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Nov 04, 2021

IR Magazine Expert Focus: Corporate access at Raymond James & Associates

Mary Turnbull, managing director for corporate access at Florida-based Raymond James & Associates, shares her views and experiences

How did you come to focus more specifically on corporate access in IR? 

It was a career evolution: I had always worked in sales, trading or research roles so when this opportunity came to build the Raymond James corporate access program, my skills were a great fit. 

Is there such a thing as a typical day in your job? What are your go-to tasks each day? 

It changes every day – what I start working on is often not what I end the day having done. I spend most of my time talking with IR professionals on strategies for investor outreach. I also am in constant contact with the analysts in the sectors I cover, developing access strategies. A big part of my day is developing our strategy for conferences and events, and following rapidly changing protocols with regards to in-person meetings. 

What are some of the particular challenges you have to overcome in your role? 

Balancing many competing interests is one of the biggest challenges I face every day. The rapid pivot to virtual meetings – and now the slow pivot back to in-person meetings – has been the biggest challenge in my career. We have hosted smaller meetings over the last several months, and plan on returning to a more normal schedule in 2022. Virtual is actually harder to pull off than in person for conferences. We look forward to being back on site in our normal hotel venues.  

What are the main benefits of having a dedicated corporate access person in the IR team? 

Connecting with investors is very important to the C-suite. As such, making sure the right investors are on the schedule and that logistics run smoothly to maximize the executives’ time is key. 

How has your work changed since the start of the pandemic and how do you see corporate access evolving in the coming years? 

The basics of corporate access have remained the same: connecting corporate management teams with investors – but the ‘how’ has changed considerably. We learned through trial and error in the early days how to manage the virtual experience; it was bumpy early on! As we look to 2022, we are planning a hybrid schedule: some meetings and events will remain virtual, but the majority will return to an in-person format. Zoom can’t replace the face-to-face meeting or hallway conversations. 

Finally, what one piece of advice would you share with IR teams looking to improve their corporate access? 

Talk to everyone – sell-side analysts, corporate access teams, targeting services and peers –listen to their input and then take what works best for your company to create your outreach strategy. This is not one size fits all. And be flexible as we pivot back to in-person meetings.