Back in the last century, when IR magazine first did an IR guide for New York, there were genuine – if exaggerated – fears that visitors would be mugged almost on arrival. It is now one of the safest cities in the US, and even more so in mid-town and downtown Manhattan. There are more ways to get money from you than just snatching your wallet, however.
As Duke Coffey of GA Kraut Company warns his clients when they bring a roadshow to town: ‘Get set for sticker shock – it’s not cheap.’ His other message is to hurry. ‘It’s never been cheaper than in the last few years of recession,’ he adds.
The investment, it has to be said, is far from wasted. In return, Manhattan offers unrivalled focus, with almost everybody and everything you need in close proximity. ‘In terms of access to investors, sell side, buy side, analysts, bankers and press, there is probably a greater concentration in New York than anywhere else in the US, possibly even the world,’ says Keith Rabin of KWR International.
‘It’s much harder when companies try to do this at their corporate headquarters, because – unless you’re Warren Buffet – attendance can be light. Typically, the sell-siders will tell the buy-siders, There’s no need for you to go to Nebraska. I’ll go and report back to you. In New York, you get to see them all. The opportunity for face time with other executives drives attendance.’
The big time
Certainly, for IR practitioners, hitting New York is like an actor working on Broadway: it carries cachet across the world. Even in an age of webcasts, in Manhattan you get bigger audiences, tougher questions and more prestigious participants than almost anywhere else in the world.
‘It even enhances the value of your webcast,’ Rabin points out. ‘Just look at the financial, national and international media you find here: TV, press and radio. It just doesn’t get any better than this!’
There are other advantages, according to Rabin, that make a New York roadshow economical despite the cost of New York hotels and facilities. ‘While here, you can meet with your lawyers and accountants, marketing and advertising companies,’ he explains.
But apart from such earnestly mundane activities, what about New York’s cultural activities, the theatres, the museums, the world-class restaurants? In fact, it seems that most of the executives coming in do not have the leisure time to relish such things. ‘It’s the famous New York minute,’ explains Coffey.
‘These people are pressed for time. Usually they don’t want diversionary, off-point activities. Most just want to come, listen, ask questions and get back.’
[Article by Ian Williams, IR magazine]