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Expert takeaways on the rising influence of the retail investor

From the team

We assembled an expert panel representing some of Aotearoa’s top companies to get their views on how businesses should be front-footing for future retail investors. 

  • Head of Company and Partnerships

    Susannah Batley

    Head of Company and Partnerships

Expert takeaways on the rising influence of the retail investor

Here’s a summary of our conversation on what investors expect—and respect—from New Zealand’s leading companies according to Dame Joan Withers DNZM (Group Chair of The Warehouse Group and Director of Origin Energy, Sky TV, and ANZ), Alison Gerry, (Chair of Sharesies  Director of Infratil, Air New Zealand, and ANZ) and Josh Blackmore, (Partner at Chapman Tripp). 

It’s everyone’s job to increase investor education 

While financial literacy is improving, companies can play a pivotal role in accelerating it. 

Understanding the power of a diversified share portfolio is fundamental, yet unlike other countries— it is underappreciated in regions like New Zealand. For companies responsible for raising capital and generating returns, a critical need for better financial literacy is an opportunity

There’s no better time than now to show leadership. Start contributing to conversations and shared resources that create a culture of greater interest, education, and engagement with the world of investing. It’s in everyone’s best interest, after all. 

Trust and transparency are non-negotiables

While it might sound obvious, in all aspects of life and business, trust is key.

Retail investors must believe in an executive leadership team’s ability to manage complexity and deliver returns, responsibly. This commitment to all investors is reflected in how leaders manage everything—from AGMs and PR crises to ESG disclosures and end-of-year performance reports. As a matter of best practice, welcome investor questions, create a culture of transparency, and let your consistency do the talking. 

Social responsibility is something to take seriously  

The bottom line? Making progress trumps standing still every time. 

The trends have been telling us for a while now that today’s investors care deeply about how companies engage with their communities and manage supply chains—especially on issues like modern slavery, carbon impact, and waste management. There are more resources available now to help with this than ever, so show interest, commitment, and progress in these areas. It’ll strengthen investor trust and brand reputation simultaneously.

Balance institutional and retail investor interests 

Treating the retail investor as an afterthought is no longer an option. Instead, aim for fairness regarding capital raises by giving retail investors equitable opportunities to learn more and get involved. It’s becoming just as important as attracting quick institutional money and is a largely unrealised source of potential capital—one that can be reached at scale, and quickly through technology. 

Reach investors effectively, and often 

Retail investors are not a homogenous group and they continue to challenge stereotypes. 

The data shows retail investors are incredibly diverse, and their concerns are evolving—particularly regarding ESG issues. So as you make decisions; step-changes in strategy or look to raise capital, meet them where they’re at. Don’t wait for a 100-page document to present to them every year. 

It's essential businesses communicate effectively, showing people not just the financials—but their broader impact on society. And there are so many ways to do this. Think beyond the AGMs and the age-old annual report and use the power of notifications, podcasts, emails, videos, or external channels to get in front of people. This helps them be part of the journey, and most importantly, feel truly invested. 

Ok, now for the legal bit

Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.

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