30 November 2021

FIRST Edition in 2021

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communication and Media Adviser.


2021 is drawing to a close with a sense of COVID-19 déjà vu.

In late 2020 a new COVID variant, labelled Delta, was first identified in India. The Delta variant is characterised by mutations to the ‘spike protein’ which make it highly transmissible. The Delta variant is thought to have been partly responsible for India’s deadly second wave of COVID in February 2021 and, later on, Delta contributed to a third wave in Fiji, the United Kingdom and South Africa. By late July, it had also driven an increase in daily infections in parts of Asia, the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Fast forward to late 2021 and a new COVID variant labelled Omicron has emerged out of South Africa. The Omicron variant is characterised by mutations to the ‘spike protein’ and has been classified by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern. It is far too early for a meaningful analysis of the impact of Omicron, but we are already seeing governments across the globe tightening up COVID restrictions with many countries, including Australia, closing their international borders.

An Olympian effort to glimpse a new normal

In amidst the COVID gloom and doom there have been bright moments, Australia’s Olympians and Para Olympians delivered one of the most successful Olympics ever by Australia’s teams to inspire the nation. There was controversy as Australia abandoned a $9 billion French submarine contract. And alongside the seismic shifts in Australia’s geo-political relationships, in September, there was an actual 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the Mansfield area of north-eastern Victoria.

And while COVID continues to influence all aspects of life its notable impacts in the Investor Relations space include the eery quiet amongst mainstream activist investors throughout 2021 while the IPO market has been running hot all year. Some reports suggest the number of listings by the end of the year could hit close to 250, just shy of the all-time record of 251 in 2007, at the peak of the bull market prior to the GFC (you have been warned!).

Key IR themes during 2021

An analysis of FIRST Advisers newsletter content reveals that while our coverage of the IPO market in articles such as The IPO Market in 2021 generated significant views it was blog posts that focused on effective engagement with shareholders; gaining an understanding of what investors were thinking and the value of expert advice that topped the viewing statistics.

The single most clicked on article in 2021 was Virtual AGMs, which was published last September in the lead up to AGM season. The blog mapped out the key regulatory changes around online virtual AGMs which included a requirement to allow virtual attendees at an AGM to ask a question orally. While timing clearly helped drive views of this article there was also a desire to understand how best to engage with shareholders during COVID.

Our Perception studies to supercharge investor relations article in October took second place for total views. This blog focused on perception research as one the most effective ways to gain an understanding of whether a listed company’s story is being heard, understood and valued by investors.

Expert advice remains highly valued

The third most viewed individual blog post focused on the value of well credentialed advice, backed by deep expertise and experience. It was our celebration in August of FIRST Advisers’ Executive Director, Victoria Geddes, being amongst the inaugural recipients of an Australasian Investor Relations Association (AIRA) Certified Investor Relations Officer (CIRO) designation. Industry accreditation is something we have long supported in order to help companies who are seeking support identify IR firms and individuals who have deep experience in the field and are committed the development of IR as a discipline.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is a clear reminder there remains a great deal of uncertainty around what a new COVID normal could look like. The viewing trends for FIRST Advisers’ newsletters are a good reminder that expert advice that gives rise to valuable industry insights and is backed by a broad set of tools for engaging with investors, adds a lot of value to a company’s IR function. As an integrated IR agency we strive to deliver this to our clients every day and thank them for the trust they place in us to help navigate uncertainty, communicate effectively and, most importantly, build a supportive shareholder base.

29 November 2018

AIRA 2018: The FIRST Advisers panel discussion on What Drives Activism in Australia

Valuable Advice for Companies from Successful Activists FIRST Advisers hosted the ‘What Drives Activism?’ panel discussion at the AIRA 2018 Annual Conference held in Sydney on the 23rd of November. While the video of the Conference, including this panel session, can be accessed here, there were a number of interesting takeouts from the discussion that […]

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1 November 2018

Has Activism Peaked or is it regrouping

Victoria Geddes, Executive Director Activism in Australia has some characteristics that are different to other countries around the world. We examine the make-up of activist campaigns in Australia compared to the global average and unpick some of the recent trends to see if there is a pattern emerging. This article is an extract from a paper […]

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8 December 2017

FIRST Advisers at AIRA 2017 Annual Conference & Best Practice Investor Relations Awards

FIRST Advisers was an event sponsor at the AIRA 2017 Annual Conference and Best Practice IR Awards held in Sydney in late November. FIRST Advisers contribution included moderating a Crisis management panel discussion on managing breaches to cybersecurity and sponsoring the Award for Best Investor Relations by a Company in the ASX “Mid-cap 100”. Opening […]

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