Mubasher: The Head of Investor Relations (IR) Business at GFM Mubasher, Amr Emara, took part in the Arab Federation of Capital Markets (AFCM) annual conference in Oman, where he joined a panel that included the CEO of Bahrain Bourse, Khalifa Al Khalifa.
Emara talked about the role of technology and IR in addition to their relation with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) and making businesses more competitive, as mentioned in his words below.
"There are no excuses now for not reaching out to the target audience through technology. Originally, I’m working with IT and with multinational companies covering the financial sector and we’re trying to digitalize the process and make things easier for all communications and operations. So, when it comes to fintech and IR, this has a very particular and important role to digitalize the process and fill in the gaps that are missing.
I just want to start with speaking about technology in general and thus, specifying the IR communication. we’ve seen recently a significant shift in the way businesses operate and communicate whether investors or stakeholders, even internally and externally with employees and customers, there has been a very big change especially that after the coronavirus, everything has changed and how people interact and communicate. So, the use of technology became something fundamental and crucial for businesses to stay competitive and maximize their value as they go.
According to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company, which is a management consultancy firm with leaders in innovation and strategy, companies which embrace technology and digital transformation are seeing an average of revenue growth of 8.4% compared to 0.3% for those that are slow to adapt to these changes. So, if we compare the gap it is huge between both of them.
Also, one of the significant advantages of technology is its ability to analyze access data, so the vast amounts of data available now businesses can gain insights into investor behavior, market trends, and investor opportunities. That was not possible before, and this is in particular very important when it comes to integrating both IR and ESG as data-driven insights that can identify ESG risks and opportunities that could impact on long-term value creation.
Also, a very important topic is attracting institutional investors, technology has a very important role to play, as we know that 70% of the investment enclose are coming from the retail investors, so what actually technology can do in this topic. Institutional investors are looking for companies that are highly transparent, proactive in their approach to ESG, and have strong track record of performance. Technology can improve their ESG reporting, benchmark against their peers, and demonstrate the impact of their sustainability initiatives, making them more attractive to these investors.
IR Pro Mubasher Digital Connect Platform
I just want to give a good example of how IR communications could be taken to the next level by the use of technology; our platform IR Pro Mubasher Digital Connect, which mainly leverages the latest technology trends like blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics. The reason why we thought about this idea was that there is always one main challenge across the Arab markets as a whole: the lack of foreign investments. In each market, while most of the investments take place locally. For example, in Saudi Arabia, all the institutional investments in Tadawul are local inside the same market, so we are aiming to get investors outside of the markets through this platform.
We are adding all big investors on one platform to have the right data, which is a very important point. Also, the big listings across the Arab markets and we are putting a webcasting conference on this platform, so whenever an investor wants to meet a company, there’s no need for a physical presence. The whole thing is on blockchain technology so it is 100% secured. We are securing all communications from the very early stages where the investors care to collect all the information and data about a company till they actually meet it and even beyond this if they want to share a confidential document for example, they can still share it securely and all brokers will be listed in the same platform.
The main thing is facilitating communications and taking it forward to create more exposure. For example, if a company or an investor is investing in the real estate sector and looking at all real estate investments across the Arab markets, they will get to see all stocks from the emerging markets till the very mature markets, compare notes, and bring more opportunities. This will help the market itself, which will benchmark the IR and take IR communications to the next level.
Just to conclude, there are two main things for businesses to stay competitive and maximize their value; the use of the right data to save time and effort, and how to use technology in the right form as every day we see new technology trends like the ChatGPT and people still don’t know how to use this technology in such industry.
Later on, companies that would not embrace technology and digital transformation will risk being left behind, as this is something all businesses have to cope with to still be moving forward.”