Advice & IR Counsel
Merlin provides its clients with investor relations advice that reflects the specific needs and situation the client faces. Our advice can address every facet of investor relations and financial media strategy and delivery.
An effective investor communications programme is important because research has shown that, conducted well, investor relations can add up to 20% to a company’s valuation and conducted badly can penalise valuation by up to 10%.
At the heart of the advice Merlin provides is a strategy to deliver the best solution for the client. That solution can be expected to minimise any discount between a listed company’s share price and the valuation independently attributed by analysts.
Our advice will be based on what our deep knowledge and experience of the New Zealand market tells us is the most effective programme and set of communications for delivering a fair market valuation.
Our ownership reports provide our clients with the information to understand fully who owns and makes decisions over their shares. Understanding who owns a company’s stock, and why, provides the platform on which an investor relations programme is built. Our reports provide invaluable information when wanting to know the identity and total holdings of the leading decision makers on the register, when monitoring the underlying holdings behind market trading activity or when considering any corporate action. Tracking shareholder movements at any of these times provides critical intelligence for management, the Board and corporate advisers.
Media Relations & Training
Merlin assists and supports clients to proactively engage with financial and business media, securing ‘in depth’ coverage by the business media who follow your company and industry. We assist in the development of story opportunities around corporate announcements and events; facilitate engagement with influential commentators; and assist in profiling leadership teams and corporate activities through the generation of feature articles. We can assist in the development of stronger relationships with the media and more effective communication of the investment case by training those executives who engage with the media and investors.
Perception studies are an important part of strategic planning for the board and for management. They provide an accurate, unbiased means of gauging the views of existing and potential investors, broker research analysts and other key influencers. Regular and systematic measurement of investor sentiment forms a critical part of any company’s strategic investor relations programme. Our perception study addresses a series of critical questions in order to assess the level of investor confidence that the board and management enjoy:
*How is your company perceived by key financial market participants?
*What are the key drivers of investor sentiment towards your company?
*What actions can be taken to positively influence investor perception and valuation?
*Are there any areas where your company is vulnerable or there are value destroying misperceptions?
We deliver detailed feedback and conclusions together with actionable recommendations that provide a 1 – 2 year IR roadmap.
Good governance is essential for increasing the prospect of market outperformance and for ensuring shareholder confidence in the Board and management. We offer a range of advisory services to help NZX and dual listed companies and their Boards determine and document governance standards and practices including governance policies, benchmarking governance practices and implementation of ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Principles and Recommendations. We will also assist with implementing continuous disclosure programmes including in-house training and advise on engagement with shareholders and proxy advisers.
Drawing on our financial markets experience, knowledge of the New Zealand market, and wide and varied range of work with clients we can assist management and the Board to decipher the signals the market is sending. A programme based around identifying share ownership, monitoring broker forecasts, regular perception studies to tap key investor sentiment, benchmarking of communications practices against peers and active engagement with investors will ensure the key elements of a strong IR programme are in place and deliver the market intelligence available to management and the Board. With these elements in place and a recognised and ongoing commitment to IR, a company will be well placed to capture the 20% that a strong IR programme can add to a company’s valuation and minimise the potential for the 10% discount that may be applied when IR is conducted badly.