Know Who Knocketh

Groucho Marx

Groucho Marx (Photo credit: Paste Magazine)

We all are acutely aware that making money in this market is proving difficult, even for the most astute investors.  Everyone is elbowing their way through the crowds and looking to get a leg up on the competition.  A tour of investors to a client’s headquarters last week proved to me how things are getting a little out of hand.
Working closely with a reputable brokerage firm, we had planned for a group of about 30 investors to visit a client’s offices to meet with management and get a tour.  As the date drew near, we were informed that we could not have the list of attendees.  What?  Some of the attendees did not want anyone to know they would be there.  Really? This was communicated directly to the sales team that informed the higher echelon of the brokerage firm who laid down the law.  Really?  You have got to be kidding me.
Who has an event of this size and without knowing who is attending?  For that matter, who would meet with anyone without knowing who they are, why they are there, what they are looking for, and why this meeting could be of any value?  It’s tough enough to know whether the hedge fund manager sitting across from you is short or long on your stock, and now he/she doesn’t want to be identified?  Should we use a confessional to conduct investor meetings going forward?
Barring everyone is wearing Groucho glasses to hide their identities (which would just be funny), this simply is not acceptable.  Just as any investor wants a management team to be candid, clear and operate with the highest level of integrity, the converse also is true.  If an investor wants to skulk around to gain an edge on their own time, fine.  But if you request to meet with a management team, it only stands to reason that we know your name and where you work, at the very least.  Really.