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IR Society Best Practice Awards

14/12/2015

The IR Society’s flagship Best Practice Awards, have influenced many developments in investor relations practice over the years and are a much prized recognition of best in class performance. This year’s annual awards presentation ceremony took place on Tuesday 24 November at the Tower of London.

At EMR, we were delighted to sponsor the award for ‘Best Newcomer’ for the third year running at the IR Society dinner. This award recognises excellence in newcomers to the industry, and offers wonderful insight in to the diverse range of backgrounds of entrants to IR.

We caught up with some of the nominees to discuss their experience to date, as well as the Award winner Adam Phillips from Halfords. Here’s what they had to say:

Adam Phillips, Halfords Group - WINNER

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

I moved from a more mainstream finance role - I had previously headed up the financial planning team. My career started at KPMG where I trained to be a Chartered Accountant. After 7 years I moved into "industry" working in business partnering and commercial finance roles at Molson Coors (the brewers of Carling, Cobra, etc.) and then Halfords. I made the transition to Investor Relations because the previous Head of IR announced he was leaving and the CFO asked if I fancied having a go! I knew little about it but was up for the challenge.

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

When I took the role it was a new approach for Halfords to hire someone who wasn't an experienced IR professional. For my first 11 months in the role I've had a change in CEO and CFO, an unscheduled trading update and the launch of a new strategy - but all of that in itself is just part of the job. The specific thing that I think has been my greatest contribution to the IR role here at Halfords has been to do all of that whilst endeavouring to simplify it and make it as straight-forward as possible. I see two benefits from that: 1) it makes IR more accessible and understandable within a listed company, rather than being seen as this complicated other world and 2) it hopefully provides a legacy that it is possible and indeed encouraged for people to move from mainstream finance into IR. The skills and knowledge learned are invaluable and I would heartily recommend anyone to grab any opportunity to gain some experience in IR, whether they see it as a career for life or as a short-term development opportunity.

Stuart Hunt, BTG

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

I made the move from corporate broking. I really enjoyed advising a range of companies on their interaction with the equity markets but always wanted to spend more time on each one and felt I’d rather be making the decisions than offering the advice. Working in-house has allowed me to get really under the skin of the company, understand what makes it successful and make a tangible difference.

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

My markets experience (before corporate broking, I worked in equity sales) has been a real help, be it on investor targeting, results drafting or engaging with analysts. Since arriving at BTG, I’ve organised our first ever capital markets day, initiated our ADR programme and we’re going to start publishing analyst consensus numbers on our recently refreshed website.

Mark Reynolds, Dixons Carphone

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

I am a qualified accountant and was previously Head of Financial Planning and Analysis at The Carphone Warehouse Group. One element of that role was in developing the external equity story for the Investor Relations team to disseminate to the markets, and I had for some time wanted to work more closely in this area Earlier this year my predecessor went on maternity leave and I was asked to step in, for a year's secondment at first, to the IR team. Subsequently, she has decided not to return and I am in the process of taking the position permanently.

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

Perhaps one for others to judge! But my three main focus areas were (1) being aligned to the CEO/CFO on our message (2) developing open and clear relationships with the sell side analysts (3) being on top of consensus numbers.