We’ve met with plenty of companies over the years that are unsatisfied with the service they’re getting from their existing investor relations advisor (and some of them are happy clients of ours today). In many cases, they really weren’t getting great service. But all great relationships are two-way streets. So to ensure that you have the best possible relationship with your partner, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind.
The Westwicke Blog is designed to deliver information and insights into the ever-changing world of investor relations and the capital markets, with a specific focus on the healthcare industry.
With the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference quickly approaching (again), it is now time to start your planning for one of the most important healthcare events of the year. It is not too early to secure your meeting and sleeping space, refresh your messaging for your meetings with investors, analysts, bankers and strategists, and start the outreach to lock in your schedule with the folks you want to spend time with. As you well know, most people involved with healthcare will attend this event and being more organized than the next guy may be the reason you achieve your strategic goals for attending this important event. The J.P. Morgan event is so important, in fact, that I asked our team for their best advice in preparing for the show.
We’re often asked by clients and others for ideas on how to liven up their earnings calls. And that’s understandable. Nobody loves earnings calls. They’re tedious, repetitive, and (if things in your business are going as they should) they offer few surprises.
So the desire to make your earnings calls more compelling is certainly reasonable. Still, we always recommend that companies think carefully before they change any aspect of their usual call process just for the sake of change.
Your investor presentation is one of the first things that investors and analysts look for (along with SEC filings) when trying to get up to speed on your company. It’s often the first chance to tell your story in a crafted manner.
In other words, it’s crucial.
While the window for IPOs has been closed for most of this year, there have been signs of hope recently, with several transactions being priced. However, some bankers we speak to think it may not be until early 2017 that the overall market for life sciences companies really comes back.
Although disappointing for management teams that are trying to responsibly conserve their cash until better days, we think the wait could actually be a good thing for many companies. The extra time allows you to better polish your story and message, and build critical new relationships with potential investors. We think the remainder of 2016 is a pivotal time to be busily prepping ahead of a potential upturn in the market.
One of the more common things we hear from current and prospective clients is their desire to get more coverage from the sell side. This is particularly the case when the company is smaller in size, is a “restart,” or is an international company looking to list on one of the U.S. stock exchanges. Here are a few things to consider as you look to expand your sell-side coverage.
The Division of Corporation Finance (the Division) is a branch of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that supports the SEC’s mission to “protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation.” Among its duties, the Division “provides interpretive assistance to companies with respect to SEC rules and forms and makes recommendations to the Commission regarding new rules and revisions to existing rules.” This duty is performed, in part, through the issuance of Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (or “C&DIs”) on a variety of subjects.
In investor relations, credibility is everything. When your authority is damaged, everything you tell the Street will be filtered through the jaded minds of professional skeptics who remember your past failure to deliver, or a time they felt misdirected. That’s why it’s vital to maintain a constant focus on sustaining and growing your level of trust with investors.
If you are a healthcare company executive who is contemplating, in the process of, or has completed an IPO, chances are you have met with a number of investment banks. In these meetings, each bank shows a varying number of league tables that position the bank in a positive light relative to its peers. The data presented is useful for finding banks active in your space, but the parameters defining the table can be adjusted to portray any institution in a position of relative strength. The bottom line is that investment banks are good at what they do, and all of their bankers are bright, diligent, capable, client-focused, and extremely hard-working professionals. Without these attributes, they would not be in such a role.
The goal of exemplary investor relations at any publicly listed company should be the achievement of a fair market valuation. However, for those working in an IR function for a biotech firm, it’s important to understand that how the market values your company will be quite different from how it values any other.
While companies in every other industry are valued based on their expected profitability compared with cash flows and other potential investments, biotechs are typically expected to lose money in the short- and medium-term, attaining profitability only a long time into the future. And that future is subject to a substantial amount of risk.