How to prepare annual investor days & AGMs

Can you improve your annual investor day? Investor days, AGMs and Capital Market Days – for public quoted companies and private equity funds – are important for investors and analysts.

A well-run annual investor day can make a difference to investors and analysts and therefore to your share price, bond price or likelihood of re-investing.  We’ve been coaching management teams for better annual investor days for years.

What does a good annual investor day look like?

If you ask investors to describe good investor days, you will hear words like: ‘interesting’, ‘useful’, ‘valuable’, ‘reassuring’, ‘insightful’, ‘helpful’, ‘inspiring’ and ‘fascinating’. Based on 12+ years advising companies and funds, our team at Benjamin Ball Associates have identified seven ways you can improve your next investor day.

Better Investor Day Presentations

A great investor event can be transformational.

You can turn around doubters, clarify uncertainties and help people understand what makes your business special.

It a great opportunity – and some companies have better investor days than others. But, what is the difference between a great investor day and an average one? We asked a range of investors and analysts what they want from an investor day.  Their answers were pretty consistent.

Top requests about what questions a great investor event must answer included:

  1. Do you demonstrate you understand your market?

  2. Are you clear what makes you interesting to investors?

  3. Are you transparent about recent performance?

  4. Does it feel as if you are properly focused on the investor?

  5. Does it all feel right?

Now look at these comments again. What I find fascinating is how much weight is put onto subjective rather than objective issues: on impressions rather than facts. In all our work helping companies create better investor presentations, we spend most time working on the simple things.

Some simple ideas for better investor events

For example, it’s amazing how much difference a clear story can deliver.

We helped a a $1bn Finnish company a few years ago  prepare for their Annual Investor Event. With our help they saw a 10% uplift in their share price – despite no new news. It was the same information they had presented before, but structured clearly and presented persuasively.

And for some Private Equity firms, creating better investor days with clear messages makes the subsequent fundraising much easier.

So, next time you have an annual investor event, spend time to prepare and simplify your story and then make sure everyone who speaks is  confident and engaging.

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Seven ways to create successful annual investor days

1. Annual investor day tip: Teach, don’t tell

There is always a temptation to lecture investors – update them, inform them, tell them. Sometimes that’s appropriate, but too often that approach leads to dull presentations. Instead, have a teaching mindset. You are the expert on your business. For others to continue to believe in you, you need to teach them about your business.  And by teaching them, you help them see the business as you want them to see it. In this way, you can improve investor perceptions, feelings and confidence in your business. For example, use stories, examples, and case studies to bring your messages to life.

2. Annual investor day tip:  Help investors report back to their Investment Committees

Your investor or analyst will come to your meeting with a job to do:  report back. Most will need to write some sort of report – whether one line or 60 pages.

  • Are you making it easy for them to write that report? 
  • Is it clear what you are saying?
  • Do you give them the words to use and the best ways to speak about your business?
  • Have you used memorable metaphors and analogies?

If you make it easy to talk and write about you, you will get better understanding and stronger support.

3. Annual investor day tip:  Address investor concerns

This should be obvious, but it is often neglected. If investors have concerns, whether it’s about the market, competition, recent performance or unexpected news, you need to address them, proactively during the investor day. It’s a mistake to avoid bad news. Much better to address it head on and anticipate it.  And remember what you promised last year. The notes from your last investor day are the first thing that most analysts will read before this event.

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4. Annual investor day tip:  Don’t assume knowledge

One big mistake is to assume that investors know your company as well as you do. Some will know a lot, but for others it could all be very new. You will do better if you  start from the basics and remind them, quickly, what your business does and what’s special about you.  Using this approach you are giving your investors a reminder in your words, not their half-remembered interpretations.

5. Annual investor day tip:  Be interesting and memorable

To make something stand out and stick in the mind, you need to use the right tools. There’s a huge toolbox of techniques you can call on to give your investors something to take away and use to talk about you.  One of the most memorable events we saw was a food producer running a capital markets day in London.  Their big innovation that year was a giant pizza that captured a big market share.  So they flew over some chefs and pizza ovens to feed all the analysts and investors with fresh pizza. Be unusual and memorable.

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6. Annual investor day tip:  Improve impressions, don’t not just supply data

An investor day is about so much more than facts. An old saying we use is “facts get forgotten, stories get repeated”. That is because facts are meaningless without a story to describe them.  For example, 14, 35, 34, 16, 57, 41 are meaningless numbers.  But with an explanation such as ‘the combination to the safe’ or ‘next week’s winning numbers’ or ‘the grid reference for the pot of gold’ they instantly have meaning.

One of the first questions we ask our clients is: “describe the impression you want to leave with investors”.  Very often the senior team has not thought about this so we need to help them find the right idea.  But once you know what you want to achieve with investors, it’s much easier to find the messages, the stories, the theme of the day. From this solid base you can develop the individual presentations and show how they link into the main story. Tell a story; don’t dump data.

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7. Annual investor day tip:  Make the whole investor event enjoyable

The BBC’s old moto is to ‘Inform, educate and entertain’. You should aim to do the same in your investor days. Investors will remember you better if they have had an enjoyable experience. You can achieve this in a number of ways – for example the obvious: making interesting and relevant presentations, all delivered well. But you can also plan your event to be inspiring and enjoyable.  For example, are you giving investors a chance to meet the wider management team?  Are you showing them something new and exciting? And for today’s virtual settings it means rethinking how you run your event. Presentations will be shorter, what you say will be bigger and bolder, and you will need to fight harder to keep attention.

If they enjoy themselves, you will improve perceptions.

Best practice PE investor event planning  includes

  1. Have a clear theme for the day

  2. Structure the event so it gets more and more interesting as the day progresses

  3. Use video to help tell some of the more complex and remote stories

  4. Choose and train speakers so they come across as engaging and interesting

  5. Fully rehearse all the hardest parts of the event so that it runs smoothly and without a hitch.

How we  can improve your investor day

When we advise – public companies and private funds – on investor days and AGMs, support can vary from rehearsing the speakers to helping think through the whole event from beginning to end.  We categorise our support in three areas:

  1. Help you decide what you want to say – messaging
  2. Support you in polishing your presentations
  3. Rehearse and refine your performance

Next steps

Call us to discuss how we can help you run a memorable investor day, AGM or CMD. We’ll help your investors feel happy, confident, and excited about your future.

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About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates Team

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help clients to communicate better.

Over the years the BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present themselves to investors. You get access to a transformational toolbox of techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email louise@benjaminball.com to find out more and discuss your upcoming investor event.

Call now to improve your annual investor day

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