The key components for a great investor meeting
This article was produced by ELITE Connect and originally published on the ELITE Connect platform
Facilitating investor meetings is one of the oldest and most basic of IR functions. But balancing company time, resources and budget constraints with investors’ appetite to ensure a successful outcome can be a tricky affair. Basak Kotler, director of IR at Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, and Rosie Wilkins, senior IR manager at BT, share their views, experiences and tips.
The most fundamental factors in the success of an investor meeting are research and knowledge, according to Wilkins, who observes that IROs need to ensure both parties are mutually familiar with their respective counterpart. ‘If an investor is meeting with management, the IR team has a responsibility to make sure that investor is educated enough about the company before the meeting to ensure that it’s an effective use of management time’ she says.
‘Similarly, management needs to be provided with all the facts about the investor so it can go into the meeting with a strong knowledge base – what that investor’s style of investment is, what areas it has focused on in the past, and what issues it may have questions on.’
Agreeing with Wilkins, Kotler says: ‘It’s important to know as much as possible about the individuals you are meeting, especially if you haven’t met them before. If you can get some insight into their level of knowledge, their investment style and even the themes they are interested in, you can have a more impactful meeting.’
The use of online tools and new technologies can also help in the quest for a great investor meeting, especially when it comes to carrying out crucial background research. Kotler points to a growing trend for investors to arm themselves with vital information, gleaned online, before meetings take place.
‘We’re increasingly finding that investors make use of the results slides and call transcripts we regularly update on our website’ she says. ‘This creates efficiencies because it means that time during face-to-face meetings can be spent on more strategic issues, rather than short-term trading conditions and financial results.’
Considering the future, neither expert foresees a slowdown in demand for management time, especially with the demands of new regulation. ‘With Mifid II and the changes at broking firms, IR teams are carrying more of the weight than ever before, as direct engagement with institutions becomes more frequent and more ad hoc,’ says Kotler. ‘While investors will always prefer to talk to management, we are finding that the offer of a meeting with IR is also welcome.’
Wilkins agrees and observes an increasing trend for different areas of the investor base to become involved in meetings. ‘We’ve seen increased demand for meetings over the past few months. This is probably, in part, due to recent company announcements, but we don’t see this direct demand slowing down and it may well be exacerbated by Mifid II – only time will tell,’ she says. ‘We are seeing multi-faceted meetings becoming more commonplace; investors across different asset classes are tending to host meetings together, along with those that have more of a governance focus.’
For Kotler, going back to basics is the key factor to investor meeting success. ‘A great investor meeting is all about communication – sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not,’ she says. ‘IR needs to understand the investor’s information needs and meet that need with a message that is honest, understood and retained.’
For Wilkins, it’s recognizing the importance of the two-way information flow: ‘People often underestimate the value investor meetings can provide in terms of imparting market feedback. Essentially, by listening to investors, management can obtain an outside perception of its company that can be relayed back up to board level.’