Roche on the road

Nov 29, 2011
<p>The pharmaceutical giant mixes up institutional and retail targeting while on the road in the US</p>

Nina Goworek, an IR officer for Roche, is on the road several days a month explaining the Swiss-based pharmaceutical giant to US institutional investors in money centers across North America. But, at the same time, the IR effort is not overlooking individual investors.

‘As times are getting tougher, a lot of companies are focusing on institutional investors,’ Goworek observes after a presentation to a CFA society luncheon in Minneapolis. ‘But we think it’s important’ to also reach out to retail investors, she adds.

Goworek joined Roche in 2008 specifically to become part of the US-based IR team, after four years as an IR analyst at Schering Plough.

With an undergraduate degree in finance from Rutgers University, she was brought on board specifically to take the message beyond the tier one institutions to financial advisors, smaller institutions, private wealth managers and high net worth individuals.

Her company benefits from targeting individuals because they tend to be longer-term investors, and it also helps to diversify the shareholder base, she explains.

As part of the outreach effort, Goworek reaches out to retail investor groups such as the American Association of Individual Investors, regional retail investor conferences such as The Money Show, and some advertising in investment magazines such as Better Investing, Kiplinger and Research Magazine.

Brand advocate

Though she’s unconvinced about the benefits of advertising, she is an enthusiastic advocate of direct contact with retail investors, as much as anything to promote the corporate brand.

For example, Roche’s products that allow diabetes patients to monitor their blood sugar levels are better known under the brand name Accu-Chek than under the Roche brand.

‘In my opinion, consumer companies don’t need to do this [retail investor outreach],’ says Goworek. ‘They’re already a known brand.’

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche’s European-based IR team of six manages the majority of analysts and investor relations activity for the $140 bn market cap company, while the North America IR team of three professionals and one support person is responsible for the $3.5 bn ADR float.

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