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Dec 02, 2021

Bank of America Merrill Lynch tops list for virtual roadshows as brokers adapt to Covid-19 restrictions

IR Magazine research shows brokers most used for virtual roadshows are same as those for pre-pandemic in-person roadshows

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) is the most-used broker for virtual roadshows, according to the 12th annual Global Roadshow Report from IR Magazine. It not only tops the list globally, but also shares pole position in the rankings across each of the key regions of North America, Europe and Asia.

JPMorgan Chase, Citi and Morgan Stanley are the next most-used brokers after BofAML globally. All three feature in the top 10 most-used brokers for each region, with Citi sharing the top spot in Asia and JPMorgan Chase the joint most-used broker in both Europe and Asia.

Research was conducted among IROs in Q3 2021, so the report spans a time period that falls completely under the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Going on the road in person was not an option for the vast majority of companies during this time so they had to turn to the virtual format to keep their roadshow programs active.

What stands out from these findings is how much the top brokers have adapted to this shift in demand from in-person to virtual roadshows: all four of the most-used brokers for virtual roadshows over the past year featured in the top four most-used brokers for in-person roadshows before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. And all but one of the 10 most-used brokers for virtual roadshows in 2021 were in the pre-pandemic top 10 for in-person roadshows.

This is good news for the traditional top brokers. Such disruption as caused by Covid-19 can often lead to new market entrants capitalizing on the fresh opportunities presented, while established operators in the market fail to adapt to the new realities. Yet the one new broker to feature in the top 10 this year – US-based Stifel – had already established itself pre-pandemic as the most-used broker among North American companies in 2019.

The reassurance and reliability businesses often seek in times of crisis can go some way to explaining the established top brokers maintaining their success. Another factor could be that the infrastructure and knowledge available within large broker houses enables them to quickly transition to the virtual format.

But such abilities are not just useful in the short term while the pandemic continues to restrict travel. Further findings from the Global Roadshow Report indicate that four in five IROs believe the experience of Covid-19 will lead to a permanent change in roadshow activity, with more than a third strongly believing we will not see a return to the pre-pandemic norm.

This is backed up by research from Citigate Dewe Rogerson, which in its latest report finds 69 percent of IROs planning to maintain a hybrid model of engagement for the foreseeable future. With the virtual format expected to remain a key part of roadshow activity, established brokers have shown themselves more than capable of adapting to the new landscape.

Click here to read more and to download your copy of the Global Roadshow Report 2021.