Is your company struggling to connect with key analysts and investors in the capital markets? You are not alone. The crucial relationships that make all the difference to a public company’s trajectory are increasingly difficult to forge. Even large-cap companies are struggling. The root cause is the ongoing disruption impacting the capital markets. This disruption is the result of lower fees, higher compliance costs, market fragmentation, and growing regulatory hurdles. The number of professionals working on both sides of the street has shrunk dramatically. This has major implications for your company’s market access. Disruption, caused by new technologies and regulations, mean:
- Equity sales desks have shrunk to a fraction of their former size. As a result, new buy side relationships are more difficult to forge;
- Fewer analysts are stretched to cover more companies. This makes garnering and maintaining accurate research coverage a challenge;
- Funds have moved from active portfolio managers to passive investment vehicles. There are now fewer active portfolio managers to target; and
- Brokers are weighed down with new regulations and compliance requirements. There are fewer resources to apply to your story.
The onus falls to the company’s investor relations program to fill the void. This is why step 3 of the Premium Valuation Framework is to ensure companies are connected and reach the right people in the capital markets.
Connected – Reaching the right people in the capital markets
This element of the premium valuation framework should be thought of through the lens of a sales funnel. Effectively connecting a company to the capital markets involves:
- Identifying the right people in the capital markets. There is a different set of “right people” for each company. Who your company should target depends on the nature of its business, market size, capital structure, fundamentals, peer ownership, sustainability credentials, etc.
- Creating awareness through proactive outreach and passive digital channels.
- Qualifying targets through direct engagement.
- Nurturing relationships through introductions to management.
- Supporting evaluation efforts and model development.
Nurture targets through the sales funnel with the help of an investor relationship management platform such as BD Corporate.
Capital Markets Communication Platform
How do investors and analysts reach you? How do you reach them? With all the disruption facing the capital markets, companies need a functioning communication platform to support ongoing engagement. Surprisingly, even the platforms of large cap companies are often broken and fail to disseminate information appropriately.
Our first step is to audit our clients’ communication and investor relationship management platforms to ensure they are functioning properly. Beyond the savings that often results from this discovery process, these platforms are essential to overcoming existing market barriers.
Getting the basics right
If you are not getting the basics right then you are creating barriers to connecting with the capital markets. Companies should provide:
- A direct e-mail and phone line for your investor relations in every news release,
- A modern mobile responsive website, and
- An automated news release and SEDAR/EDGAR filing system.
Investor Relationship Management Systems
An investor relations management system (IRMs) is indispensable for targeting and maintaining the right sell-side and buy-side relationships. If you do not regularly use an investor relations management system, then you do not have an investor relations function.
Basic IRMs Functions:
At its most basic, an investor relations management system should provide the following:
- A sell-side research analyst database;
- A buy-side portfolio manager database;
- Fundamental and quantitative targeting capability;
- An integrated relationship management system (with email functionality);
- Targeting, tracking and measurement functions;
- Public company ownership information; and
IRMs vary in terms of their user interface and each come with a different set of bells and whistles. However, your most important consideration should be the accuracy and breadth of the contact database and public company ownership data. In addition, some IRMs have a better setup for investor relation workflows than others.
IRMs In Practice:
A properly configured IRMs will be the focal point of your company’s IR activities. It is also an integral part of your company’s corporate memory, and an essential element for proxy solicitation. You will use your IRMs to:
- Target new sell-side and buy-side leads;
- Segment your audiences based on their stage of engagement (Think again of the sales funnel)
- Communicate via e-mail with your buy-side and sell-side contacts;
- Record your interactions for corporate memory;
- Track whether your leads convert to an investor or an analyst;
- Measure the outcomes and effectiveness of your investor relations efforts;
- Assist your broker-dealers in arranging roadshows with institutional investors; and
- Repel activist investors and hostile takeovers through immediate access and communication with your retail and institutional investors.
If you are not using an IRMs, you’re missing the key to targeting and nurturing analyst and investor relationships.
To overcome the disruption in the capital markets, public companies must ensure their communications reach beyond their current contacts. In addition to a properly functioning IRMs, and passive digital marketing, the investor relations team must proactively reach out to portfolio managers on the buy-side and analysts on the sell-side.