EXTREME IR: Fast, Furious & Highly Connected

Extreme IR

After practicing investor relations for more than 20 years, I’m always excited to learn something new.  And, I did just that at the recent NIRI 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas.

The first thing I learned is that I love live tweeting.  Sending updates from the conference sessions I attended really made me feel connected (which makes sense given the theme of the conference, “EXTREME IR: Fast, Furious & Highly Connected”).  It was fun being able to spread the vast body of knowledge represented at the conference, so I thought I would recount those tweets here, verbatim, (in more than 140 characters) so that they reside in one handy place for easy reference by my fellow IROs.  If you attended and have any thoughts to add (or even if you didn’t attend and have any thoughts to add), please share them below in the comments section.

  1. Regardless of who is setting up investor meetings, be clear about goals and expectations before the outreach starts.
  2. $1 billion market cap is preferred by investors for European NDRS.  $5 billion for Asia.
  3. 83% of buy-side wants cos. to hold investor day yearly.  Only 35% of companies host one yearly.
  4. Almost half of global buy-side won’t invest w/o meeting mgmt.  35% won’t invest before an avg. of 3 interactions.
  5. Law says corporations can keep profits and use them as they see fit. Boards not required to maximize shareholder value. Hmmmm.  Chatter that institutions could share holdings every 30 days with the companies they own is palatable. Will it become a reality?
  6. CEO pay ratio disclosure will become a requirement in the fall and will take effect next year.  Of 75 in session, 31% give quarterly guidance, 45% annual, 15% multi-year, 9% other.
  7. If non-GAAP measures are used as basis for exec comp make sure they tie to your company’s business goals.
  8. Non-GAAP EPS most common non-GAAP measure seen by investor community based on recent survey.
  9. About 1/3 of 40 participants in today’s session on guidance post full transcripts of earnings calls on their websites
  10. Don’t assume index investors don’t have an active interest in governance issues.
  11. Use letter from the board in proxy statement to discuss thoughts on compensation, succession planning, etc.
  12. More sessions on activism than any other topic.  Clearly a hot button issue for IR today.
  13. Boards need to be aware of what investors think even if it’s hard to deliver negative news
  14. There is a difference between active investors and activist investors. The latter trying to force change.
  15. Number of people moving into IR from finance grew 60% y-o-y.  Field is obviously getting more competitive.
  16. IR Certification will likely require 3 years’ experience to qualify for exam.  A bachelor’s degree is also recommended.
  17. Body language is important.  Hedge funds actively learn about “tells” to read between the lines when meeting with management.
  18. Analyst Day info attendees want: new initiatives; access to mgmt.; forward looking guidance; current financials; product demos.
  19. Q&A is most important part of an Analyst Day according to a recent investor survey.

— Laurie Berman, lberman@pondel.com

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