‘Tis the season…yes, the one that comes around every year for preparing management’s calendar for the coming year. It may seem that pulling this together in one comprehensive, twelve-month calendar becomes as overwhelming as the holiday season. But, just like covering your gift-giving list, if you plan ahead, you can enter the new year with at least one significant thing crossed off and the peace of mind of knowing you have a roadmap to enable you to efficiently and effectively address multiple commitments.
Here are a few suggestions for making the process go smoothly, as well as a few things to consider along the way to maximize travel and management availability.
Where to start…
Build a template structure that includes the dates (we also suggest including the day of the week) broken down by quarter, name of the event, location, sponsor, who from your company is expected to attend, and any relevant notes pertaining specifically to your participation.
We always recommend starting by populating the template with your Corporate Calendar for the full year. Be sure it includes the following: Board Meeting dates, and Audit Committee meetings, all-hands employee meetings, the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, and management offsites and strategy sessions. If possible, even include planned vacations and company-wide holidays. From a finance standpoint, show quarterly and year-end report dates, along with filing dates for the 10-K and 10-Qs. Next, gather the dates for any industry conferences, medical meetings, trade shows and anticipated sales and marketing events. If you’re unsure of some of the dates, you can check on the Gilmartin Group website for Healthcare Trade shows & Medical Meetings here.
What about those analyst and investor requests for management time…
The important thing is to evaluate your calendar. Make it a goal to be visible and available to the investment community 2-3 days each quarter. Ideally this would be as soon as possible after the quarter close and not during your quiet period, which is typically at end of the quarter until you report financial results for that quarter.
Start by looking at who covers your company, who covers your peer comps, and who you might likely get an invitation from, based on past interest. You may also want to opportunistically look at banking conferences you’d like to target throughout the year. Typically, investment banking conferences and one-on-one events are held around the same time each year. However, if you’re unsure of the date for upcoming Healthcare and Life Sciences Investment Banking Conferences, you can find them the Gilmartin Group website here.
See where these meetings fall on the calendar and where they are being held. Are there any that are automatically not up for consideration because they conflict with another event or managements’ availability? If it is one of your covering analyst’s conferences, you may want to see if there is flexibility to reschedule your conflict; or, alternately, consider dividing the management team to cover all bases. Some conferences require the CEO to present and many others request at least senior C-Suite management be there.
If a conflict for a covering analyst’s conference just can’t be avoided, look for options on your, now fleshed-out, calendar and consider offering them time during one of the following alternatives:
Non-Deal Roadshow (NDRs)
This can be a great option to reach regions that you otherwise would not be able to meet with investors, such as the Midwest, the South, and the Pacific Northwest. Many investors from these regions don’t often travel to multiple conferences, so you may miss them. NDRs also give you the option to spend a full hour with key investors, rather than the 30-40 minutes allotted at most investor conferences. Many covering analysts will be happy to exchange conference attendance to take you on the road, especially if it can be planned around a time when they can join you. This becomes a win-win, as you get to be in front of investors with your story, plus your analyst gets to hear your updated messaging, as well as investor sentiment first-hand. Most often, a research note follows, which highlights recent themes.
Consider adding a day or two of marketing right after you report the quarter or when there are material gaps in investor conferences.
Major medical meetings and industry trade shows often bring large groups of analysts and investors together. Consider offering to one of your covering analysts the opportunity to host a private event over breakfast, lunch or dinner when you and your extended management team are together for an industry event. Note: depending on the format of the event, some have heavy restrictions on doing meetings outside of the trade show during exhibit hours.
Many investment banks sponsor bus tours that may be coming to an area near you. At these events, the banks gather a group of key investors and bring them collectively to management teams. It’s an efficient way to see a lot of companies throughout one region. Consider checking with your covering analyst to see if they host such an event and if it might be an option for your company in lieu of conference attendance.
Finally, share the love…
Take a look back over the year ahead to ensure that you have allotted time to supportive, covering (or close to covering) investment banks. Analysts are also planning their year well in advance, so it isn’t at all uncommon to reach out to your analyst or investment banker to make a plan. Let them know you can’t attend their conference this year, but would they be open to an NDR in October? It’s highly likely they will commit and be able to add it to their own internal Corporate Access calendar and be able to plan around it, as well as flag any potential conflicts you may not know about.
Last but not least, look out, opportunistically, to events your peer group has attended and events your investors have mentioned bring together a good quality audience. If you still have holes, there are an emerging a number of quality, fee-based events that might be worth looking into, depending on your coverage universe. Again, the goal is to maximize your limited time through the year and look towards being consistently available to investors, equally, with an updated message.
Leigh Salvo, Managing Director