Paresh Bhanderi recently joined Andrew Lindsay at Antofagasta and has already been instrumental in the IR function and has been out exploring the Group operations in Chile. With a background in Investor Relations, Corporate Finance and Corporate Development, Paresh has made the interesting jump from a Business Development role to a FTSE 100 in-house IR role.
We recently caught up with Paresh to find out how the new role was going at Antofagasta.
How have your first couple of months at Antofagasta been?
The first couple of months have been really hectic, I often feel like I’m drinking water out of a fire hose! I joined the company mid reporting cycle and we also had a few other programs running at the same time like conferences and roadshows which has made things more interesting. I wouldn’t have it any other way though; getting stuck in from day one is the best way to start. There has been a lot to learn, both in terms of company and Chile which has been quite fascinating. I have been meeting lots of different people within Antofagasta and investors and analysts all across the world and found their perspectives very interesting.
What has the transition been like from more hybrid roles to a pure IR role?
The transition has not been challenging at all, if anything the other roles have made this transition a lot easier. Last year I worked in an operations role, and after having done that role I know how difficult it is and have an appreciation of what operations are like. When you are interacting with operational teams it makes it easier to know what they are going through, what challenges they are facing. You use that experience to help set realistic and achievable expectations and goals, so working in collaboration will be a lot more pleasant. This in turn will make your job easier!
How have you found working for a UK listed company where the majority of its operations are abroad?
The UK and more specifically London is an ideal place for an international company like Antofagasta to be listed, as London is not only a global capital market but also one of the largest cities in the world. As a consequence, this also makes it a great place to work as an IRO as you are constantly interacting with people across the world, with different backgrounds and experiences. From an operations stand point it can be challenging at times but you quickly learn to adapt and evolve, so it’s not a hindrance at all. All the teams are terrific at communicating with us, often times you forget just how far you are from each other.
What do you think makes a good IRO?
I think the two most important skills are communication and the ability to forge relationships with those around you. Forging diverse relationships helps you understand what is going on with the business, the industry and the market. Excellent communication skills help you position those milestones and themes to the market and other stakeholders. This flow of information is what a good IRO needs to manage and both skills are critical to that. The best IRO’s ensure that the company and its investment case are well understood externally but also that the perspectives of investors and analysts are well understood internally.
What are your plans for the role?
I have been very fortunate as the investor relations program at Antofagasta has been quite robust and I am not re-inventing the wheel. The company has a long tradition in the UK market and is well known with investors and analysts; this makes the investor relations program that much easier to manage.
One of the areas that I would like to raise to a new level of sophistication is our investor targeting approach.
We want to refine our framework to target specific investors that we want as our shareholders. Over the next few years we would like to be more strategic and tactical around bringing on new shareholders on to our register. Part of this strategy also involves broadening the positions of our existing shareholders especially in comparison to our peers.