IR consultants face share anxiety

Investor relations professionals forced into working long hours because of staff holidays and market uncertainty are unlikely to find their workload eased soon, according to industry watchers.

Concern: shareholders are worried about volatile prices
Concern: shareholders are worried about volatile prices

As the subprime mortgage market in the US faces meltdown, share prices across the globe have plummeted, causing IR consultants to proactively ease investor fears after taking a barrage of calls from worried investors.

‘For some the job has bec-ome particularly difficult because the volume of calls has increased,’ said FD’s VP of IR Caroline Heagney. ‘Many companies are putting out announcements showing they are not affected by the subprime mortgage market to ease shareholder worries.’

Mortgage lender Northern Rock has decided to only answer specific questions concerning its latest share-slide, but has halted on-the-record share comment. According to sources, its view is that results in July fulfilled regulatory requirements, and putting out more statements would only increase pressure on the firm. The company is more susceptible than some of its peers to the current market conditions.

‘The media are very focused on the downturn at the moment because news is slow,’ added Heagney. ‘Agencies with bank, hedge funds and insurance clients will have the most work.’

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