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New York – if IROs make it there, they’ll make it anywhere

Which institutions should you visit in New York? How should you manage your schedule? Where should you stay? Top tips from IROs themselves on how to manage a New York roadshow are reported by Charlie Hamlyn.

As part of our ongoing research partnership with the IR Society, QuantiFire recently undertook a study that combined the collective wisdom and experience of IROs to review New York as a roadshow destination. We were interested to find out how companies are targeting investors, how they are managing their trips and what advice and tips they would give to other IROs who might be planning a trip to New York.

This write-up of the findings is therefore drawn from responses that were obtained from a wide cross-section of IROs and is not based on the opinions of the author or any other third party.

We intend to repeat this research on a quarterly basis to coincide with the publication of Informed. The roadshow destinations that we research in future will be chosen by IROs who responded to the previous study and so, by popular demand, the next location that we research will be… Boston.

Respondents will also receive a ‘Roadshow Pocketbook’ that contains a full breakdown of the results for the location that they have contributed to. However, for this inaugural study, the New York Roadshow Pocketbook will be available to all readers upon request. 

Targeting in New York
Investor targeting and meeting planning needs to be undertaken more carefully in New York than in cities such as Chicago or Boston. This is because the large number of hedge funds in New York City means that there is a greater risk of having a day of unfruitful meetings, if the targeting work isn’t on point.

A good starting point is to target the smaller number of traditional investment managers that have larger funds with EMEA remits. One approach is to anchor a New York roadshow around a couple of high-quality long-only investors, thus ensuring that this longer-term money has priority placing in the schedule.

However, there is some consensus that it would be a mistake to assume that all hedge funds should be avoided. Whilst you might want to avoid some of the more aggressive funds (unless you particularly need short-term investors), New York’s hedge fund community can be a very good source of insight as well as investment and should not be ignored. The key is to make sure that your brokers don’t overfill the agenda with institutions that you don’t know, or where there is not a confirmed interest in your company.

Another good idea is to liaise with the sales team of the organising broker, who can provide excellent insights into the different fund strategies of target investors. For example, as one IRO commented, it is worth putting the time in to understand the different pools of capital at Capital…

We asked IROs which institutions they would recommend visiting on a trip to New York. The top three recommended institutions were OppenheimerFunds, Neuberger Berman and TIAA CREF. We also asked which New York investors they would describe as a ‘hidden gem’. The investor with the most mentions for this was Epoch Investment Partners.

Managing your schedule
A top tip is to take your time and make sure that the schedule is not too crowded. You are unlikely to have more than five quality meetings per day. Perhaps plan two days to see the main institutions.

Many IROs feel that group meetings work well in New York, especially for smaller/hedge funds. It is also popular to make efficient use of time by hosting a group lunch and/or a group breakfast at the broker’s office (albeit there is some experience of early morning sessions being less well attended). Consider inviting out-of-town firms from New Jersey/Connecticut to these. The larger ones, such as Lord Abbett and Franklin Mutual may also be willing to attend one-on-one meetings at the broker’s offices.
Finally, remember that your roadshow schedule needs adequate breaks between meetings as it can take a long time to get access to investors' buildings. As a rule, aim to start early and finish early.

Logistics and planning
If possible, arrive a day early to help with jetlag. You’ll have a quicker drive into Manhattan if you fly into LaGuardia Airport, albeit this is only possible if you are on a domestic flight or flying in via Toronto (which is also easier at immigration). If you are flying via JFK or Newark, expect immigration to be slow and allow plenty of time to get from the airport to downtown.

The heavy traffic in New York is a recurring issue and it is important to factor this into your plans in order to avoid the stress of arriving late. In particular, make sure the structure of your day does not involve going from midtown to downtown and back again. If you can, try to avoid travelling into the financial district/Battery Park. Alternatively, you can avoid sitting in traffic altogether by structuring investor meetings as a reverse roadshow, basing yourself in the same location (typically, the broker’s office) and having investors come to you…

Because of the traffic issue, it doesn’t always make sense to rely on taxis and/or a driver to get around. A lot of funds are close together and it is often easier and quicker to walk, depending on the time of year. If you do intend to travel by taxi, by paying in cash you will avoid the extra 10-15% that it costs to pay by credit card.
Try not to leave the city after 4.30pm to catch an evening flight or if you do, leave plenty of time to get to the airport.

Where to stay and eat
For roadshow visits it is a good idea to book a hotel that is located centrally to mitigate problems with traffic. Similarly, if you are attending a conference try to book a hotel that is close enough to walk from.

The cost of flights to New York and of hotels when you get there can be very high, so it is often worth booking early. Furthermore, paying a high price for a hotel in New York does not always guarantee good quality; try to get a recommendation if you are unsure about where to stay. The most popular hotel among the IROs that contributed to our research is the Lotte New York Palace.

Many of the better restaurants are really busy and you are unlikely to be able walk in and get a table without a booking. You should always plan ahead and make reservations for dinners and lunches. Opentable.com is one of several services that provides a convenient solution for booking meals in advance. STK Steakhouse is a popular restaurant that is recommended in our research.

Preparing for meetings
Getting into the building where your meeting is can take quite a bit of time. You should assume that photo IDs will be required to get past reception desks in all buildings and keep your passport with you.

Investors in New York do a lot of pre-meeting preparation. Meetings are generally shorter and more abrupt than in Europe and less relaxed than in Chicago or Boston. Management should expect this and needs to be tight on messaging and the investment case. They also need to be prepared for rapid-fire questions, including on financials/commercials.

Other tips:

I would like to thank all of the IROs who contributed to this New York ‘Roadshow Round-up’ research and I hope that this write-up has provided one or two useful tips.
As mentioned above, the full results will shortly be published in the form of a ‘New York Roadshow Pocketbook’, containing the full list of recommended investors, hotels and restaurants, with accompanying profiles and maps etc. To register to receive your copy please contact either myself or Laura Hayter at the IR Society.

Charles Hamlyn is founder and managing director of QuantiFire. charles.hamlyn@quantifire.co.uk

Published: 27 March, 2017