Attending Wall Street investment banking conferences is a large part of a strategic investor relations plan. Along with non-deal road shows, management’s visibility and interaction with buy-side accounts during one-on-one meetings are critical for conveying your story to potential investors, addressing unanswered questions, and expanding on an investment theme. But, finding the appropriate conference strategy can be harder than it seems, especially when it comes to lining up a successful meeting schedule with key buy-side accounts.
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.
You are an executive at a development-stage life sciences company. You have just been through the intense and grueling process of completing your initial public offering. Congratulations. You must now look towards executing a strategic investor relations plan. Quickly, you are faced with a significant decision: Should our company host quarterly conference calls?
Ultimately, there are pros and cons associated with both options.
The story of development-stage biotech companies is one of continuous fundraising. Not until approved products generate enough revenue to ensure a degree of self-sufficiency can you take a break from raising capital.
This process can take many years and many companies won’t make it. Either they’ll be acquired along the way or their product will fail one or more clinical trials.
Not long ago I was surprised to discover that a client of mine that had recently completed a rebranding effort had sent out some messaging to investors under its former name. It turns out that the company was still using its old name with some audiences.
In this case, the company had good reasons to hold onto the benefits of its old brand, so it retained it as a subsidiary to its newly named parent company. And that’s not unusual. Many well-known brands or and products are owned by corporate parents you’ve never heard of (just as many well-known corporations have low-profile subsidiaries or product lines).
MiFID II is a term you are bound to hear more often over the second half of 2017. It is the European Union’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, a financial services regulation in the EU that will unbundle broker/dealer research and corporate access services from execution services. It is scheduled to become effective on January 3, 2018.
As an executive of an American public healthcare company, you might be asking yourself why you need to be aware of a European regulation. The answer: Because many major institutions operate on a global basis, the impact, while initially centered in Europe, will ultimately be felt in all corners of the global financial markets.
A lunch meeting with an investor provides the opportunity to interact in a more relaxed atmosphere than what you’ll find in typical investor meetings. It’s a chance to build rapport and get to know the investor better. It’s also a nice opportunity to strengthen your investment thesis by providing color and anecdotes supporting your strategic initiatives.
But just because it’s not a conventional business meeting doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. On the contrary, whether it’s with a potential new investor or an update with an existing investor, these informal situations include plenty of opportunities to make costly mistakes.
I have always found it interesting to discover what is on people’s minds in the moment and to delve into what keeps them up at night. So, I thought it would be useful to share the questions I have received recently from a mix of public and private biotech management teams, along with my responses.
Dining with one of your analysts can be nerve-racking, but it really doesn’t need to be.
Sharing a meal at a restaurant should make for a less formal meeting than one conducted in a boardroom. The mood should prove to be friendlier and less business-like, and conversations rarely venture deep into the numbers.
Over dinner, analysts frequently probe for “color” related to previously disclosed themes to gather the kind of details that can animate their coverage and talking points for investors.
In the 30-40 minutes that a typical investor meeting lasts, you need to accomplish several critically important goals. You must:
• Provide your audience with the investment merits of your company
• Answer their questions
• Inspire them to do more research into your market opportunity
If you fail to achieve these objectives, if the investor leaves the meeting without sufficient information and inspiration, then you’ve effectively wasted everyone’s time, including your own.
When it comes to dealing with investors and analysts, what you say can be every bit as important as what you do.
Effective communication can burnish your company’s image and help drive interest in your shares. Conversely, ineffective communication can undermine your reputation and distort even the strongest of investment stories.
To improve the likelihood that you’ll get your communication with investors and analysts right, let’s review some proven do’s and don’ts.