination was entirely unexpected and so came as a lovely surprise. It is always a good feeling to get external validation of your work – a sign that you are doing something right at least! It would not have happened without the support and guidance I have had from others in the team.


Runner up – Ryan Thompson, Investor Relations and Communications Manager at Hiscox Insurance

What was your background before moving into IR, and why did you make the transition?

After graduating in politics I worked for a financial communications consultancy in my hometown (Sydney, Australia), advising clients from a range of sectors, including mining and natural resources, financial services, private equity and even retail. From very early on I worked on M&A transactions, capital raisings and number of IPOs, which stoked my interest in the financial markets further. After re-locating to London in 2015, I was lucky enough to land a role in the excellent communications team at Hiscox, responsible for financial reporting and media relations, as well as some interface with the sell-side. When the opportunity arose to progress into an Investor Relations Manager job, I was delighted to step up. I’ve been in the role for more than a year now, and they haven’t sacked me yet!

What do you feel has been your greatest/most significant contribution to your IR role so far? 

At Hiscox, IR has traditionally been the domain of the CFO, so the establishment of a formalised IR function is probably my most significant contribution. Investors and analysts have responded very well to having increased access to the company, and it has been a steep, but enjoyable learning curve for me personally.

What does it mean to you to be nominated for this award?

It’s obviously humbling to be nominated by colleagues in the industry, particularly as I still regard myself very much as ‘the new guy’, but I’m very grateful for the recognition. 

For our latest IR jobs click here

 

 

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