JToday’s investor relations manager is a leader who must have expertise in several areas: shareholder relations, strategy, finance, sustainability, communications, capital markets, ESG and competitive intelligence. Nasdaq’s IntroToAnIRO feature highlights IROs that perform this beyond the traditional role. Marco ParisiHead of Investor Relations at SECOtakes us along its IR journey.
Marco was promoted to Head of Investor Relations at SECO in early 2021. He was a Senior Consultant at Deloitte before joining SECO in 2019 as Chief Commercial Officer. He holds a master’s degree in economics and finance from the University of Padua.
What are your top priorities and biggest challenges?
My top priority is to deliver clear and meaningful messages to investors and analysts. Every minute, market practitioners are inundated with a huge amount of information from thousands of companies around the world. In this context, you need to find smart ways to ensure your messages are delivered effectively, especially when your news feed is so rich with new customers, growing finances, quality M&A deals, ESG initiatives, etc. My next priority is to clearly illustrate the uniqueness of our business: we are literally in the midst of a digital revolution, where more physical devices are becoming “intelligent” and capable of generating data. At SECO, we deal with a lot of complex things like artificial intelligence algorithms, edge and cloud computing, and human-computer interaction. These technologies are evolving at an impressive rate, and it is so important to ensure that the financial community fully understands the value of these innovations in solving complex problems for our clients.
How long have you been in your role and how have you seen the role evolve over the past 2-3 years?
Over the past two years we have all reshaped our habits, investor relations are no different. We conducted the IPO process in the midst of the pandemic and had no choice but to hold most of our pitch meetings virtually rather than in person. The good news is that we are starting to welcome investors to our headquarters in Arezzo, and you can really feel how much they appreciate what we do when they see our R&D and operations facilities. ESG is surely another hot topic of recent years: we want our business to be zero-impact, so we place our emissions reduction target at the center of our daily actions, which also involves our customers and suppliers. More and more portfolio managers are not enough for companies that deliver good results. Communicating openly and transparently about how we are reducing our environmental footprint, developing our talents and engaging with our stakeholders is becoming increasingly important.
How can the IRO best engage the investment community?
Keeping investors and analysts up to date on your company’s progress is key, but you need to find ways to ensure your message doesn’t get lost among the thousands of emails investors receive every day. Additionally, at SECO, we are all encouraged to think outside the box and bring new ideas to the table. For example, since time is such a scarce resource, why not record a few videos to illustrate, in 5 to 10 minutes, everything investors need to know when they start studying our company? Why not prepare demos of our AI software platform at work, with senior executives and clients explaining its benefits to investors and analysts?
What do you enjoy most about being an IRO?
I really enjoy participating in projects involving several departments, working closely with colleagues from finance, sales and marketing, operations, R&D and human resources. It’s very stimulating because I constantly talk to people who really know their field and I always have a good overview of SECO. Then I can identify how this information can be transferred to the market in the most efficient way. Plus, I love interacting with people of different nationalities and backgrounds: whenever an investor meeting is about to start, you always get a thrill, and it’s so satisfying to see that investors have understood your equity story.
What resources do you rely on to stay up-to-date on the capital markets?
A big part of my work week is staying up to date on what’s moving the markets: macroeconomic factors, US and Asian market indices and supply chains and company news from other players in our industry. Again, with so much information available, it’s easy to get caught up in too much noise. That’s why I prefer to have only one or two tools where I can find quantitative information, market announcements and stock research with just a few clicks. They save me a lot of time and money. Also, having a good network of trusted investors and capital market professionals is so important. A quick chat is often the chance to gain insight, and the answer to your question is often just a phone call away.
What advice do you have for the next generation of IROs?
Be curious and never be shy; ask lots of questions! You can get brilliant insights from investors or analysts, they can provide you with fresh insights, and you can get a bunch of new ideas to share with the management team. Also, ask for lots of feedback like, “How do you think we should improve?” What don’t you like about our company? This is so important because it gives me clues on how to communicate more clearly what the market expects from my colleagues. And finally, have a cup of coffee with your colleagues from sales, operations, R&D and finance. You will be surprised by the number of small details that will allow you to better know your business.
What benefits have you seen as a Nasdaq IR Insight customer?
It saves me so much time when I need to get relevant information on the spot. How does the SECO share perform compared to its peers; how are the markets; What are the latest news; when are the next corporate events; I can see them all in one dashboard. Plus, I can easily find new leads, engage directly with them, and rely on a very responsive support service in case I need training on a new feature.