The Importance of IR Outreach

5/22/2017 | By Tim Naughton

Published in the May/June 2017 issue of REIT magazine.

Investor relations is a critical component to any publicly traded company. Over the years, REIT IR professionals have worked hard to ensure dedicated REIT investors are 
well versed in the REIT approach to real estate investment and its benefits. However, since real estate was promoted to its own headline sector within the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) last year, the importance of IR outreach to a far broader set of potential investors has grown exponentially.

Many of these generalists have limited experience in dealing with the nuances of REIT investment. Consequently, as the first point of contact between their companies and the investment community, REITs’ IR professionals now must employ an increasingly diverse and complex set of skills to serve an expanding group of stakeholders.

The “Inside Outreach” feature in this issue of REIT magazine highlights just how much IR roles at REITs have evolved in recent years. NAREIT polled more than 50 IR heads to get the straight story on a range of issues. Not surprisingly, 41 percent of respondents said they now spend more than a quarter of their time and resources on non-dedicated investors.

In response, NAREIT is taking steps to address the changing needs of IR professionals and to encourage sharing ideas and information among its member companies. That includes establishing an advisory council of IR professionals to identify and address emerging issues for their departments. On June 5, the first-ever REIT Investor Relations Symposium will be held at the NYSE. The invitation-only event, which will be co-sponsored by NAREIT and the NYSE, will help IR professionals to exchange ideas and best practices. Topics at the event will include effective strategies to communicate with investors, insights from veteran REIT analysts on how they acquire and process information from listed companies, and more.

NAREIT also serves as a resource for IR departments by curating important REIT-related information, the vast majority of which can be found on NAREIT’s home website, REIT.com. This includes more than just data on performance metrics. For example, REIT.com users can find detailed information and analysis of relevant policy issues and reporting on the latest developments and trends in the industry.

In addition, NAREIT creates and manages content that can be used by IR professionals to help introduce REIT investment to newcomers and offer a richer understanding of the industry to those with a greater level of familiarity. These include everything from the interactive maps of REITsAcrossAmerica.com to TheREITWay.com, a website dedicated to illustrating how REITs affect our daily lives, the communities around us and the economy.

I encourage NAREIT member companies to participate in helping to build a thriving network of IR professionals who share ideas and strategies for keeping the investing world informed about the REIT approach to real estate investment.

Tim Naughton
Chairman & CEO
AvalonBay Communities, Inc.

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