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Updated by Douglas Johnson on Aug 07, 2018
Headline for Ten Tips for Profitable Roadshow Communications
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Ten Tips for Profitable Roadshow Communications

Roadshows remain the classic means of introducing financial offerings to investors. They offer color and texture to investor discussions, while providing assurance of deal integrity to those who control capital-allocation decisions. Our planning-and-meeting experience has taken us to all corners of the world. That has taught us a few things about making sure roadshows are worth the time and cost outlays.



Avoid Most Acronyms

Australia’s GFC (global financial crisis) and India’s PMS (portfolio management service) are not generally recognized elsewhere in the world. Stay away from the temptation to use these types of abbreviations, especially in written communication. About the only one we use in our reports and emails is IMF, because of its broad acceptance.


Leave Sarcasm at Home

Certain styles of humor and wit translate poorly with some audiences. Never say anything that could be considered derogatory. We once had a client say to an investor, “Your country is uglier than I imagined.” The ensuing silence was deafening.


Consider the Portfolio Context

Investors, especially in non-traditional markets, view the world from the perspective of their home-market biases. Risk reduction is usually less interesting than return enhancement. Even today, double-digit returns are more common in the developing world than many investors based in mature economies understand.


Express Yourself Simply

One of the hardest things we have ever done as a firm is market convertible arbitrage as an investment strategy. Theta and vega are probably lost on someone based in a market where there is no liquid market for fixed-income securities. Be prepared to educate and explain.


Banish Industry Jargon

Words like “optimize,” “risk-on,” and “black swan” are overused. Worse yet, they may have no meaning in some geographies. You may read the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal daily; a pension fund executive in Saudi Arabia may have other priorities.


Remember No One Owns English

English is an official language of about 60 nations, from Antigua to Zimbabwe. But accents, pronunciations, and idioms can vary considerably. Every nation spawned by the British Empire has as much right as any other to claim its version of English as standard. Open your ears to local lingo.


Honor Most Questions

 Investment professionals speak their own language. Americans in particular are legendary for getting irritated when understanding is lost. The condition is made worse by jet-lag. Be thoughtful—and slow down—when someone asks a question. A young analyst may not understand what a “PE” is because he has always called it a “price-to-earnings ratio.”


Beware the PowerPoint

Most PowerPoint presentations fail to achieve their goal. When using visual material in a meeting, be sure to remember that you want your ideas to be the focus, not the material itself. Otherwise, your audience will simply disregard you and your accent in favor of your nice charts. Hefty documentation can be used effectively as a follow-up step.


Define Due Diligence Liberally

Investors in developed economies tend to view “due diligence” as a precise process involving a questionnaire and a site visit. Many investors based in non-traditional markets broaden the definition to include relationship development.


Read Local Media

Make a point of picking up the local English-language newspaper; you may even get it for free on your inbound flight. Or browse local internet coverage. Time spent with analysis of domestic and international issues—from the local perspective—will inform your own worldview and help with conversational connections.

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    Investment banker and portfolio strategist. The Wall Street that I know works relentlessly for clients until they succeed. I forge opportunities with high-risk assets worldwide.

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