Aspirin and passports: An IR roadshow checklist
For IR advisory firm Fineo’s president Anne Guimard, in order for a roadshow to produce a tangible return on investment it must be about more than investor targeting or investor diversity, or even maintenance of the investor base.
‘What is most important is that you gather intelligence to feed back into company strategy, to influence strategic thinking at the highest level,’ she says. ‘The most valuable information is that collected on the competitive landscape, on overall market sentiment – for your business model and for the business region – and on competitive opportunities. After all, it is likely your audience has also recently met with your closest competitors.’
Guimard also notes that roadshows should not just be about presentations. ‘Conversations are much more important than presentations,’ she explains. ‘Investors reiterate so often to us that it is all about dialogue, and this can be at the IRO level, not just with the CEO.’
On a more practical level, Guimard provides an international roadshow checklist from her book Investor relations: principles and international best practices in financial communications.
Don’t forget (to name just a few):
• Your passport (and a copy of it)
• Memory sticks with your presentation and other documentation
• At least one hard copy of your presentation
• Foreign currencies
• Aspirin, vitamin C
• Business cards
• Cellphone chargers, batteries, electrical adapters.
Take into account:
• Time zones
• Cultural differences
Audra Capas, president of 5StarPR, recommends planning eight weeks ahead. ‘Put together the smoothest, most concise – maximum 15-minute – presentation possible, in plain, simple English,’ she says. ‘Test it on non-technical, non-financial people: if they understand it, so will analysts, investors and reporters.’ And remember that it’s not just IROs who need to rehearse – it’s often busy executives who most need to practice. Capas also recommends that IROs call or write to analysts in advance to inquire about their specific information needs.
She has 12 top tips for ensuring roadshow success:
• Plan ahead
• Test your plain English presentation
• Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse
• Double-check the regulations on what you can and can’t say
• Save your most important audiences for the middle and end of the roadshow
• Visual aids work so bring samples and demos
• Don’t just dump data on your listeners – talk to them
• Study investor presentations from your peer companies
• Provide proof points and customer testimonials, not just financial information
• Only present to analysts covering your industry
• Target investors carefully, don’t just assume
• Send handwritten, post-roadshow notes to analysts.
And those handwritten notes? Most appreciated when they come from top management.