Investor meetings are essential for managing and expanding your shareholder base. They provide investors with clarity on a company’s story and can allow you to gauge potential investor concerns, but most importantly, they provide management the opportunity to control the story being told to investors.
The buy side often views a meeting with management as a critical component in their due diligence process. Even in the wake of increased scrutiny from SEC regulators regarding Reg FD, these meetings give the buy side more insight into a company story, recent developments, and potential headwinds.
Maximize the return on investor meetings with planning, preparation and positioning to target the appropriate investors, manage compliance issues, and optimize the overall message. Here are some tips:
Planning. Creating a calendar of investor meetings at conferences and on non-deal road shows at least one year in advance is highly recommended. When targeting the audience for your meetings, include current investors as well as those who aren’t current investors, but who invest in peers in your sector. And don’t shy away from hedge funds. These days, the investment styles of hedge funds and long-only shops often overlap, with some hedge funds offering products considered “long–only” and “sector-specific.”
When selecting a sell-side analyst to arrange non-deal road shows with investors, consider working with all your analysts (even if they don’t have a Strong Buy rating) or analysts who do not currently cover your stock. This may provide a different perspective for the company’s story and expand the audience.
Lastly, managing logistics in terms of time and travel should not be overlooked. Leave ample time for travel and breaks in your days rather than scheduling back-to-back meetings.
Preparation. The first rule of presenting is to know your audience. Factor in the investor’s knowledge of the story and stock performance, as well as recent events or chatter around the stock to frame the message. It is also essential that you understand their investment criteria. And remember that each person is an individual. Even though they may work for the same firm, try to learn what each person values during the diligence process.
The next step is to practice your presentation. Conduct dry-runs of your pitch, understanding that a less knowledgeable investor may ask you to go through your entire slide deck while a more knowledgeable investor may start off with Q&A. Practice your answers to likely questions, and create talking points to address any issues or headwinds in your sector. Another useful practice is to have your IR firm ask sell-side analysts about any issues regarding your stock or sector that they’ve heard from the buy side.
Positioning. Make sure it is clear up front why an investor should want to invest in your company. Consider market size and growth, competitive dynamics, products and, importantly, future growth drivers.
Focus on future growth rather than historical data. Historical figures generally add relatively little incremental value to your story today, while future opportunities offer insight into potential stock performance. Provide incremental data like market share expectations to support the story’s thesis, and give insight on how the financials from today get to the company’s long-term guidance.
And while it should go without saying, don’t trash your competitors — investors are looking for management actions to be positive and consistent with messaging.
Finally, make sure everyone on the management team who is present at the meeting is on the same page in terms of content and disclosure.
When it’s all over, be sure to gauge management’s performance and follow up on unanswered questions. Ask for feedback from meetings via your IR firm or a sell-side salesperson. Keep track of past meetings and interactions, and once established, continue the dialogue to build on the relationship.
Need insight on how to shape your IR strategy? Westwicke can help. Made up of former senior-level Wall Street executives, ICR Westwicke specializes in the healthcare industry and provides management teams the attention and support they need to develop and execute capital markets and investor relations strategies. Get in touch to learn more.