We have officially started planning for the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco which will run January 7-10, 2019. As with many of you, several of us at Gilmartin have been coming to San Francisco for the week of the J.P. Morgan conference longer than we care to admit. Whether this is your first conference or your 30th, it still makes sense to strategize to make the most of the week. This starts with advance planning. Before we get into our best practices – if you think you want a new investor presentation, we suggest you start working on that NOW.
As you think about how to best plan, we offer some suggestions and statistics for consideration:
1 | What new information to share?
Whether you have a formal presentation at J.P. Morgan or are coming to San Francisco for meetings, this is likely the first interaction you will have with Wall Street in the new year. Some companies use J.P. Morgan as an opportunity to make large announcements or unveil a new strategy. If the timing makes sense, this can be quite effective. That said, be wary that investors are tracking newsflow from hundreds of companies and juggling busy schedules, so announcements won’t get as large of a response as they would at a different time. In fact, covering analysts may not write a report, or if they do, expect it to be brief. Said differently, we don’t suggest “stock-piling” good news for J.P. Morgan week. Rather, make announcements if they are timely and add transparency to discussions with Wall Street.
2 | Pre-announcing trends – should you pre-announce?
Many companies pre-announce Q4 results and some also provide guidance for the upcoming new year. This may make conversations more transparent with investors, but it’s not always the right approach. As you determine what’s right for you, we suggest evaluating current estimates relative to your forecasts, recent and upcoming milestones, and your confidence level forecasts as of the first week in January.
What the data show – increasing pre-announcement trends. We track around 150 companies in the Medical Technology sector. From a precedent standpoint, there is a rising trend to pre-announce and provide guidance, but it does still remain at less than half of the companies we track.
2016: 23% pre-announced; 9% provided guidance for the upcoming year
2017: 28% pre-announced; 11% provided guidance for the upcoming year
2018: 39% pre-announced; 17% provided guidance for the upcoming year
3 | What to webcast – presentation only or webcast also?
For companies presenting at J.P. Morgan, there will be two components to your presentation: (1) the actual presentation where you are on a podium talking through your slides; and (2) the breakout session in another room down an overly crowded hall, in which you will answer analyst moderated questions. You have the option to webcast both. Generally, both rooms are packed with standing room only. In recent years, attendance at the breakouts has been limited by someone at the door to avoid over-crowding. While it would be considered best practice from a Reg FD standpoint to webcast both, most companies don’t. In checking in with analysts at J.P Morgan, we received feedback that less than a third of companies webcast their breakout session in 2018.
4 | Set some objectives and plan ahead.
Given how many people are in San Francisco the week of J.P. Morgan, options are seemingly limitless. In addition to the meetings during the day, there are a myriad of evening events, ranging from private cocktail parties, investment bank hosted receptions, law firm hosted receptions, as well as non-financial related events such as wine tastings, poker games and get-togethers to watch basketball. There are also a host of tangential events and smaller conferences, which target micro caps and other subsectors.
As you think about the week, we suggest you set objectives. Do you want to expand analyst coverage and/or broaden visibility across the sell-side? Or is your analyst coverage solid, and you want to use the week to update investors on strategy? Alternatively, you may be in building-mode, and a couple of days of introductory meetings with all constituents would be valuable. Regardless of your objective – we suggest you set goals ahead of time, then leverage your IR firm to help achieve them. Ideally, you can have most of your schedule locked down by the end of this year.
5 | Upgrade your investor deck.
Most likely, J.P. Morgan will be the first time in 2019 that you are in front of investors. And chances are, you have been updating your investor deck throughout the past 12 months inserting accomplishments, new products and milestones here and there. We suggest taking a step back – is your investor deck effectively communicating your vision and strategy? Is it graphically clean and visually appealing? For most companies, the answer is no. We would take the opportunity to overhaul your investor deck going into J.P. Morgan. Update the template, graphics, and overall look and feel to something clean, modern, fresh and professional. Update the message to your vision for 2019-2020 and create content that articulates your value proposition. This is an opportune time to lean on your IR firm – we have overhauled dozens of investor decks, and we would be happy to help with yours
Whether this is your first J.P. Morgan conference or your 30th, we can help make the week run smoothly. We can help set objectives, project manage outreach to targeted individuals across Wall Street and best leverage your time. We will happily look through your investor deck and offer suggestions or take a deeper dive and help overhaul it. We also can help think through news to share, the pros and cons of pre-announcing and what to message. Lastly, in addition to our broad and targeted outreach, we can manage the scheduling and logistics for you. We have space two blocks from the St. Francis and are happy to serve as your hub – both for hosting meetings, or in between them. Feel free to contact us.
Lynn Lewis, Founder & CEO