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Review – The Engagement Appeal’s Winter Women’s Company Secretary Circle (WoCoS) event

Dec 5, 2023 | Corporates

Review – The Engagement Appeal’s Winter Women’s Company Secretary Circle (WoCoS) event sponsored by Link Group (LNK) on Wednesday 29th November on Finance, Inclusion & Engagement 

The financial landscape is evolving, and the next generation of investors, particularly Gen Z and younger  cohorts, are emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the investment arena. This was one of the many key themes explored in The Engagement Appeal’s (TEA) Winter WoCoS event. There were two insightful  panels for our diverse audience to listen to, the audience ranging from company secretaries to artists to  entrepreneurs across the UK. 

The first panel, the intro panel, was hosted by TEA’s own Sheryl Cuisia who led a discussion with TEA’s  Gen Z Ambassadors, Emmeline Armitage (Arts Ambassador), Niam Patel (Entrepreneurship Ambassador),  Joseph Vambe (Education Ambassador) and Dr Sabine Dembkowski. The panel’s discussions shed light on  crucial aspects of this shift in the financial landscape, emphasizing the need for companies to recognize,  support, and educate this demographic. 

The panel highlighted the younger generation possesses a unique financial mindset. They recognise the  limitations of traditional avenues of saving; saving to buy a house isn’t the road to financial freedom it  once was and saving money in a bank account is much less appealing with inflation reducing its value.  Instead, the panel speaking from their own experiences are captivated by the potential high returns that  can be made from investing, and in the age of social media and digital platforms, it is much easier to see  the rewards investing can lead to. Investing, therefore, becomes an attractive and rational option for  them. Recognizing and catering to this growing appetite for investment is paramount for companies  seeking to engage with the younger demographic effectively. 

As our Entrepreneurial Ambassador Niam noted, the source of financial information is rapidly changing, with younger investors turning to unconventional platforms such as TikTok, Discord, and YouTube.  Companies must adapt to this cultural shift and engage with investors where they are. However, Education Ambassador Joseph referenced a dark side to this trend – the risk of exploitation as  inexperienced individuals provide misleading financial advice for personal gain. This underscores the  need for responsible and accurate financial education in the digital space. 

Our Arts Ambassador, Emmeline, highlighted the arts industry, known for its precarious nature, can  benefit significantly from engagement and education. For upcoming artists, building capital through  strategic investments offers a transformative alternative to the financial challenges they often face. It  represents an opportunity to sustain their artistic pursuits without succumbing to financial instability. 

The main panel discussion delved into several key insights that are integral to understanding and  engaging the next generation of investors. It was a panel filled with unique perspectives and experience  that stand the test of time. Our main panellists, recognising this evolution in the financial industry, were  united in their view that although some change is happening, there is still much to be done. 

Our stellar panel included Adele Gilbert, Head of Marketing & Investor Relations at Aquis Exchange;  Camilla Esmund, PR Manager at Interactive Investor; Maddie Albon, Brand Manager at Peel Hunt; Patrick  Sarch, Head of UK Public Company M&A at Hogan Lovells (and a DJ!); and Penny Thomas, Company  Secretary at Crest Nicholson plc. 

The heartbeat of this change lies in engagement, Camilla made clear. The growing digital market  demands a cultural shift in how companies interact with investors. Inclusive investor relations are no longer an option; they are a necessity. The panel highlighted the pivotal role of these relations as more  individuals actively participate in the dynamic world of investing. 

However, this digital revolution has come with its many challenges. Patrick highlighted the lack of  regulation on social media platforms is a double-edged sword. While these platforms provide  unprecedented reach, they also allow the unchecked dissemination of information. Responsible  engagement becomes paramount to shield investors from misinformation and guide them through the noise. 

One glaring concern in this evolution is the insufficient financial education available to those outside the  financial sector. The panel underscored the urgent need for companies to bridge this gap by providing  accessible and accurate information. Financial literacy, once considered a luxury, is now a prerequisite  for a thriving and inclusive financial ecosystem. 

Penny recognised employees, often overlooked as stakeholders, are key players in this evolution. The  panel highlighted the need for companies to engage with their employees as investors. Through digital  means, innovative connections can be forged, ensuring that employees understand their integral role in  the success of the companies they work for. 

As the financial industry evolves, it is evident that there is much work to be done. The insights from both panel discussions painted a picture of a rapidly changing financial market with different needs. 

Financial education is key in achieving equality across demographics and generations. It’s not just about  making investments; it’s about empowering individuals with the knowledge to make informed decisions.  

The transformation is happening, but it is an ongoing process. 

TEA’s Winter WoCoS event was just the beginning in achieving all this and much more. Anyone  passionate about financial education, inclusion, engagement, and equality should make sure they are at  the next event and get involved!

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