Investor conferences provide a great opportunity for companies to increase their visibility among investors and Wall Street. Companies can use these events to attract new investors, deepen current investor relationships and build relationships with the sell-side. Typically, investor conferences are hosted by an investment bank at a hotel and consist of company presentations and one-on-one meetings. Companies are generally represented by members of the executive leadership team, usually their CEO and CFO. The conferences can be between one and three days in length and are generally themed around a sector or investment theme, such as healthcare or growth.
Select a Conference
The first step in ensuring a productive experience at an investor conference is selecting a conference that aligns with your goals. Start with the big picture items. How does this conference fit in with the overall corporate calendar? The most productive time to have conversations with investors is after quarterly financial reporting. Most banks are aware of this schedule and host conferences accordingly. Additionally, investors are most interested in meeting CEOs. Selecting a conference on a date when the CEO can attend will garner more investor interest so avoid conflicts with important corporate events, like annual sales meetings or large trade shows.
The location of the conference plays a role in the investors that will attend. For example, at some of the smaller conferences, you can expect a more regional group of investors, whereas the larger conferences attract investors from across the country. Keep in mind whether your goal is to deepen relationships with familiar investors or to visit a region of the country where you have spent less time marketing. Also, remember that banks are going to be your host. Consider if there are bankers or an analyst you need to catch up with or people you would like to have an introduction meeting to build a new relationship at the conference.
Once a conference has been selected, there are logistics that need to be taken care of. Depending on the format of the conference, there can be a choice whether to present or not and the type of presentation to deliver. If your goal is to broaden visibility, a presentation enables this. It is standard to webcast presentations–making them available, live and recorded–to the general public and all interested investors via the company’s IR website. With a webcasted presentation, it is best practice to announce the presentation date and time via a press release weeks before the event.
The most common presentation formats are a general corporate overview and a fireside chat. The general presentation is usually delivered using the company presentation deck and lasts around 20 minutes, leaving time for questions and answers after. Having an updated corporate deck is essential to delivering the most compelling overview to investors. It is also helpful to make the slides available with the webcast. A fireside chat is conversation between management and a research analyst from the hosting bank who either covers the company or the sector. These can be more detailed as company dynamics and market environment will be discussed (for more, see our blog on pros and cons of each).
One-on-one meetings will be scheduled around the time of the presentation. These offer investors the chance to have a more intimate meeting and ask specific questions to management teams. They can range from an introduction of the company to an investor new to the story, or a catch up with a long-time shareholder who is looking to cover more detailed aspects of the company.
Managing the one-on-one schedule is key to optimizing productivity at a conference. This needs to be a collaborative process between the host and the company. If there are gaps in the schedule, determine if you can rearrange meetings or push to schedule more meetings. If you have available one-on-one time slots, consider breaking up any group meetings into one-on-one sessions. If meetings don’t start until later in the morning, consider meeting with someone else in the host city. If the scheduled is jammed packed, propose grouping like investors to accommodate additional interest. This could include a group lunch which could be hosted by an analyst to guide the discussion. The bottom line is to be proactive and get creative.
Doing a little homework on the investors on the schedule goes a long way in creating a more informed dialogue. The type of investor and their background is important to understand, as this can hint at the type of questions they might ask. Consider also any history with the investor. Have there been any prior meetings or are they new to the story? It’s always helpful to know if they own your competitors to determine their level of familiarity in the sector. Lastly and obviously, know if they are a current shareholder, whether most recently they have been a buyer or seller, and if they have participated in any financings.
The final step is to send a note thanking the people you met with and asking if they would like to follow up in any way. It is appropriate to see if there are any other questions, if any additional information would be helpful or if they would like to be added to the company distribution list. This is also an opportunity to obtain any feedback that could be helpful for the future.
In conclusion, investor conferences provide two powerful channels for companies to increase their visibility in the investment community. Outside of earnings calls, webcasted presentations provide additional context to the state and strategy of a business for potential investors. One-on-one meetings facilitate relationships and allow investors to obtain the specific information they need to complete comprehensive diligence and make investment decisions. For more on attacking conferences with the strategies discussed here and creating more productive experiences, contact us.
Philip Taylor, Associate