Name: Rowan Goeller

Company you work for: Chronux Research

Qualifications and/or experience: B Sc Engineering (Chemical), CFA

Context: Rowan is an independent analyst doing paid for research for issuers and buy side

Q: What do you believe the role of IRO’s will be in a landscape of diminishing investment research?

A: The role of the IRO has to become more important for investors as it may be the only regular contact point on companies with no analyst coverage. The profile of an IRO and ability to talk with authority becomes really important. In essence the IRO needs to be on or close to Exco to be able to be seen as a good proxy for CEO/CFO views and positioning.

Q: Is there an overlap between IRO’s role and that of traditional sell-side/buy-side research?

A: No – they are different jobs completely. The role of IRO’s would be to look at alternatives like sponsored research. Managing conflicts of interest and ensuring there are independent views on a company will require some change in thinking, I do believe the buy-side is accepting sponsored research more as i) they pay less for it and ii) it keeps research going especially in Mid- to Small-caps.

Q: What impact has anonymous online information platforms and anonymous equity research had on traditional investment research?

A: If you are referring to a generic sponsored research product, then it is having an impact in replacing declining sell-side research at traditional investment banks.

Q: Will AI-based research tools such as machine learning and algorithmic predictions support investors in gaining insights into investing in companies?

A: Yes and no – some information gathering will become much easier and quicker, but at a cost of less innovation and alternative thinking. Results notes written by analysts may become automated, sectoral deep thinking work will (for now) stay human I think.

Q:  Has there been a shift to remote work and if so has that impacted your relationship with the IR teams, investors and the market generally? and other colleagues at your firm? Or is it back to business as usual post-pandemic?

A: Generally there has been a back to work trend, although remote work is accepted as “normal” now. However, I am doing more and more meetings back at clients offices and the personal interaction is valued. Virtual meetings with management have increased and this is a good thing – more regular mgmt. meetings definitely help. Virtual allows better and more effective use of mgmt. time. There is a switch to shorter messages (WhatsApp) and Social media (X/Twitter) is also common.

Q:  How do you maintain a reasonable level of interaction and collaboration with the IRO teams and how does this interplay with your relationship with management?

A: IR teams seem to be looking for new ways to get the company message to the market so I find them receptive.

Q:  What steps have you taken to ensure your research is still providing value to clients?

A: More general and sector/thematic research, especially with all the exogenous shocks over recent years – locally and globally. Old fashioned research still has its place though.