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With Covid-19 disruption prompting Larsen to think even more opportunistically about how to adapt, he reveals how the AstraZeneca IR team is using digital tools in its investor outreach. “We have cleaned up our customer relationship management system and organised it in a way that means we can more easily contact the buy side and interact with them,” he says. “This has prompted us to reach out to investors directly.”
The company’s IR team is also intending to recalibrate in 2020, admits Larsen. “Since things are constantly changing, we are adapting in this environment and each day we are learning a little more,” he says. “With countries opening up after lockdown at different paces we are doing more short-term planning than we used to.”
Maintaining momentum is even more crucial in a world where business travel is largely suspended and video conferencing is replacing roadshows and face-toface investor meetings. To this end, as AstraZeneca’s ADR programme provider, Deutsche Bank Depositary Receipts has delivered alternative means by which AstraZeneca can engage investors.
Among these new facilities, Deutsche Bank’s Depositary Receipts Virtual Investor Conference (dbVIC) provides a free opportunity for both small and major investors to listen to experienced investor relations professionals and senior management who are responsible for communicating a company’s equity story to the investment community. They can also ask a company representative questions and gain valuable insights into a corporation and its industry. “Having introduced the dbVIC platform eight years ago, we were pioneering in the use of digitalisation to facilitate investor engagement,” notes Daniel Clark, Global Head of Depositary Receipts at Deutsche Bank. “And in today’s virtual world, with many parts of the globe in varying forms of lockdown, that platform has now really come into its own, with participation well above average levels for the last dbVIC event and positive feedback received from issuer clients who presented.”
Maintaining relationships virtually, in addition to managing the sheer volume of stock market data since Covid-19 began to spread, are challenges that Larsen and his team have readily accepted. He reiterates the important role that trust plays in a peoplecentred innovation strategy that remains a key ingredient when it comes to engaging shareholders. “People need our medicines, sometimes even more than they did in the past, and that’s our value proposition to the shareholders,” concludes Larsen.