(L to R: Josh Brodsky, Brian Norris, Gerry Gould, Rupert Della-Porta and Mark Kinarney)
NIRI Boston’s April program featured Brian Norris, VP of Investor Relations at Fleetmatics, Gerry Gould, VP of Investor Relations at Haemonetics, Rupert Della-Porta, Partner and COO at Atlantic Equities, and Mark Kinarney, VP of Corporate Access at Credit Suisse. The panel had a lively and interactive discussion focused on the current state of corporate access, both in the US and internationally. We heard from both IROs, as well as the sell side on best practices for identifying target investors, attracting and retaining these high quality accounts, and arranging roadshows (either self-sponsored or with a firm) in the ideal regions, all while trying to be mindful of the C-suite’s time.
Moderator Josh Brodsky, Manager, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications at Alnylam kicked off the discussion by asking the panelists to describe the “must dos” for a successful event. All of the panelists agreed that it’s all about the quality of the accounts you meet with, not the quantity. The IRO should be the one to compile a list of the top investors they would like to meet with and send it to the sponsoring corporate access team, so that they co-own the schedule and are both pleased with the outcome. The panelists also strongly recommended that the IRO ensure that the sell-side analyst sponsoring the event participate in at least part of the roadshow. This ensures the analyst has a good understanding of what types of questions are being asked and how the company responds. It also helps companies get better feedback from the buy-side and better exposure if the analyst writes a note after the event. Brian also recommended as a best practice that, before having the C-suite meet with investors, the IRO reach out to investors that are new to the story and host an introductory call to get them up to speed on the story, in order to best utilize management’s time.
The discussion switched gears and Josh asked the panelists to discuss why a company would do a self-sponsored NDR versus a sponsored event, and how you ensure the IRO gets meaningful feedback. Brian suggested that it all starts with your targeting program and making sure you are meeting with the right accounts and making the best use of your C-suite’s time. Who do you want to own the stock in the next 3-5 years? Self-sponsored events can be useful when you have a very specific target list of investors you’d like to meet with in a particular geography. It doesn’t always have to be an NDR either. It could be a breakfast, dinner, salesforce presentation, bus tour or teach-in. If you know your executives will be on the road for a customer meeting or another event, try to leverage that time and tack on an investor meeting. The panel also recommended utilizing corporate access and sell-side firms, but to stay involved and help to build a successful program together. Measuring the outcome of an event takes time. Ask yourself questions like: Am I developing a lasting relationship with this firm? Was there an increase in ownership from accounts that we met with? Was there an increase in the number of meetings requested from an account? Rupert explained that it’s harder to measure results in Europe because investors are slower to invest than your typical US institution. You likely won’t have that immediate measure.
Rupert transitioned into the next topic regarding when, why and where should a company consider a European roadshow. London was his top pick for location, and he said to avoid Europe at all costs in June, August and September. You have to start by building a program to identify what the demand is for your company abroad, and that starting out with an IR-only trip the first time around to get them up to date on the story is a good way to gauge that. Consistency is also important when working with European investors. Try to get to Europe for marketing at least once a year for at least three years, and then measure your success.
The program concluded by discussing the reasons behind an IRO traveling solo. It is unrealistic to think that the same work can be done as a company escalates through market caps and increases sell-side coverage and institutional interest. A few examples of when an IRO could travel solo is when you’re doing a learning tour and planting seeds with new investors or when there are tier-2/3 conferences that you don’t necessarily need management for. Involving other members of the management team also helps allow the CEO/CFO to run the business and free up some of their time. A lot of firms are increasingly wanting to meet with IROs as well because they’ve either already heard the CEO/CFO tell the story or they want to get more educated on the story first.
The key takeaways from the event included consistently revisiting your three-year investor targeting plan, collaborating closely with the sell-side marketing desk on accounts and logistics, and considering doing more IR-only events as a key method for educating investors.