“Analyst Day Do’s and Don’ts”
About 20 members of the Cincinnati Tri State Chapter of NIRI and their guests gathered at the Sharonville Sheraton on March 19 to discuss the “Dos and Don'ts” of hosting successful investor meetings. Tips included:
- Think about how often you host analyst meetings. Few of the companies represented at the NIRI meeting hold annual events. Some host meetings every other year, while others do it only when events or the need for “face time” warrant it.
- Face time is the most valuable aspect of the meetings. The presentations don't divulge new information (and if they do, you'll need to issue a news release and/or an 8-K), and chances are that analysts who follow you have heard all of the prepared remarks before. The informal time with officers and those not regularly in front of investors is the real benefit of the meetings, at least from an investors' perspective. Be sure to schedule such informal time in your agenda.
- Because of the importance of informal interaction – and because of the risk that can pose for inadvertent selective disclosure – PREP EVERYONE WHO WILL COME IN CONTACT WITH INVESTORS, and have your attorneys present during the prep work. Officers and other company representatives appreciate the extra help.
- The voice of the customer is another aspect that is appreciated by analysts at company meetings. It's a voice investors seldom get to hear, and it's something roundly applauded when they get the opportunity. Two companies represented noted that they had customer panels at their meetings, while another had videotaped testimonials.
- Some companies rotate locations for investor day, sometimes hosting them on home turf (or other company locations, such as key manufacturing locations) while other times taking the company to the analysts in New York or Boston. Regardless of where the event is held, most of the people at the NIRI meeting again recommended an informal social event, along with smaller breakout sessions if possible.
- While many attendees generally come away from investor meetings saying they didn't get much new information, they should leave the meetings with a better understanding of the company's fundamental business and strategies.
- The responsibility of planning and executing investor meetings sometimes falls to the IR folks but often is shared with the marketing department. Outside vendors also can provide extra hands with preparation, logistics and presentation development. Regardless of whether one person, a team of communications professionals or individual presenters prepare the presentations, it's important that the presentations fit together and do not duplicate content. Also, avoid last-minute slide changes! They can wreak havoc.
- Along those lines, know your vendors – law firms, accountants, public relations agencies, printers, etc. They can get you out of a jam if needed.
- Logistical tips included:
- Color-code nametags or lanyards so the company can easily identify members of the buy-side, sell-side, vendors and/or media
- Send invitations to one key contact per firm
- Schedule rehearsal time for all presenters and make sure everyone has drafts of all speeches before the rehearsal. Iron out any issues in the rehearsals.
- If you choose to invite media, hand-pick the reporters you want to attend, and invite them to join only the formal presentations, not the informal meetings or the break-outs
- Start planning the meeting at least six months out from the date
- Limit the time for formal presentations but build in plenty of time for informal interaction
- Don't be extravagant on the gifts for attendees; most can't accept anything over $30 or $50. They also will want to pay their own way for travel, hotel, etc.
- Keep plenty of food around…good meals, nice snacks, plenty of water and non-alcoholic beverages
- If you have new information or a revised outlook that you'll be discussing at the meeting, distribute a news release the night before so attendees have the new information before the start of the meeting. Include the news release in the packet of information you distribute at the event.
- Use questions on conference calls to help drive internal discussions on what to highlight at the meeting. For example, if there are several investor questions on the calls regarding one business division or a new product, work to increase understanding of that division or product at the investor meeting.
- Audio or videocast the presentations online
- Research shows that 40 percent of buy-side analysts make their decisions based on what they think of management as people. Your investor day should help investors know and understand your company, your products and services, and perhaps most importantly, your management team.
- After the meeting, summarize for management the key points in resulting research reports. In your wrap-up report, also discuss attendance; review ratings changes, if any; compare the stock price before and after the meeting and thank management for participating.
The next meeting will focus on effective interaction with the buy-side. The chapter will meet May 15 at Procter & Gamble; time to be determined.