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Highlights and Insights From the CIRI 2024 Annual Conference

The 37th annual Canadian Investor Relations Institute (CIRI) conference brought together industry leaders, financial experts and investor relations professionals from around Canada, providing forward-thinking approaches to enrich the future of IR through the exploration of technology and diverse perspectives.

Over the course of three days, leading IR pros came together to stay up to date on the latest best practices and storytelling trends, learn from IR, governance and capital markets experts, network with peers and stay informed on the latest tools and technologies.

As CIRI’s National Strategic Partner, we were proud to attend and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the IR community – this included hosting an important panel discussion, AI 101: Navigating the Future of Investor Relations.

Keep reading to learn our top takeaways from the conference.

AI 101: Navigating the Future of Investor Relations

Chris Makuch, Senior Director of Sales at Notified, introduced the keynote presentation that provided a comprehensive overview of artificial intelligence and its potential applications across IR. The discussion featured Richard Barber, Chief Executive Officer at Mind Tech Group.

In today’s world, AI has become difficult to ignore. As AI continues to revolutionize the way we work, it’s important to understand the fundamentals, trends, benefits, risks and governance around its applications.

Whether new to AI or already using this technology, this session gave attendees the foundation to understand what AI is and its potential applications in investor relations.

Immediately following the presentation, a workshop was held where attendees had the opportunity to take what they learned and apply it to practical scenarios.

Highlights From Our AI Discussion

To begin the conversation, our panel highlighted key findings from a recent CIRI member survey:

  • AI Usage: 72% are using AI, but only 22% feel confident in their usage.
  • Data Security and Privacy: Survey respondents cited major concerns in this area of AI adoption.
  • AI Benefits: 94% report time savings, 50% appreciated insights from large datasets and 40% valued automation and improved accuracy.
  • Transparency: 89% of companies do not mention their AI usage in investor reports or analyst calls.
  • Policy Sufficiency: 78% feel their AI policies are inadequate.

Here were additional insights from the discussion:

  • Growing Adoption - While AI awareness in IR was low in 2022, its use is steadily increasing. Most survey respondents (72%) indicated they already use AI, highlighting its growing acceptance within the field.

  • Responsible AI - Barber emphasized a structured approach to adopting AI, which includes AI education, identifying opportunities, application development and establishing robust policies and governance. This journey involves forming cross-functional teams, setting guardrails, deploying strategies and ensuring continuous monitoring and improvement.

  • Value of AI - AI is set to grow significantly in market value, reaching $305 billion by 2024 and $738 billion by 2030. AI offers significant benefits for IR professionals, including increased efficiency, improved access to data-driven insights and automation of repetitive tasks. Survey results emphasized time savings (94%) and access to valuable insights (50%) as the primary advantages. Common AI use cases include writing and communication, news and data aggregation, analytics for market trends and competition analysis.

  • Risks and Challenges - Data security, privacy and potential bias in AI decisions remain the biggest concerns. Only 78% of respondents believe their organization has sufficient AI policies and oversight to ensure responsible AI use.

  • Getting Started - Barber advised CEOs to assign a point person to explore AI tools and navigate potential risks in a controlled environment. Building a strong risk management framework and a cross-functional team to oversee data confidentiality are crucial steps.

Beyond AI: Additional Investor Relations Insights

Beyond our panel discussion, the conference offered a well-rounded perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing IROs in 2024.

Here were some additional key takeaways:

  • Maximizing Investor Day Events - Strategic planning and execution are key to successful investor day events. These events should be held periodically (not annually) and provide investors with valuable information and a deeper understanding of the company's direction. Key considerations include timing, location, content and maximizing audience engagement through a hybrid format (in-person and virtual).

  • Storytelling - Crafting a compelling investment story is essential. IROs must make it relatable and authentic while humanizing the narrative. For example: Use self-deprecating humor to connect with the audience and convey honesty. Be ready to acknowledge and own mistakes to build trust.

  • Importance of Early Investor Engagement - Building relationships with investors well before going public is crucial. This involves crafting a compelling narrative, establishing a strong social media presence and actively engaging with the capital markets.

Thank you to everyone at CIRI for putting on such a world-class event – see you in 2025!

Want more best practices and insights? Download your free copy of our new guide - we cover everything from earnings calls and IR websites to AI and ESG.

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