Providing clarity in your equity story has never been more important to investor relations than it is now. It is easier than ever for investors to collate data from your communications and analyse it using computer algorithms. This is why you can’t afford inconsistencies and vague sentiments. You must make sure that you are proactive in presenting an engaging story that offers solid reasons for the judgements you take and the estimates you make. The perfect place to start telling this story is your half-year results meeting.
A half-year results meeting allows you to engage with your investors and keep them updated on your progress towards your goals. This breeds confidence if you are due to meet or exceed your targets, but also offers a chance to reassure shareholders that you have a strategy in place to head off any unexpected downturns in performance.
A PwC survey found that 90% of investors form an impression of the quality of an organisation’s management from the quality of its reporting. However, only 28% confirmed that they believed management at these organisations were transparent enough about the metrics they used to plan and manage the business. With these two statistics in mind, it is clear that IROs have a lot of work to do with their communications to instil trust and confidence in their current and future shareholders.
Should you webcast your half-year results?
Many major organisations are already discovering the benefits of webcasting their half-year reports.
- Stationery, lighter and shaver giant BIC recently made the decision to webcast its half-year results meetings in order to engage more stakeholders. The company wanted to be transparent with its investors, as well as to communicate its results to all the necessary stakeholders at the same time.Of its target group of stakeholders, spread across Europe and the US, BIC managed to reach 90% simultaneously, a result that would not have been possible with a physical-only meeting.
- In the past Dutch bank Rabobank used to organise a physical press conference, analysts’ presentation and follow-up video calls with board members to announce and clarify their results. By taking the whole event online and allowing journalists and shareholders to ask questions, the company ensured accuracy and increased the reach of its messaging, as well as increasing efficiency and cost savings.
Online half-year results events draw more investors in, allowing those who could not attend in person to find out the information they need as it is announced. Full live video events also create trust and inspire action. It also allows these events to take place in full, even with many parts of the world still experiencing COVID-19 restrictions relating to social distancing.
How to ace your half-year results meeting
Here are some steps you should take to ensure the success of your online half-year results meeting:
1. Understand the requirements
The first step to creating an impactful periodic investor relations webcasting event is to check that you meet the requirements in your local legislation and the laws in any other territories in which you have a presence.
This could dictate the nature of the event, the timings, the number of stakeholders you engage, the follow-up work you need to do and a number of other factors that contribute to the overall results meeting.
2. List the mission-critical tasks
In order to provide the best impression of the business, you must make sure you work through the mission-critical tasks required before the half-year results meeting. This includes:
- Informing the market of the date of the announcement
- Compiling a running order for the event
- Comparing your organisation’s results with the market
- Writing media releases to condense the results into easily digestible snapshots
- Creating the slides for the presentation
- Producing the financial tables for distribution to all stakeholders
- Listing disclosures relating to the results
- Collating analyst forecasts about the financial position of the company for the rest of the financial year and beyond
3. Establish meeting protocol
You should consider how the meeting will be conducted. This means thinking about how to ensure you provide the required clarity while enabling stakeholders to contribute or ask questions during the event. Although this interaction is important, it is also easy for it to dilute the experience and distract from the momentum of the meeting. So, this is where you should aim to strike a balance.
Using the example of Rabobank, the company chose to allow journalists to ask questions throughout the presentation using a one-to-one chat function, with investors making their queries afterwards in an integrated event call.
4. Decide on technology
How you host your half-year or annual results meeting depends on the requirements of your business. You can choose from these options:
|Type of meeting||Definition|
|In-person only||This is a traditional meeting where investors have to travel to the venue to attend. It means that many stakeholders are prevented from taking part, due to the location and, potentially, the timing of the event during the workweek.|
|In-person meeting that is streamed||This allows those who can’t attend the event to watch it as a live stream on their devices. However, they cannot contribute to the meeting as they would if they were there in person. They are merely passive observers.|
|Hybrid meeting||A hybrid meeting is one held in a physical location and with in-person attendees, but which also allows remote participation. Online attendees can ask questions through the platform used to stream the meeting. This allows those who cannot make it to the physical meeting due to location or time constraints to fully engage with the issuer.|
|Online webcast||This is a meeting that is held entirely online. All attendees participate remotely via the webcast. Depending on the platform you use, they may have different options to participate. For example, with Company Webcast, viewers can take a lot of actions including voting and asking questions via chat.|
5. Mind your bottlenecks
Pre-planning is key for delivering a successful half-year results meeting. In order to have all the pieces in place for the day of the meeting, you need to work backwards and set realistic deadlines for a host of necessary activities that might otherwise cause delays and bottlenecks.
One such issue is gaining approval from the audit committee who must ensure the integrity of the financial metrics you want to announce. It takes time for them to thoroughly assess the reports and your financial reporting judgements. This means you need to supply them with the report in good time to allow them to complete the statutory auditors’ review report, then provide approval and keep the workflow going.
Liaise with your audit committee, your legal team and all other internal stakeholders about creating a realistic timeline to have everything ready for the meeting; then stick to that timeline.
6. Consider the key messages
What are the notable metrics relating to your financial information that need highlighting in your results meeting? This should include the positive results, but also those that have fallen below expectations too. These are the key figures and they are important for transparency and trust.
Pull out those that are significant outliers when compared with the guidance or expectations. Sharing these highlights with your audience makes the information easy to digest and tells your story as clearly as possible.
You need to thoroughly analyse the results in order to provide the most coherent possible narrative of the main topics affecting the organisation, where the organisation is and what the outlook is like in the second half of the year.
7. Prepare for the Q&A session
There will be a Q&A session following the results presentation and your CEO and other presenters need to be fully briefed and informed before fielding questions. This is an ideal time to engage shareholders and offer clear and informative answers.
After you analyse the results, you will be able to predict many of the questions the audience is likely to ask, so ensure that you run through these scenarios with the presenters before the results meeting. However, it is also worth practising with other team members asking questions off the cuff so that the presenters can field them and get used to being agile in case of unexpected questions.
It is a good idea to have all of the major facts and figures close at hand and on one sheet of paper so that you can easily refer to them when answering questions.
8. Revise your guidance
If you provide guidance, you should look into whether it needs revision in light of the market and your performance. Have there been dramatic changes that have affected your financial statements in the first half of the year? You should also think about how accurate you can be given all the external factors. A good rule of thumb is to under promise and then overdeliver. Give yourself some room to use as a buffer if needed.
Make sure that you are open and honest about the reasons for the business performance and revising your guidance. You should state whether the factors behind the decision are temporary or whether they will be ongoing changes to your business model. This provides clarity for investors.
9. Rehearse the meeting
Rehearsing the content of the meeting not only helps the presenters familiarise themselves with the script and the key messages, but it also helps you check that it makes sense, covers all bases and does not repeat itself. All of this is easier to ascertain when you read it out loud.
Having had a dry run in advance will make it more relaxed and natural sounding when it comes to the half-year results meeting. This makes it easier for the audience to follow and ensures that the presenters sound confident in the message they deliver.
10. Keep it interactive
The ‘engagement’ part of investor engagement is the key here. These are stakeholders who are important to the successful growth of the business and they should be able to have their say on the financial results and feel involved. Webcasting provides opportunities to engage with shareholders across the world or who are otherwise unable to attend in person, as well as those at the event itself.
There are a host of messaging and call features to allow this interaction to form an important part of the meeting, integrating perfectly into the event.
With transparency and engagement high on the priority list for IROs, webcasting your half-year results meeting or full-year report is the perfect solution for your investor relations efforts. In accordance with local legislation, you might also be able to stream your annual general meeting and many other types of events. Whatever the style you opt for, be it live streaming an in-person meeting, holding a hybrid event or going fully online, there is a webcasting method that will suit you.
If you want to learn more about webcasting your half-year results meeting, you can request a demo with Company Webcast right now.