Article

The Attributes of Top Investor Relations Consulting Firms: A Guide

September 12, 2022
6 min

Introduction

Investor relations consulting can be a vital aspect of any public company's success. It involves managing the communication between a company and its stakeholders, including shareholders, analysts, and sometimes, the media. The top investor relations consulting firms can help a company build trust and credibility with these stakeholders, which can ultimately drive up valuations.  A really good investor relations consulting firm will help management effectively tell their story so that any valuation discount that exists because the Street doesn’t understand the company will evaporate.

However, not all investor relations consulting firms are created equal. Some are better equipped than others to provide strategic guidance, execute effective communication strategies, and navigate the complexities of certain “sticky situations” like when activists are involved or when management loses credibility with the Street. In this article, we'll explore the attributes of some of the top investor relations consulting firms, so you can make an informed decision when selecting a partner for your company.

 

Expertise

One of the most crucial attributes of top investor relations consulting firms is their expertise. They should have a deep understanding of the industry, the market, and the regulatory landscape that affects your company. They should also have a track record of success in managing communication strategies for companies similar to yours.

Increasingly, companies are looking to hire investor relations consultants who are former investors and sell-side analysts, as these two groups often possess the financial acumen needed to really “dig into” the company’s financials while also understanding how investors think.  In really complex situations, companies even gravitate towards investors who were specialists in their industry because the jargon, KPIs, and analysts following their company are sometimes highly advanced and require a very bespoke investor relations solution.  The technology industry is one of these industries demanding highly specialized former investors to help them out on the IR side.

When selecting an investor relations consulting firm, ask them about their experience working with companies in your industry. Ask for case studies or references that demonstrate their expertise in managing complex challenges that are specific to your needs.  Just because a consultant has had a lot of experience or can list a lot of clients doesn’t mean they are an ideal partner for your specific need – so make sure you ask them how they would approach your specific issue.  

A truly exceptional investor relations consultant will come to your first meeting having identified some of the key issues you face and will also have some high-level recommendations for you.  Be wary of investor relations consultants who don’t do this work in advance.

Communication Skills

Another critical attribute of top investor relations consulting firms is strong communication skills. They should be able to craft compelling narratives that effectively communicate your company's vision, strategy, and value proposition to stakeholders.  A really good investor relations consultant will have read some of your earnings and presentation transcripts before your first meeting and will have identified certain areas where you can improve your messaging.

When evaluating investor relations consulting firms, pay attention to how they communicate with you. Are they clear and concise in their explanations? Do they listen actively and ask thoughtful questions? These are good indicators of their communication skills.

 

Strategic Thinking

Effective investor relations consulting requires strategic thinking. Top firms should be able to provide strategic guidance that aligns with your company's goals and objectives. They should also be able to analyze the changing market trends and proactively adjust communication strategies to address these dynamics.  

When evaluating investor relations consulting firms, ask them about their approach to strategy development. How do they gather market intelligence? How do they analyze data to inform their recommendations? What processes do they have in place to ensure that their recommendations align with your company's goals?  

 

Industry Knowledge

Investor relations consulting is a highly specialized field that requires a deep understanding of the industry and market dynamics that affect your company. Top firms should be knowledgeable about your industry, your competitors, and the trends that are shaping your market.

When evaluating investor relations consulting firms, ask them about their knowledge of your industry. What do they know about your competitors? What trends are they seeing in the market that could impact your company's performance? How do they stay informed about industry developments?

 

Creativity

Effective investor relations consulting requires creativity. Top firms should be able to think outside the box and develop innovative communication strategies that differentiate your company from its competitors.

 

Transparency

Transparency is a critical attribute of top investor relations consulting firms. They should be transparent about their fees, their process, and their recommendations. They should also be willing to provide regular updates on their progress and share feedback from stakeholders.

When selecting an investor relations consulting firm, ask them about their approach to transparency. How do they ensure that their fees are fair and transparent? How do they communicate progress and results to your company? What processes do they have in place to ensure that stakeholders have a voice in the communication strategy?  And when they talk to investors and the sell-side, who do they have doing that talking?  Is it the partner on your account or a young twenty-something that doesn’t carry the same gravitas with these stakeholders?

 

Responsiveness

Responsiveness is another important attribute of top investor relations consulting firms. They should be available to respond to inquiries and feedback from stakeholders in a timely and professional manner. They should also be proactive in identifying potential issues and addressing them before they become problems.

When evaluating investor relations consulting firms, ask them about their approach to responsiveness. How quickly do they respond to inquiries from stakeholders? How do they manage potential issues before they become problems? What processes do they have in place to ensure that they are responsive to your company's needs?  And importantly, how many clients do they take on at once?  Will you always be an important client to them or will you just be a number in a long list of clients they have.

 

Attributes of top investor relations consulting firms – final thoughts

Investor relations consulting is a critical component of any public company's success. Effective communication with stakeholders can build trust and credibility, maintain positive relationships, and ultimately increase a company's value in the market. When selecting an investor relations consulting firm, look for attributes such as expertise, communication skills, strategic thinking, industry knowledge, creativity, transparency, flexibility, and responsiveness. By partnering with a top investor relations consulting firm, your company can achieve its goals and thrive in today's dynamic market.

 

Share this post
September 12, 2022