28 October 2021


BEN REBBECK, Founding Director

Why you need to understand perceptions of your company

The substantial resources, including staffing, technology, printing, advisers and senior management time that most companies devote to investor relations are unfortunately not unlimited. It’s therefore crucial that these scarce resources are utilised as efficiently as possible with the best IR outcomes for the company. Goal setting, strategy formulation and results measurement are fundamental to ensuring the effectiveness of the IR program.

One of the best ways to understand whether your story is being heard, understood and valued by investors is through perception research – a powerful tool for supercharging your investor relations effort.

What is perception research?

The best form of perception research is a comprehensive assessment of how your company is perceived by institutional investors and broking analysts, offshore and domestically, involving interviews conducted over a 1-3 week period in a structured format.

However, it can also be a lot simpler and less formal. For example, straw poll feedback following a major investor relations event can provide rapid and useful insights on how the event was received and if the message got through.

Five reasons every company should undertake perception research

  1. Get honest feedback, as outsiders see the company and appreciate how it stacks up against peers and the wider market.
  2. Identify issues in market perceptions and address them before they become a major problem for the way your company is valued.
  3. Refine messages and disclosure to ensure the story is being heard, understood and the assets appropriately valued.
  4. Direct your market engagement activities to ensure maximum return on effort from roadshows and meetings.
  5. Measure the effectiveness of your IR program, refine your goals and strategy to maximise the impact on shareholder value.

Five questions a perception report can answer

  1. Is your corporate strategy understood and considered appropriate?
  2. What does the market see as your operational strengths and weaknesses?
  3. How effective are your presentations and reports?
  4. What are the hot button issues and performance expectations?
  5. How are you perceived relative to peers?

Five essential ingredients for top quality perception research

Not all perception research was created equal. The right interviewer needs to ask the right questions to the right people. And you need to be prepared to listen.

  1. Perception research should be undertaken by an unbiased, independent third party. Effective perception research should cut through the ‘sugar coated’ interactions many CEOs and CFOs have with investors and brokers, which are good for building relationships but don’t always provide the feedback leaders really need or want to hear.
  2. Perception research should gather both quantitative and qualitative feedback. Quantitative ratings scales can be really useful for measuring certain aspects and illustrating data graphically but it will miss the granular detail and nuance that qualitative information provides.
  3. Perception research should seek as broad a view of the company as possible, with feedback gathered through interviews of current and past investors (domestic and international), broking analysts and other key opinion influencers, which, may include equities sales traders, media and market commentators.
  4. The interviewer needs to know the story, understand the company and be able to speak the language of the market to ensure respondents are fully engaged in the process and their feedback is heard, understood and appropriately reflected in the perception report.
  5. The tough questions need to be asked and you need to be prepared to hear the answers you may not want to hear. To receive full benefit from the process you need to be open to honest feedback that may challenge the way you see your company.
30 April 2021

Proxy Advisors in a time of COVID

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communication and Media Advisor The Coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the world, we canvassed the three main Proxy Advisory firms operating in Australia Ownership Matters, CGI Glass Lewis and ISS to get a sense of what impact corporate and government responses to the pandemic has had on governance and their voting recommendations. Widening […]

Read More
30 March 2021

How fair is your SPP?

ANNA FUGLESTAD, SHAREHOLDER ENGAGEMENT Over the past year as companies have taken advantage of buoyant equities market and COVID related exemptions to undertake capital raisings, retail shareholders have jumped on the opportunity to increasing their holdings through Share Purchase Plans. FIRST Advisers recently analyzed all Share Purchase Plans that occurred between March 2020 and February […]

Read More
31 January 2021

Fink doubles down on climate

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communication and Media Advisor Restating that climate risk is investment risk, Larry Fink, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Blackrock, the world’s biggest and arguably most powerful investor, is calling for companies to share their plans for the transition to a net zero economy in his annual letter to CEOs. Mr Fink […]

Read More
30 July 2020

Assessment of Virtual AGMs — Must try harder!

BEN REBBECK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR As the repercussions of the COVID pandemic started to impact the corporate sector ASIC, the Australian corporate regulator, following advice and prompting from their foreign counterparts, allowed Australian listed companies to hold fully virtual Annual General Meetings. ASIC’s pathway to enable virtual AGMs, as they were the first to admit, was […]

Read More
28 May 2020

Designs on Annual Reporting

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communications. It is time to think about Annual Reports and then to think again. While an Annual Report must include content required by the Corporations Act and the ASX listing rules,that doesn’t mean we should limit our thinking to just meeting that objective. It is right and proper for the compulsory materials, […]

Read More
28 March 2019

Purpose for the Board

GILES RAFFERTY, Corporate Communications and Media Advisor A listed company’s Purpose is now, very much, a matter for Board consideration. The latest edition of the ASX’s Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations makes it clear the Board is responsible for linking a company’s Purpose to its strategic goals. Principle 3 states a listed entity should instil a […]

Read More
4 March 2019

Cybersecurity: reported data breaches surge almost 700% in 2018

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Federal Government’s Notifiable Data Breach (NDB) scheme, the headlines focused on cybersecurity breaches seem to be coming thick and fast. The attack in early February 2019 on the Australian Federal Parliament’s computer network, has been identified by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the work […]

Read More
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 […]

Read More
1 August 2017

The Evolving Board Role in Determining Corporate Culture

Philippa Ellis, Governance & Investor Relations Not a day seems to go by without some headline homing in on yet another corporate scandal with its genesis often attributed to a lax or loose corporate culture. In Australia it has most recently focused on the wealth management and life insurances divisions of the major banks. ASIC […]

Read More