Five steps to creating an IR calendar

Sep 03, 2015
<p>Create your IR calendar for the year but don&rsquo;t forget the unexpected</p>

An IR calendar might seem a simple enough system to put together but Richard Davies, managing director of London-based consultancy RD:IR, says many firms fail to give enough thought to exactly what the company needs before building the calendar.

‘As an IRO, you have to understand what your business needs in order to be able to communicate your message to investors,’ he says. And what you need will, of course, vary from company to company and according to ‘where you are in your own growth cycle, where you are in terms of your position in the market, your size and your scale.’

IROs setting up an IR calendar for the first time – or reviewing their existing schedule as the business evolves – should think about the markets they could be marketing to, and how they’re going to manage that process. ‘Think about how much time you’re going to spend [marketing] face to face or through webcasts or conference calls,’ says Davies.

Essentially, what’s needed is careful thinking about what you’re trying to achieve – as well as how you’re going to measure whatever you do achieve, says Davies, advising IROs to create a one or two-page strategy document to establish their plans. ‘It’s really about setting out what you’re trying to achieve and then producing the calendar off the back of that,’ he explains.

When the time comes to put that IR calendar together, IR Magazine Award winner Robert Doody, vice president of IR and corporate communications at Idera Pharmaceuticals, sets out five practical steps to building your base.

1. Check your dates. ‘Usually the first thing you want to do is take a look at the company’s financial reporting dates for the year,’ says Doody. ‘You always put them on the calendar first as they are mandatory events and etched in stone. All else will be worked around those dates.’

2. Book in with the board. Next, Doody advises mapping out the schedule for regular board meetings. Management members are unlikely to be available for IR activities on those dates and you’ll also have to prepare any IR-related materials for the meetings themselves.

3. Plan your conferences. ‘The next thing I map out are all the investor conferences the company will likely attend during the course of a year,’ continues Doody. These dates are generally consistent from one year to the next, while any changes often come from analysts or banking contacts, he adds.

4. Working out the news flow. The next step is to try to map out – as best you can – your expected news flow for the year, though Doody says this is not always an easy task. ‘There are always unexpected announcements in any given year,’ he explains. But in an industry like pharmaceuticals, for example, ‘there are always a number of ongoing clinical trials or trials about to start – those are things you can usually get a pretty good sense of timing for,’ he adds.

5. Plan your road trips. Once the base of your calendar is locked in, it’s time to see where you can fit in non-deal roadshows. Doody recommends aiming for one to three per quarter. This, he says, allows US companies like his ‘to visit the investor hot-beds of New York and Boston with a fair amount of frequency and also be able to try to hit a few other markets, which are interesting but not as critical as the big two. Usually a West Coast swing and maybe something in the Midwest once a year are good to try. Also, depending on how you are doing, it is nice to try to get some momentum built with a trip to Europe once a year.’

While these tips will help you create your IR calendar, Doody reminds fellow IROs to ‘always be prepared for things that are unplanned.’

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