Putting hedge funds into group meetings can help to soften up their questioning style, according to one speaker on the IR Magazine Webinar: How to approach meetings with hedge funds.
‘It seems they are less likely to ask you something that would be a Reg FD violation if their competitors are in the room listening to your answer,’ said Jeff Smith, director of IR at FedEx.
Smith stressed, however, that many hedge funds are supportive, long-term shareholders. IROs just need to do their research before deciding who should go into one-on-one meetings with management. ‘The conversation has definitely moved away from avoidance to prioritization,’ he said.
The recording of the webinar – which took place last week – is now available to listen to online.
Smith was joined on the panel by Victoria Hyde-Dunn, director of IR at Visa. Both Smith and Hyde-Dunn concurred that hedge funds are an important and welcome constituent of their respective share registers.
‘There is a consensus building up that communicating with hedge funds is becoming increasingly important for investor relations professionals and the management team,’ said Hyde-Dunn.
‘I think in the past, many investor relations officers and their management teams could have shied away from having a dialogue but nowadays hedge funds are a very important component within a stock’s portfolio.’
During the webinar, an audience poll revealed that a significant minority of the IROs listening still need to work at convincing management to meet with hedge funds.
In the poll, 35.9 per cent of respondents said management will meet with hedge funds, but it takes some convincing. The majority – 56.5 per cent – said management has no problem with hedge funds and will meet with any fund.
The webinar also featured polls on gathering hedge fund intelligence, how to decide which hedge funds to meet and the best way to go about meetings.
The event was the latest in a series of short, sharp webinars packed with expert insight. Previous webinars have investigated the value of social media for IR and how to communicate about macroeconomic factors.
[Article by Tim Human, Inside Investor Relations]