Sessions by Day


Saturday, June 13, 2020
Finance and Capital Markets 101 (separate registration required)

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Separate registration required. Click here to register. 

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Telling a Great Investment Story (Separate registration)

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Separate registration required. Click here to register. 

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
New to NIRI Conference Orientation

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Meet other first-time conference attendees and learn what you need to know to optimize your NIRI2020 experience.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Monday, June 15, 2020
Navigating the Dark Waters of Sustainability and ESG

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This session is focused on providing pragmatic guidance - particularly for small and micro-cap companies - in navigating the rapidly evolving sustainability space. Voluntary and statutory requirements, legal and regulatory developments and institutional ownership requirements will require thoughtful planning, concise reporting, robust engagement responses, and an alignment to the firm’s corporate purpose. What do these requirements really mean? Who are the “real” investment side decision makers? How can companies avoid being labeled as “green-washing” and taking on subsequent headline risk?

At a foundational level, this session will break down the components of ESG and describe what they include, which investors focus on them (and how to tell!), and options for companies to communicate on ESG topics and why (or why not) they should.

1:30 PM - 2:20 PM
Understanding the World of Equity Research: Past, Present and Future

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Equity research is under seige from structural changes such as MiFID II and the rise of Artificial Intelligence to market forces like shrinking research budgets.  So what does it mean for IROs when traditional research is shrinking and access to the buy-side is becoming disintermediated?  The last thing an IRO wants is spending its and management time getting an analyst up to speed on their company’s story only to find out of that the vast majority of prospective investors will never see this analyst’s work.  But more often than not, that is what’s happening.  How did we get here and what can be done about it?  

Join us as we present the past, present and future of research with hard data and advice on how to deal with the changing research landscape.

1:30 PM - 2:20 PM
Dramatic Company Transformation? Winning Over Investor Confidence

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You are running IR for a company that is undergoing a dramatic transformation and diversifying from its historic, core market:  including, for example, diversification from a pure play, launching or acquiring a new product offering, your company’s growth is slowing, your market cap may be increasing, or your company is moving from growth to GARP. You are now faced with learning a new industry, product line and/or investor base. What do you do and how can you adapt to add value to your management team and new constituent base? How do you communicate value of the enterprise where trading multiples maybe vastly different? What approaches do you take and how do you define your IR strategy in light of this new world?

1:30 PM - 2:20 PM
You Can't Do It All: Focusing on ESG Materiality and Relevance

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Many IROs feel overwhelmed at the sheer volume of ESG disclosures and factors that their companies are asked to manage. However, large investors have made it clear they don't expect companies to identify and manage every ESG factor affecting them. They "expect companies to identify and report on the material, business-specific E&S risks and opportunities and to explain how these are managed. This explanation should make clear how the approach taken by the company best serves the interests of shareholders and protects and enhances the long-term economic value of the company." (Blackrock Proxy Voting Guidelines for U.S Securities - January 2019). When choosing ESG factors to focus on, companies should look for materiality and relevance, and manage these factors to enhance the economic value of the company. Come listen to experts discuss how you might discover and emphasize those factors most material and relevant to your company.

2:40 PM - 3:30 PM
Battle Wounds From the Trenches

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One of the greatest challenges facing IR professionals is the isolation of working in a vacuum. The purpose of this "Ignite Session" is to provide IR professionals an opportunity to learn important lessons without experiencing all the pain that comes with them. This unique session format will provide an opportunity to learn from several peers that will share hard-earned advice from the IRO trenches. Featuring a wide range of survival stories, these brave souls will brandish their battle scars and share what they’ve learned from some of their most difficult professional challenges.

2:40 PM - 3:30 PM
"PActive" - The Passive May Be Active After All

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BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street; these are some of the most prominent index fund managers out there. In fact, they are likely a part of your top 10 shareholder list. And while index funds are often considered passive investors, they have become increasingly active in terms of corporate governance. And so, we officially coin the new term "PActive", the passive/active index investor who may be passive in their daily investments but is active and taking a more prominent role in influencing proxy votes, company ESG policies, executive compensation and so much more.

With this ‘the index fund takeover’, are there any hidden dangers IROs should take note of as we prepare for the future? And how should we best navigate our shareholders in light of this change? Join us as we hear from index fund managers, scholarly experts and financial journalists focused on the shift in shareholder composition as they discuss how IROs can maintain a productive relationship with their PActive shareholders.

2:40 PM - 3:30 PM
Industry and Peer Group Breakouts

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Network with your industry peers and discuss hot topics and trends affecting your industry. Choose the group discussion that most closely aligns with your industry or interest.

4:10 PM - 5:30 PM
Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Embracing Stakeholder Capitalism: An IR Guide to Communicating Longer-Term, Forward-Looking Disclosures

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Institutional investors are increasingly focused on integrating material ESG factors into their investment decision-making processes. Leading corporate issuers are increasingly responding to this fundamental transformation on the buy side by disclosing more forward-looking ESG-related information to the capital markets on a longer time horizon than is currently addressed in short-term investor-facing communications. Join this session for a lively discussion on the challenges and opportunities around corporate issuer reporting and institutional investor integration of longer-term disclosures. The panelists will also provide actionable recommendations on how IR professionals and their management teams can begin to integrate longer-term, forward-looking disclosures into their investor communication strategy.

2:10 PM - 3:00 PM
Can You See Inside My Crystal Ball? What’s Driving Capital Markets in 2022

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The term “Capital Markets” encompasses everything from debt and equities to sell-side research and capital raising, and how each of these topics affect market sentiment and ultimately a company’s share price. So, what can IROs expect to confront in the Capital Markets in the next 12-24 months? And how can we prepare for these changes as we develop our IR strategies? Join three leading financial industry professionals as they provide a lens into the future of Capital Markets and the key issues confronting IROs today, tomorrow and in the future.

2:10 PM - 3:00 PM
Navigating the Changing Face of Corporate Access & Investor Outreach

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IROs are faced with an increasingly fragmented environment in how they reach key investors. This session will focus on how to leverage and manage sell-side and buy-side Corporate Access teams along with the use of independent vendors.  As an increasing number of buy-side firms bring in-house corporate access professionals, it adds a new dimension to an IRO's outreach efforts and offers potential opportunities to more granularly target PMs and Analysts.

2:10 PM - 3:00 PM
Preparing for the Activist Investor

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While having an activist in their stock may be what IROs fear most, those who have never encountered this situation may not know how to effectively manage this tenuous relationship and confidently navigate their management team through what can quickly become a highly volatile situation.  Given the IRO is often the first point of contact when an activist shareholder reaches out to a target company, it can be game changing for both your company and your career. From understanding how and when to engage with an activist to priming your management team and Board on how to conduct themselves while they continue to stay focused on running the business, a good IRO should be able to lead their team through this turmoil.

Furthermore, a well-prepared IRO will have this knowledge integrated into their broader IR program, with a well-defined plan of action they can implement as necessary. Learn from a panel of experts representing all sides of this topic (including an activist) what you can to get prepared.

2:10 PM - 3:00 PM
Building an Effective Fall Engagement Program: Outreach to Investor Stewardship Teams

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As investors are increasingly showing their power through their proxy vote, it is very important for Investor Relations professionals and companies to develop relationships with and reach out to the Stewardship teams of the large institutions during the “off-season” (non-proxy voting season).

A large part of investor outreach has transformed into the Fall Engagement which are conference calls (usually not face to face) between companies and proxy advisors and stewardship teams of the “Big 3” (BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street) and the “Active 6” (Fidelity, Dimensional, T.Rowe, JP Morgan, Franklin Templeton and Capital Group’s American Funds). The stewardship and governance teams focus on different information and have different engagement needs than a portfolio manager of an actively managed fund.  Each institution has its own process of how, when and who should be contacted either via email or portal.

3:30 PM - 4:20 PM
Looking Ahead: Navigating the “Wild West” of Guidance

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In 2018, NIRI updated its policy to encourage companies to focus their guidance on their long-term strategy and business value drivers. But the types of metrics to include in guidance projections remains largely unregulated, with minimal direction or guidelines. And practices vary widely – even among companies in the same industry.  As more and more companies switch from quarterly to annual guidance, how should IR professionals decide which metrics to report versus their peers? How frequently should they guide, and when is an update warranted? More importantly, how does Wall Street interpret guidance metrics and other contextual factors in their decision-making?

In this panel discussion, audience members will hear from both buy- and sell-side analysts and other industry experts on their approach to analyzing guidance metrics and how disclosure can lead to a more accurate valuation. Join us as we examine three real-life examples of earnings press releases for best practices and lessons learned.

3:30 PM - 4:20 PM
Disruption in Washington: What Can IR Professionals Expect from Regulators and Lawmakers?

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Members of NIRI's Board of Directors and chapter advocacy ambassadors will share an update on the key regulatory issues facing IR professionals and public companies in 2020. The panel will address the Securities and Exchange Commission’s proposed rules on proxy advisory firms and shareholder resolutions and discuss NIRI’s legislative efforts to improve short-position disclosure and provide greater transparency around hedge fund activism.

3:30 PM - 4:20 PM
The IR Situation Room

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My stock has high short-interest... My management team won’t go on the road... We really need more sell-side coverage! These are all issues we face while working in IR.  Let’s brainstorm with peers on solutions to solve our day-to-day challenges. 

The IR Situation Room is a carefully structured, collaborative session that gives attendees the opportunity to work together to solve each other’s real-life IR challenges in a consultation-style setting. Every participant will come away with advice and ideas that are relevant to them personally, so come armed with a challenge that needs to be solved.

3:30 PM - 4:20 PM
An IR Professional’s Role in Hostile and Activist-Driven M&A

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With increased chatter of recession and volatile markets, the likelihood of consolidation rises. Faced with challenging markets and aided by cheap money, voluntary and involuntary M&A could increase as companies endeavor to achieve scale and unlock growth. This session will explore the IR professional’s role in defending their company from an interloper or fighting to take over a target. Engaging with investors, analysts and other stakeholders, how can the IR professional convince its audience that it’s better together – or better apart?

4:40 PM - 5:30 PM
Communicating to Stakeholders through Corporate Crisis

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Is your company prepared for a crisis?  Hear how these professionals helped advise, lead and communicate with stakeholders through various crisis situations.  Walk away with some concrete ideas on how, as an IR professional, you can prepare your company for a crisis before one begins.  The panel will feature experts in the capital markets, investor relations and public/media relations and provide attendees an opportunity to ask questions about crisis communications in today’s connected workd of commerce.

4:40 PM - 5:30 PM
Hit Me with Your Best Shot: Pitching the Buy-side in 10 Minutes or Less

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You are at another speed dating event, i.e. a sell-side conference, and have a total of 25 minutes to speak with a completely new investor and encourage him or her to buy your stock. In such an abbreviated amount of time, all you can possibly do is wet their palate. So how can IROs refine their elevator pitches and entice a buy-side investor to conduct more research on their company? Take a seat and enter the world of Pitching the Buy-side, Shark Tank style. Leading IROs will pitch ‘Sharks,’ the buy-side, on their company’s stock and learn what it takes to grab the attention of the investment community in less than 10 minutes. Leave NIRI Reality TV with a refined toolkit of stock pitching techniques and increase your company’s value amongst the buy-side even if you have only a limited amount of time to do so.

4:40 PM - 5:30 PM
Let's Hear the Proxy Advisors' Take on Recent SEC Proposals

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In November 2019 the SEC proposed significant changes to the proxy solicitation rules, specifically in the areas of requiring conflict of interest disclosure, allowing issues to provide feedback on proxy voting advice before it is issued, and raising ownership thresholds for including shareholder proposals in an issuer's proxy statement. These proposals could have a material impact on the business model of proxy advisor firms, and this session will give them the floor to describe what they support and what they oppose in these proposals.

4:40 PM - 5:30 PM
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Holding a Successful Investor Day: Nailing the Delivery, Q&A, and Messaging

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Investor Days are arguably the most important and compelling investor communications events a company can hold.  For the event to be successful, however, companies need compelling messages, effective Q&A and clear delivery – three often overlooked areas of investor day planning. This session brings together an IRO who has implemented a dozen successful investor days, an expert in investor day messaging and slide development, an expert in investor day content delivery and Q&A messaging, and member of the buyside who has attended countless investor days. Attendees will learn actionable methods to make their next investor day a success.

8:45 AM - 10:15 AM
Roleplay Your Way to RegFD Expertise

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Regulation FD, for "Fair Disclosure," was implemented in October 2000 and dictates how public companies and their representatives disclose "inside" information about the company. In essence, Regulation FD requires that a public company's communication of material, nonpublic information be made in approved forms of public disclosure. The purpose of the regulation is to make all material information about a company available to all investors at the same time. However, a lot of companies fail to fully understand and properly comprehend RegFD rules that result in non-compliance with the SEC and associated liabilities and fines. This session is intended to provide participants with case studies through role-play and surveys on the various dos and don'ts of RegFD. Attendees will be shown several real-life scenarios played out by volunteers. Those scenarios will periodically pause and allow feedback from the audience on methods and assessment. These scenarios will help illustrate common situations that IR professionals find themselves in and how to properly navigate them.

8:45 AM - 10:15 AM
Common Earnings Challenges and How to Manage Through Them

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Collaborate with your peers and learn through their experiences. Explore several earnings challenges you may encounter during your IR career. From revising guidance, to technical issues. From missing your numbers, to designing an efficient earnings process. Our audience will rotate in groups, and at each table, the topic host will present a situation.

Examples may include the following:

  • A dropped conference call
  • An executive who goes off script
  • An analyst who becomes unruly
  • Financial results that are going to significantly miss guidance (do you preannounce?)
  • Pulling annual guidance mid-year
  • A sudden change of CEO/CFO
  • A press release issued before its ready
  • An inefficient earnings material working group (too many cooks in the kitchen)

These issues have all occurred, some more frequently than others, and all can derail your event. The goal of this session is to help you better prepare for the issues that could impact your earnings cycle. The end result could get you through the most stressful time of the quarte

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Valuing and Measuring the Effectiveness of an Investor Relations Program

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Valuing and measuring the effectiveness of an IR program is crucial. IROs are often challenged by setting the appropriate goals, that are identifiable and measurable. What tools can IROs use to evaluate effectiveness of investor meetings? How do you determine if messages/story is well understood by the investment community? What are the quantitative and qualitative metrics that can help assess the return on an IR team's investment? What are the benefits of an effective IR team, how to communicate them and measure effectiveness to management and board.  

Attend this session for an interactive discussion on valuing and measuring IR engagement. You will learn quantitative and qualitative measurement tools to consider for your IR programs. These concepts are critical to benchmarking your current program, building a best practices IR program, effectively setting quarterly, annual, and programmatic IR goals, controlling the narrative with your  management and board, as well as their perception and view of your IR program. This information is critical to delivering and executing a high ROI investor relations strategy.

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM