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Westwicke Blog

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.

Earnings Calls: The 4 Most Common Mistakes

Posted on May 18th, 2016. Posted by

Earnings Calls Mistakes

Thousands of public companies have just released their quarterly earnings and held those dreaded earnings calls – far more dreaded for those whose numbers missed estimates. While they’re not much fun for anyone, it can’t be overstated how important earnings calls are for your reputation as a leader and for the prospects for your stock.

The call is your chance to communicate your story to the world, to put your perspective formally into the public record. And it’s your investors’ and analysts’ chance to seek clues about your future prospects. In short, the call is something you just can’t afford to mess up.

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The Four Essential Elements of the Optimized IR Website

Posted on May 11th, 2016. Posted by

Optimize IR Website

Your company’s investor relations website is one of your most important tools for communicating with existing shareholders and attracting new ones. Yet too often the IR website is neglected, with outdated or irrelevant information, multiple versions of the same document, and obsolete design.

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The Perfect Earnings Call: Your 5-Week Prep Plan

Posted on May 4th, 2016. Posted by

Earnings Call Prep

Over the last 20 years, I have listened to hundreds of earnings calls. As a sell-side analyst, they were a routine and not-much-fun part of the job. Four times a year, you lock yourself in your office and listen to call after call of management teams highlighting their achievements or trying to sugar coat the not-so-positive news.

Most of the calls were pretty standard, and came off as well thought-out and comprehensive. But every so often you would hear that call where the sell-side analysts are unforgiving in their questions and the tone is so negative you almost feel badly for the management team. In my role here at Westwicke Partners, I’ve learned what really goes on behind the scenes to make those effective earnings calls appear effortless: a lot of hard work and practice starting about a month ahead of time. Who would have ever thought?

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Buy-Side Perspectives: Should You Meet With Hedge Funds?

Posted on April 20th, 2016. Posted by

Meet with Hedge Funds

In the world of small-cap healthcare, we have observed that the class of asset managers who are collectively referred to as “hedge funds” are often viewed negatively by executive management teams, particularly those that are new to the public markets.

This tendency is understandable in light of the fact that hedge funds, as a whole, most often attract media attention when they’ve disclosed a sizable position in a company with activist intentions (“corporate raiders”), or when they’ve come under the scrutiny of regulators. These high-profile examples distort the public perception of hedge funds overall.

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The IPO Window May Be Reopening: 5 Things to Do Now

Posted on April 13th, 2016. Posted by

IPO Window

So you thought you were on the fast track to go public. You selected underwriters, increased investor outreach, prepared the organization, and probably attended a few conferences. But suddenly the markets turned, volatility came back, and the IPO window closed!

This is exactly the scenario that many companies have been facing this year. The NASDAQ Index is down 1.6% and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index is down 20.8% year to date — not exactly ideal conditions to take your company public. However, sentiment has been improving recently, and the Volatility Index is at lower levels. The IPO window may indeed reopen soon, and if your goal is to go public when it does, we encourage you to use this time proactively.

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Investor Conferences: A Strategic Guide for Public Companies

Posted on April 6th, 2016. Posted by

Investor Conferences

It would be great if you could attend every investor conference you’re invited to. After all, they’re an excellent way to tell your story, deepen your relationships with analysts who cover you, begin new relationships with analysts who don’t yet cover you, and ultimately target and attract new investors.

But it’s impossible for any public company to go to all of them. There are more than 100 Wall Street conferences in healthcare alone, and many more focused on growth-oriented companies of any industry.

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How to Write Your Annual Letter to Shareholders

Posted on March 16th, 2016. Posted by

Annual Letter to Shareholders

Warren Buffet makes news each year for his letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. By employing his uniquely wry and contrarian style and by covering many topics that have little direct bearing on Berkshire’s results or prospects, Buffet has taken one of the staple obligations of a public company CEO, and turned it into something much larger — a kind of State of the Union from the desk of one of our most important business leaders.

It’s impressive. And as you get ready to release your own annual letter, you may be tempted to take a page from the Buffett playbook and offer your shareholders a bit of your own wit and wisdom.

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What Public Companies Should Do in a Volatile Market

Posted on March 9th, 2016. Posted by

What Public Companies Should Do in a Volatile Market

Let’s be honest: Market conditions have been hostile to most industries this year, and the healthcare sectors have been victimized along with all the rest. These are not easy days to be the chief executive or chief financial officer of a public company, and you may be feeling pressure to take action to drive your share price up despite the headwinds.

It’s been several years since Wall Street last saw a period of sustained bearishness — long enough that some of today’s public companies have actually never been through such a difficult time. A lot of companies are hitting the panic button. We recommend the opposite.

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Non-Deal Road Shows: A Leading Investor’s Top 5 Tips

Posted on March 2nd, 2016. Posted by

Non-Deal Road Shows

As an institutional sales person covering the Boston region for over 15 years, I have sat through countless non-deal road show meetings with investors. The best-managed and most insightful meetings I witnessed were with a small-cap growth portfolio manager who ran over $4 billion in mutual fund assets.

While past posts on non-deal road shows have addressed their benefits, and on how to make them effective for the company seeking investment, this time I would like to consider the long-term investor’s perspective. What are their expectations and what do they hope to accomplish through these meetings? I have summoned the views of the previously mentioned PM and would like to share them with you:

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Do You Have a Review Process for Public Communication?

Posted on February 17th, 2016. Posted by

Public Communication

I’ve written before on collaboration between the information “silos” that exist within some organizations and why it is important to establish — and stick to — an internal control process for issuing public information. The other morning, I was reminded why this is so important … and the consequences of what can happen when it breaks down.

Shortly after market open, I received a call from a CFO saying he was surprised by a press release that his company had issued pre-market, about which he was already getting calls from analysts with questions. He had to go to his own company’s website to see what had been released. My second call was from the General Counsel of that same company asking how they could add a Forward Looking Statement paragraph on a material release that had already been issued, as well as make corrections to outdated language in the “About the Company” section.

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