Over the past few months, much has been made of the new MiFID II regulation and the impact it will have on Wall Street, and ultimately, public companies. While it has been in effect since the beginning of the year, we’ve only just begun to experience the impact. We’ve heard stories of lower trading commissions to Wall Street firms; seen buy-side accounts changing the way they compensate sell-side analysts; and caught wind that some of the largest buy-side firms are building out their own corporate access departments.
Many of the MiFID II-related news articles published to date are vague and draw uncertain conclusions about its impact. With that in mind, we want to take this opportunity to outline exactly how we think MiFID II will play out, and provide guidance to senior management to help them thrive under this new world order. Here’s how we see this new regulation snowballing in the coming months.
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.
At some point during your company’s growth, you will need to share sensitive data with investors and financial professionals by using a data room. In the old days, a data room was just that: a room filled with printed files and reams of paper containing patent descriptions, clinical data, and financial projections.
Today, data rooms are usually virtual. And with hackers increasing their efforts (and their ability) to steal sensitive data, it’s vital you consider security as well as service and convenience as you evaluate data room solutions.
With our colleagues at NASDAQ, we recently co-hosted an informational luncheon for private-company CEOs and CFOs on the IPO process. Guest speakers included a life science venture capital investor and a CFO of a company that went public in 2016.
The management teams in the audience for the well-attended event had plenty of questions for our guests, on everything from how to prepare for an IPO to avoiding pitfalls to making the transition to being a public company.
Our speakers had much to say. Below are a few of their most important pieces of advice:
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 film “Peter’s Friends,” Rita Rudner’s character, the star of a fictional sitcom, turns to her husband at the airport and laments, “You know what I hate about being a public figure? The public.”
I’m sure many executives running public companies have shared a similar sentiment from time to time.
The good news is that, alongside your trusted investor relations counsel, there is a group of professionals who can act as a barrier between you and the mass of institutional and private investors, namely sell-side research analysts.
There’s never a better time than the present to chart your investor interaction strategy over the coming months. What investors do you still need to meet with this year – including follow-ups to initial meetings you’ve already held, and meetings with new investors with whom you haven’t yet connected?
Do you have plans for which conferences to attend, new KOLs to contact, or for attracting new sell-side research?
Of course, all of this consideration needs to be prioritized within the context of your company’s upcoming catalysts: clinical trial progress, data readouts, product approvals, product launches, potential financings, growth target bogeys, and other various metrics investors will use to gauge your progress.
Development-stage healthcare companies typically need to raise money every one to two years. As they grow, they typically attract larger and more varied forms of financing until the time comes for them to either be acquired or go public. Many companies will opt to run a dual-track strategy at such a time to maximize the value that has been created.
But what if the market isn’t quite ready for your IPO, as we saw throughout most of 2016? How can you keep your development engine running while waiting for the right market conditions to make your debut as a public company?
Failing to plan, the old saying goes, is planning to fail. This is certainly true when it comes to your investor relations strategy. Yet even though strategic planning is every bit as important to your IR success as it is for every other part of your business, we find that many companies fail to plan correctly, if they plan at all.
IR planning is about delivering the right story to a well-defined audience, and about refreshing your message in a way that will continue to resonate with investors. Every good annual plan starts with the same question: What do you want to be different at the end of the year? So it’s vital to articulate your goals before formulating a strategy.
As part of our Investor Relations Luncheon Series, we recently hosted a select group of biotechnology executives for a discussion with David Nierengarten and Heather Behanna, biotech analysts with Wedbush. The theme of the lunch was “How Best to Engage with Research Analysts.”