NIRI’s annual conference: round up of Saturday and Sunday

Jun 04, 2012
<p>Roadshows, global IR and golf were on the agenda over the weekend</p>

The last two NIRI conferences took place in the heat of San Diego and Orlando. This year, by contrast, the US IR association has opted for the milder climate of the north west, basing its signature event in Seattle.

Still, delegates arriving on Saturday were greeted by warm weather and blue skies. The choice of location was among the topics of conversation at the NIRI chapter awards on Saturday night. One IRO from the south of the US said it was nice to get away from the heat at home.

The light-hearted awards recognize achievements by NIRI chapters over the last year. New York won a handful of prizes but Chicago snatched the top award for best overall large chapter.

To win came at a price, however. After each award, individuals from the winning chapter appeared on the big screen dancing around in a Jib Jab video. What’s a Jib Jab? Click here to see.

Sunday golf

Sunday kicked off with the NIRI Golf Classic – what else – with buses leaving at 6.30 am for the Golf Club at Newcastle, located on a hill a few miles east of Seattle. From there, players were treated to stunning views of the city’s skyline.

Back at the convention center, the afternoon included three workshops covering the changing capital markets, speaker training and non-deal roadshows.

At the latter, Cole Lannum, vice president of IR at Covidien, offered up his thoughts on the importance of getting in front of investors. Think about a classroom, he said: the textbooks have all the information, but you need a good teacher to guide you through the details.

The session also discussed roadshow measurement. Press the sell side for feedback, urged the panel, as this will help you track and improve performance.

But don’t get hung up on whether a fund manager invests after a meeting, they cautioned. The decision to buy or sell is usually down to factors out of your control, such as price targets, said Doug Fox, vice president of IR and treasurer at Zebra Technologies.

Global IR Summit

Later on Sunday, NIRI launched its ‘Global IR Summit’ – an event focused on cross-border IR that featured IROs based in Germany, Canada, US, Australia, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Elizabeth Sun, head of IR at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, told the audience that, in general, Asian investors tend to be more focused on news flow than their global counterparts. ‘That’s interesting – you would think US-based investors are like that,’ she stated.

As 6 pm came round, it was time for the official welcome reception, which took place in the services showroom. Delegates were treated to drinks and canapés as they toured the booths of dozens of IR services firms, each with its own selection of goodies to give away and competitions to take part in. PR Newswire caught the eye with its ‘I *heart* IR’ mugs.

The night ended with several parties thrown around town. The NIRI Virtual Chapter put on the most daring bash: a toga party at the Grand Hyatt.

Conference sponsors, meanwhile, hosted their own events. The venues of choice included: the Space Needle, Seattle’s iconic tower; Columbia Center, the tallest skyscraper in the city; and the Seattle aquarium, where the main attractions were Cubert, the giant Pacific octopus, and the cocktails.

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