Investor Meeting Space in London

We are delighted to announce that all of Closir’s corporate users now have access to meeting spaces in London which can be used for investor and analyst meetings as well as for hosting IR events.

Closir was created to help investor relations teams to communicate their investment story to the maximum audience of investors. Our meeting spaces facilitate direct interactions between companies and investors.
Our facilities offer companies:

* Meeting rooms for small group meetings of up to 10 people
* A private lounge for group presentations of up to 25 people
* Larger event space accommodating up to 125 people
* Club restaurant dining

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In the next months we will be adding new locations, including in West London, New York and Hong Kong

2016 Global Trends in IR

BNY Mellon Depositary Receipts group has very recently published their annual report on global trends in investor relations. With 550 companies surveyed from 54 countries, it is probably the most comprehensive barometer of the current themes in our industry. The report provides large amount of comparative information on how listed companies are adapting to the changing marketing condition, touching on topics such as budgets, allocation of management’s time for buy side meetings, reporting lines, use of sell-side, measuring team effectiveness as well as insights into evolving areas such outreach to ESG investors and the use of technology.

Firstly as a qualifier, lets consider the demand side dynamics for global issuers. Despite the inevitable short and medium term swings in investor appetite for a given asset class, market or industry evidence that investors all around the world are diversifying and are increasingly adding a global component to their portfolios. Our own analysis point to over 4,000 institutional investors who hold emerging market securities, versus only 400 in early 20oo’s. BNY Mellon’s own estimates point to number of investors that hold DRs (or, roughly translated as those with global mandates) has increased from from 3,261 in 2Q10 to 4,533 in 2Q15. This figure will, we believe,  continue to grow, and present opportunities in areas where a- investors previously held most domestic bias and b- have considerable assets under management in active management and c- see diversification opportunities globally.

With this backdrop, a couple of things to note from the survey:

  • IR teams are working harder to address the growing global investment opportunity.  This is evidenced by 1- investor meetings taken by C-suite executives and IROs inside and outside their home markets have increased by 12.6% compared to 2013 (from 250.6 meetings in 2013 to 282.3 meetings in 2015). 2- companies almost doubling their IR budget allocation to travel, from 12.8% in 2013 to 24.3% in 2015, which in turn is interesting to contrast with the slight decrease in companies holding analyst/investor days (63% to 59%).
  • Top 10 sources of new investor demand in five years time, according to surveyed companies, will split evenly between emerging and frontier market. US, UK, China, Germany and Singapore lead the pact.
  • Technology tools, such as  conference call/webinar and video conference calls has been increasingly used in toolkit of a global IR officer (72% in 2015 vs. 63% in 2013 and 41% in 2015 vs. 34% in 2013). With the management and IR team time relatively fixed, and the buyside universe expanding – there is no element of a doubt that tools that help reach new investors can increase reach and efficiency, at a fraction of a price. We are strong advocates of using new tools to tell a company story . Can any one see how virtual reality or 360 videos can be applicable to the world of investor relations?
  • Despite the wave of regulations on how investors will pay for research and cooperate access, brokers continue to dominate the company non-deal roadshows arena, however with some signs of this changing. 10% of companies have organised NDRs themselves, up from 5% the previous year. Interestingly, companies rely a lot less on brokers nowadays to provide them with post meeting feedback, and rate quality targeting and introductions at upmost importance.
  • Growing ESG focus – The survey notes that there has been a strong increase (from 37% to 46%) in companies who have strategies in place to communicate with key investors on corporate governance issues on a regular basis, with top issues addressed being Board composition (76%), Transparency and disclosure (71%) and Remuneration (60%). Despite that the actual number of investors who reach out to ESG focused investors is still low (30%), however likely to rise. There is evidence to suggest that institutional investors are increasingly committing to ESG-focused principles in their strategies — whether that be through a more active engagement as shareholders or divestment strategies. 

Source: BNY Mellon Depositary Receipts Market Review 2015, BNY Mellon Global Trends in Investor Relations 2015

Evolving face of institutional equity business

A interesting Bloomberg article titled “Wall Street Cracks Down on Free Sharing of Analysts’ Notes” has crossed our desk last week ignited a discussion within our team about the the market for investment research.
The article points out how brokers, to some extent driven by regulatory pressures, are overhauling the process of producing and distributing of research and using online portals to track what gets read and by who- and bringing closer to be able to finally see how much investors are willing to pay for analyst report.
As a refresher, most of equity commissions paid by investors to brokers are split into two components: Execution and Non-Execution. Execution component pays for physical cost of trading and cleaning the transaction, and non-execution pays for other services such as investment research and corporate access. In a bundled commission environment, those two components are not separated and captured by the broker executing the equity trade.
CSAs (introduced in 2007) enabled fund managers to separating commissions into payment for executing trades from payment for research, however most argue they were not not sufficient to determine the value of services consumed, nor control spending. Furthermore the commissions (whether bundled or unbundled) actually belong to the asset manager’s end client however the asset manager has the full discretion of how to spend it.
The direction of regulatory travel is towards complete unbundling, something that we believe , will reshape the economics of institutional equity business, carrying with it serious implications to asset managers, sell side firms and IR teams.

We see those five questions are at the crux of the debate:

1- What has been happening to global trading commissions, which still drive the vast majority of supply of research and corporate access services?
Post crisis environment brought about the worst bear market for equities since the 1930s. Combination of depressed equity valuation, lower trading volumes, lowers fees generated from IPOs and primary market activity, a steady shift from active to passive investing meant a significant decline in available commissions for equity businesses providing research and corporate access. The effect was particularly severe outside North America where commissions are calculated as a percentage of the value of the share price. Emerging markets as a whole have also suffered their own set of dynamics which have further reduced comission dollars and meant instances of banks shutting down entire operations (ex. DB in Russia, CLSA in , Nomura in)
So what did this mean for broker revenues? Frost Consulting estimates that there has been a 43% reduction in global commissions for equity research, leading to a 40% reduction in budgets allocated by the 600 or so reduction in budgets allocated by the c 600 firms producing equity research from US$8.2bn at the peak in 2008 to US$4.8bn in 2013.

2- What would regulators like to see commission payments used for?
In short, just for execution. The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority wants brokers’ research to be treated as a cost to the manager and paid out of their own P&L rather than paid for out of client funds- a reform known as “unbundling”. This may eventually lead to a “priced” market for investment bank research which could transform the market in which consumers (investors) only receive the products they want and purchase in which personalisation, interactivity, niche focus will be critical for commercial success. The changes could provide an advantage for independent and specialist firms. In 2014, the FCA already banned using client commission payments for Corporate ACcess in the UK in 2014, a rule that is still looks that is yet to be adopted flouted

3- Are investors treating commission spending as if they were their your own?
Milton Friedman, the US economist, once said that perhaps the most wasteful form of spending is spending someone else’s money on somebody else: you are then “not concerned about how much it is, and not concerned about what you get get”. Perhaps there is a little bit of thoughts that can be applied to current discourse in the asset management industry. Regulators feel that allocation of spending (and hence the pricing) of broker services would have been different if investors had to pay for it from their own pockets. Surely, they argue, more considration would go into what is valueable, hence

In last year’s survey by the CFA Society UK, almost half of respondents think that Investment firms in the UK do not manage dealing commission – which is a client asset – as carefully as if it were their own money.

payments as if it were your own?

5- What do investors value most from brokers and how is that value priced?
Investors consume a number of services from brokers, and

Experts say that one of the trickiest aspects of pricing research is working out its value.

Reverse roadshow / investment trip to
Face to face management meeting at home
An Investor Conference
Call with reserach analyst
A report

Related articles
Bloomberg: Ballad of a Wall Street Research Analyst, Told by Brad Hintz

Equity Research Worth Paying For : A Look at Economic, Digital and Regulatory Changes

This is a guest summary post by Alphametry CEO Fabrice Bouland, of a recent senior executive roundtable about the future of equity research. You can download the full whitepaper version here.

An industry in trouble?

  • Global investment banks have seen shrinking revenues and in turn have been allocating increasingly smaller budgets to equity research. Several external factors affect revenues, among them:
  • Lower trading volumes caused by post-financial crisis industry deleveraging;
  • Fierce competition from electronic trading automation;
  • The rise of passive investing with exchange-traded funds (ETF) products rather than direct equity ownership;

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 18.52.24

  • At the same time, supply issues such as mid and small-cap stocks poorly covered are adding a layer of complexity to the agenda.
  • The market as a whole is also very opaque in terms of pricing and service levels.
  • The delivery of content is about to radically change. The bulge bracket investment banks are starting to move towards digitization.

SAVING EQUITY RESEARCH

  • Regulators are pushing for research spending transparency on several key areas, including:
  • Price disclosure;
  • Approved budget and reporting;
  • Forecasts of how much research to spend; and
  • Assessment of investment value versus spending.
  • Since its introduction in 2007, the use of commission sharing agreements or CSAs has gradually expanded as a tool of choice for asset managers to access independent research.
  • On the regulator’s side, it is UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that is taking the lead on the unbundling efforts while others, like the French Authorities AMF continue its support of CSAs, only advocating to add more transparency measures.

” There is strong evidence to suggest the current model of using dealing commission to pay for research reduces transparency and creates a link between research spend and trading volume, without a clear assessment of the value this offers to investors”  – Martin Wheatley, Former CEO of the FCA, who stepped down July 2015

  • To replace CSAs, the FCA wants to implement the new Research Payment Account (RPA) scheme and will ban inducements.

THE PRICE OF EQUITY RESEARCH

  • Separating research from execution raises a simple question that will be exceedingly hard to answer: how much is research worth? In a survey from a Bloomberg Institutional Equities Event, respondents were asked what factors were the biggest challenges when valuing equity research:
  • 37% said transparency was the biggest challenge;
  • 25% said ‘a la carte’ pricing;
  • 21% pointed to pricing benchmarks;
  • 10% said disparate evaluation; and
  • 7% said regulatory clarity.
  • Pricing equity research was a hot topic in the Alphametry roundtable. Participants noted that as there have never been internal benchmarks for evaluating equity research and that the range of pricing will probably be very wide.
  • Are current investment research prices fair? Sentiments from the sell-side in the roundtable leaned towards a “name your price” approach. Some participants were interested in exploring commission-based models with various level of service.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 18.47.12

  • Similar sectors like digital news media are changing their entire business models because content that was once paid is now free.
  • Another factor that plays into pricing is content longevity or shelf life. Roundtable participants pointed out that some content such as sector reports could be relevant for months.

INVESTMENT RESEARCH 3.0: AN INDUSTRY REBORN

  • Regulation is converging and investment firms are building global compliance platforms applying best local practices.
  • Research is going through its digital transition phase. As more content becomes digital, the industry is focusing less on the velocity of data and more on how large datasets can be analyzed.
  • Data volume is rising exponentially. Social data, web site usage, physical surveillance (e.g. shopping center parking spaces), and connected object will all be taken into account.
  • The industry is facing its largest organizational restructuring challenge ever in building up staff experience on the technology stack and using analytics to understand clients better.
  • Distribution platforms are playing larger roles and platforms that can deliver fully digital content with integration and interactivity have the upper hand.
  • All information-intensive industries such the media will be re-intermediated.

PARTICIPANTS

BNP Paribas, Citigroup Global Markets Asia, CIMB Securities, CLSA, Deutsche Bank EFA, Global Equity Flow, IBT, Morningstar Asia, Nomura International, Société Générale, Shenwan Hongyuan Research, UBS

To gain deeper insights of equity research digital trends and emerging economic models, download here your free copy of Alphametry roundtable whitepaper.

A Framework for Investor Targeting

Investment profile of my company

The starting point of any investor targeting exercise is to build a solid understanding of how your company’s story can fit into criteria that global investors look for when screening for companies: liquidity, key fundamental metrics and non-financial highlights.

Things to consider:

  • Does my company’s liquidity, or average daily trading volume (ordinary shares and depositary receipts combined) meet institutional investor requirements? Minimum threshold for large institutional investors is on average $1million+ per day. Smaller funds or those focused on the mid-/small-cap segment of the market often have more flexibility, however also tend to have fewer resources and less support (corporate access, investment research) from brokers.
  • Compared to the regional and broader EM peer group, which set of fundamentals particularly stands out in my equity story?
  • How are we positioning our collateral to address the needs of investors with particular strategies (e.g. Income/Yield, Growth, Value etc)? Do we have a good understanding of the triggers of the investment decision on those funds?
  • What are the key non-financial metrics that matter in my story? What macro- or mega-industry trends is my company’s equity story continually benefiting from?

Opportunity Analysis

Many companies take a technical, if not scientific, approach to identifying investor opportunity. A starting point is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of your own shareholder base, factoring in significant movements over the past four quarters.

Next, an institutional investor study draws up a target investor groups based on a number of criteria:

  • Investors who are already present in my shareholder register
  • Investors who are invested in my peer group but not in my company
  • Investors who have held my company’s shares previously but do not currently hold them
  • Investors who have been increasing allocations to my region and/or my sector
  • New EM funds launched globally over the last 12 months
  • New ideas of investors from brokers and other consultants

Things to consider:

  • Do I have a clear understanding which investors with active mandates hold my regional and international peer group? How often am I monitoring changes and activity in this list? Are the changes in line with what we are seeing in our shareholder base? If not, what are the drivers of the outliers?
  • Am I monitoring developments in the passive and ETF industry and do I understand which benchmarks my company is part of? What are my company’s allocations to each of those indices?
  • How often am I monitoring broader fund flows into my region and comparing this to what we are seeing in my company’s shareholder base?

Segmentation

Following this, companies often group investors into tiers, which then dictate the outreach strategy for the year. For illustration purposes the following example may be helpful:


All investor tiers have access to ‘passive channels’ which include IR website/web casts, annual report, IR mailings / press releases, IR events (R&D day, etc.), quarterly conference calls, event-driven/product conf. calls, phone & email contact with IR

The study can then be applied to three key geographies: Europe, North America and Asia.

How EM Investors View Russian Equities

Key Points

  • Global EM investors are increasingly looking beyond standard MSCI index constituents in Russia in search of value.
  • Average investor allocation to Russia is 3.76% marginally higher than the MSCI benchmark allocation (3.42%), however with a higher deviation from the average than other emerging markets.
  • Sector focus in Russia is shifting away from traditional areas like oil & gas and mining towards new areas such as retail and technology. The opportunity for stocks outside traditional sectors to capture institutional investment is perhaps greater now than at any point in the last 5 years.
  • A well-structured methodology for proactive targeting of investors can help IR teams to take advantage of new opportunities.

Emerging Market Fund Analysis & Methodology

This blog is written in conjunction with Copley Fund Research, an independent research firm which analyses the holdings of a specific sub-set of institutional equity investors.

In this case we are focusing on a cross-section of 120 actively managed global mutual funds, which invest a combined total of over $250bn in emerging market equities.

These funds use an index (usually the MSCI Emerging Market Index) as their performance benchmark but have complete discretion over portfolio allocations amongst global emerging market companies. As such they provide a good indication of buy-side sentiment towards countries, sectors and individual stocks in emerging markets.

Here we highlight some of the key trends in their fund allocations, analyse the overall pattern of investment in Russian companies and look at some of the top EM Funds that might be of interest to Russian IR teams.

Russia: Today’s Investment Landscape

According to public data, at the start of January 2016 Russian equities made up 3.42% of the MSCI Emerging Markets index, representing a combined total of more than $1.7 trillion in passive and active investments by over 1,100 institutional investors globally. Despite recent outflows and transaction sanctions imposed by Europe and the United States, investors from these geographies continue to hold the lion’s share (>75%) of institutional investment in the Russian equity capital market.

Geographical Distribution of Institutional Equity Investors into Russian Equity Market (2015)

Russian Equity Investment Trends

Following a steady increase in equity investment in Russia between 2011 and 2013, the market was badly hit by the global commodity price depression and the uncertainty caused by the Ukraine conflict and associated trade sanctions. Russia is now the 8th most popular emerging market by average portfolio weight, having been overtaken by South Africa and Mexico during the last few years.

The macro economic factors affecting Russian investment have far outweighed the micro factors, with some institutions forced to close Russia funds entirely to satisfy risk managers and internal obligations.

However, the downward trend may now finally be reversing, as many funds increased their Russian equity allocations during the second half of 2015, positioning themselves as overweight versus the MSCI EM index. Should this trend continue, 2016 may well reward the more optimistic IR teams who anticipate growing interest in their company story and plan accordingly.

Distribution of Investment in Russia

The current distribution of Russia holdings can be seen in the chart below, with wide ranging levels of allocation amongst the 120 funds. The average allocation of 3.76% is marginally higher than the MSCI EM index benchmark allocation of 3.42% – and still higher than the percentage allocated to either Turkey or Poland – indicating a moderately bullish stance on Russia at present.

Taking Advantage of Investor Opportunities

Following the 2008 credit crisis, investment in Russian equities reached its peak in December 2013. As stated above, a large number of investors subsequently either reduced or sold off their positions as economic conditions worsened. Should this situation turn around, these investors could prove particularly interesting for companies, given their history of interest in the Russian market. It’s certainly worth companies keeping track of investment patterns to understand the likely impact of a change in market conditions and take advantage of potential opportunities.

2015 Activity

The chart below shows the funds who have increased exposure to Russia the most over the course of 2015. Schroder’s EM Opportunity Fund tops the list, followed by Lazard’s Developing Market Fund. All of the funds listed below have a shown a willingness to invest in Russia when others have taken a more cautious approach.

Sector focus

During the last few years investor appetite has switched more and more towards the technology and consumer sectors and away from oil and gas, in line with other emerging markets. Russian oil & gas stocks made up nearly 3% of EM portfolios back in January 2011 but now account for under 1.2%; food retail stocks have nearly doubled from 0.47% to 0.82% over the same period.

From a stock perspective Magnit, Lukoil and Sberbank are the most widely held in Russia; each is owned by around 50% of funds and together they account for around 46% of total holdings in Russia.

New Emerging Market Opportunities

EM active investors are more than willing to invest outside the benchmark index where the opportunities arise. Stocks such as Yandex, X5 Retail and Mail.ru are not included in the MSCI benchmark but have attracted over $1bn in investment from the active EM funds in our analysis.

This shows two things: firstly that just because a company’s stock is included in the MSCI EM index doesn’t automatically mean that active investors will invest, and secondly that the MSCI EM index isn’t a barrier to attracting investment from international EM funds. This should encourage companies outside the MSCI Emerging Markets index to engage with global EM active investors as they have a clear mandate to look beyond benchmarks in order to generate excess returns.

Focus List

Based on the analysis above we recommend the 39 global emerging market active funds listed below should be on the radar of Russian IR teams. These funds are selected on the grounds of either their current allocation in Russian equities, increased Russia allocations over the last 12 months, and/or a history of high allocations in Russia over the last 5 years. As such they will have a greater propensity to invest in high quality companies throughout the region.

A Framework for Investor Targeting

Investment profile of my company

The starting point of any investor targeting exercise is to build a solid understanding of how your company’s story can fit into criteria that global investors look for when screening for companies: liquidity, key fundamental metrics and non-financial highlights.

Things to consider:

  • Does my company’s liquidity, or average daily trading volume (ordinary shares and depositary receipts combined) meet institutional investor requirements? Minimum threshold for large institutional investors is on average $1million+ per day. Smaller funds or those focused on the mid-/small-cap segment of the market often have more flexibility, however also tend to have fewer resources and less support (corporate access, investment research) from brokers.
  • Compared to the regional and broader EM peer group, which set of fundamentals particularly stands out in my equity story?
  • How are we positioning our collateral to address the needs of investors with particular strategies (e.g. Income/Yield, Growth, Value etc)? Do we have a good understanding of the triggers of the investment decision on those funds?
  • What are the key non-financial metrics that matter in my story? What macro- or mega-industry trends is my company’s equity story continually benefiting from?

Opportunity Analysis

Many companies take a technical, if not scientific, approach to identifying investor opportunity. A starting point is to conduct a comprehensive analysis of your own shareholder base, factoring in significant movements over the past four quarters.

Next, an institutional investor study draws up a target investor groups based on a number of criteria:

  • Investors who are already present in my shareholder register
  • Investors who are invested in my peer group but not in my company
  • Investors who have held my company’s shares previously but do not currently hold them
  • Investors who have been increasing allocations to my region and/or my sector
  • New EM funds launched globally over the last 12 months
  • New ideas of investors from brokers and other consultants

Things to consider:

  • Do I have a clear understanding which investors with active mandates hold my regional and international peer group? How often am I monitoring changes and activity in this list? Are the changes in line with what we are seeing in our shareholder base? If not, what are the drivers of the outliers?
  • Am I monitoring developments in the passive and ETF industry and do I understand which benchmarks my company is part of? What are my company’s allocations to each of those indices?
  • How often am I monitoring broader fund flows into my region and comparing this to what we are seeing in my company’s shareholder base?

Segmentation

Following this, companies often group investors into tiers, which then dictate the outreach strategy for the year. For illustration purposes the following example may be helpful:


All investor tiers have access to ‘passive channels’ which include IR website/web casts, annual report, IR mailings / press releases, IR events (R&D day, etc.), quarterly conference calls, event-driven/product conf. calls, phone & email contact with IR

The study can then be applied to three key geographies: Europe, North America and Asia.

Summary

In summary, Russian allocations in EM portfolios are increasing but from a historically low base.  In order to capture a share of these allocations, it might benefit IR teams to keep track of those funds with a history of investment in Russia. The opportunity for stocks outside the traditional focus of oil & gas to capture institutional investment is perhaps greater now than at any point in the last 5 years. Our targeting framework can be applied by listed companies to proactively target new opportunities.

We hope it is useful and are happy to provide additional information and answer any questions.

Steven Holden
Founder
Copley Fund Research
steven.holden@copleyfundresearch.com
www.copleyfundresearch.com
+64 9 445 4350

 

Michael Chojnacki

Chief Executive Officer
Closir Ltd
michael.chojnacki@closir.com
www.closir.com
+44 792 0729 329

Twitter Top 30 for Investor Relations

3027792-poster-twitter-fave-people

 

While there is growing evidence that investor relations teams are slowly moving away from using social media as we know it to reach investors, Twitter is increasingly used by fund managers, analysts, journalists and policymakers to communicate interesting ideas and comments, all of which it is well worthwhile staying on top of.

Last year, we published the first edition of our Twitter Top 30 for Investor Relations, and today we are glad to announce the 2016 update. We were particularly interested in adding to our list individuals who discuss current issues and trends relating to asset allocation, investment strategies and investor relations – especially those who encourage debate and a further exchange of ideas.

If you feel we have missed anyone, give us a shout on @closir. Many thanks to those who helped us to build this list during the last year. We hope you enjoy this year’s list.

Our 2016 Top 30:

@Schroders: Schroders maintains an active feed of insights on the global economy via links to their thought pieces, interviews with fund managers, polls and videos. The highlights here are posts with infographics, which portray an often complex story in easily digestible images. (Web)

@Enterprising : Enterprising Investor is CFA Institute’s own blog, delivering a solid analysis of current issues in finance and investing, including a wide variety of topics on portfolio management, corporate finance or behavioural economics. We particularly enjoy their coverage of the CFA Annual Conference (usually in April), where the blog does a great job of summarising messages from key speakers. Also worth adding are the CFA’s own accounts @CFAinstitute and @CFAemea. (Web)

@ftfm: FTFm is The Financial Times’s Monday weekly supplement focusing purely on news in fund management. Expect plenty of coverage on investment trends, regulation and other hot topics. Our favourite section is the one-on-one interviews with chief investment officers of global investment houses; their rundown of key executive appointments in the city is also very handy. (Web)

@IRMagazine: IR Magazine is probably the most comprehensive source of news relating to the investor relations industry. The magazine has gone through a few changes over the last year or so, with the addition of many more contributing editors, each offering a unique perspective on a vast array of topics relating to the day-to-day role of an investor relations officer. (Web)

@EastCapital: East Capital is a specialist emerging market investor from Stockholm, based on the ground in a number of markets. Expect dispatches and newsletters from portfolio managers and economists on the rapidly evolving situation in emerging and frontier markets. East Capital’s blog, Look East, is also known for documenting various trip reports written by portfolio managers during their travels. (Web)

@johnauthers: John Authers is one of our favourite financial market commentators. Most interesting and perhaps relevant to us are his ‘big picture’ insights on the fund management industry (especially around regulation, active vs. passive and fees for example) as well as ongoing discussions around drivers of change. We also enjoy the short 2-3 minute video summaries that he sometimes records alongside the posts. His colleagues Steve Folley (@stephenfoley), Martin Wolf (@martinwolf_) and Gideon Rachman (@gideonrachman) complete an impressive FT line-up. (Web)

@TheEconomist: Buttonwood’s Notebook is The Economist’s own section on financial markets. And in case you were wondering, it is named after the Buttonwood Agreement of 1792 which gave birth to the modern day New York Stock Exchange, signed under a buttonwood tree. Perhaps uniquely the column often reviews and comments on academic research affecting the fund management industry. (Web)

@MarkMobius: Mark Mobius is an emerging market fund manager at Franklin Templeton, and is perhaps one of the most prominent figures in our industry. In his ‘Investment Adventures in Emerging Markets’ blog he provides a factual and candid analysis of EMs, as well trip reports for various markets. His most recent updates include trip reports are dispatched from Sri Lanka, Iran and China. (Web)

@EM_Comms – EM is a Moscow, London and Hong Kong based financial PR and IR agency covering emerging markets, IR/PR spaces and the influential role digital technologies can play. The recently launched Moscow AM daily email  provides a unique take (in English) on key developments in the country.

@danielgodfrey_ – Daniel Godfrey is the recently departed chief of the UK’s Investment Association (@InvAssoc) which represents the the views of some 200 investment managers who manage over £5.5 trillion. Expect highly relevant views on the investment management industry, especially in the UK.

Investor Relations Societies around the world provide a highly useful stream of news, developments, and trends in the world of investor relations. We particularly enjoy the updates from the UK IR Society @IRSocietyUK, the Middle East IR Society (@meirsociety), as well as the New York chapter of NIRI in the US (@niri_ny).

@Jerome_Booth – You may know Jerome Booth as the Head of Research for Emerging Markets at Ashmore Group. He has since moved on to set up a new investment vehicle called New Sparta Limited, wrote a book titled, Emerging Markets in an Upside Down World and continues to write highly relevant commentary on emerging markets and their role in the global economy. (Web)

@TToomseSmith – Thomas Toomse-Smith works with the UK’s Financial Reporting Council @FRCnews, the UK independent regulator responsible for promoting high quality corporate governance and reporting to encourage greater investment. He is particularly interested in the future of electronic reporting and publishes a number of interesting surveys and opinions throughout the year. (Web)

@dr_holtmann  -Dr Kai Holtmann carries a wealth of industry knowledge and his handle covers capital markets related business/economic/social issues with a particular focus on corporate governance and ESG.

@HarvardCorpGov – This Harvard Law School forum provides extensive research on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, including updates on their working papers, seminars, speakers, and other activities. Highly captivating isights with increasing relevance to the investor relations profession. (Web)

@CopleyFR – Follow Steven Holden for highly interesting pieces about investment flows to/from emerging markets. He backs his research with a large number of data points and provides meaningful context that explain the numbers.

@jpmorganfunds – JP Morgan Asset Management’s handle provides a large amount of context to the current global investment environment. The most interesting pieces are the weekly market commentary as well as their highly quantitative quarterly guide to markets. In terms of other fund managers we recommend adding feeds from Neuberger Berman (@neubergerberman), Investec AM (@investecam_uk), State Street (@StateStreet) and Barings (@Barings).

@tombuerkle – Tom Buerkle is the International Editor at Institutional Investor magazine group (@iimag) who writes about global developments that particularly affecting professional investors, with the occasional weather update! (Web)

@ForeignAffairs – With today’s geopolitical climate occupying the minds of many portfolio managers of global active funds, and especially so the ones focusing on emerging markets, we find Foreign Affairs Magazine’s coverage of events extremely informative. Their most recent pieces take an in-depth look into conflicts in the Middle East, the relationship between Russia and China as well as Brazil’s place in the emerging market export club. (Web)

@Joe_Mcalinden – Joe Mcalinden is former CIO at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, providing interesting macro comments and updates with a particular focus on the US. He also frequently touches on the Federal Reserve’s actions and policies, and their impact on global equity markets.

@profaminrajan –  Professor Amin Rajan is the founder of CREATE Research, a  London-based Asset Management Think Tank. He publishes a variety of thought papers on the state of the AM industry and identifies key forces that will shape it in the future. (Web)

@annairrera – Our Top 30 list would not be complete for us without a financial technology flavour. Anna Irrera covers trading and tech reporting at Financial News, offering insights on a wide variety of topics ranging from blockchain to robo advisors to trading technology, and much more.