With companies and investors working from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual investment conferences have witnessed a boom in interest.
OTC Markets Group says it is putting on additional events under its Virtual Investment Conferences (VIC) brand to keep up with demand. The financial market, which hosted 20 online conferences over the whole of last year, has run five in just the last three weeks.
Corporate and investor involvement is also up. For example, the Metals & Mining Virtual Investor Conference in May featured 32 company presentations, compared with 15 in 2019, according to OTC Markets. The average attendance figure for each presentation, including live and archived views, rose by 105 percent, it adds.
‘With Covid-19 and the cancellation of many conferences in the past quarter and out through the end of the year, it’s definitely had an impact on our business in terms of interest,’ says John Viglotti, senior vice president of corporate services and investor access at OTC Markets.
The use of virtual events has shot up this year amid global lockdown and social distancing measures. Recent research by IR Magazine finds that 84 percent of IROs say they have either attended a virtual investor conference in 2020 or plan to.
While sell-side firms had to switch to an online model for conferences at short notice, OTC Markets already had a product in place. The operator of the OTCQX and OTCQB markets acquired VIC from PR Newswire at the start of 2019.
During the pandemic, OTC Markets has held additional events for companies in the cannabis, life sciences and metals and mining sectors. It has also put on two new international conferences: an Australian metals and mining event in May and a global conference in June.
‘From the issuer perspective, I think those dynamics point to the loss of traditional in-person non-deal roadshows [and] the cancellation of physical events,’ says Viglotti. ‘From the investor community, a lot of new investors have come into the marketplace, but I think the expanded work day of working from home probably contributes to the attendance numbers as well.’