Investors want more time for their money

A survey has shown investors are more likely to seal a deal if they've had a meeting with the CEO. Er - don't they have a company to run?

by Emma Haslett
We knew investors were a demanding lot, but this is ridiculous: a new survey by equity broker CA Cheuvreux has found that for investors, meetings with members of a business’ senior management team are crucial when it comes to making a deal. That might not sound too bad, but the survey found that investors are four times more likely to seal a deal after a meeting with a CEO or CFO than with someone less senior – whereas more than half say that the chances of them making an investment after they’ve met with, for example, the head of investor relations, is a big, fat, zero. Apparently, it’s because senior managers have more ‘in-depth knowledge of strategy’, as well as the power to make decisions. Although we can’t help but feel they’re being a tiny bit precious about all this…

The survey asked investors and hedge fund managers what drove them to make investments in companies. An impressive 100% of hedge fund managers said one of the most crucial factors is access to senior managers – particularly if they’re willing to come to their office. They added, rather wryly, that the ‘least sought-after’ means of access are site visits and investor days. Is that because they actually have to leave their offices to get there…?

Annual reports, it seems, are no longer the most popular way to find out what’s going on: apparently, only a third of investors read them in any detail, while the majority ‘just glance at them’. Instead, investors apparently prefer to keep a closer eye on things: the survey reports that the majority value quarterly figures the most, with three quarters calling them ‘very useful’ – which rises to 85% in the US.

Bénédicte Thibord, CA Cheuvreux’s global head of marketing services, says it’s time for management to ‘commit more time to investors’. That’s as may be – but when CEOs are running around trying to impress investors, that doesn’t leave them a lot of time to run the company. The reason companies employ IR people is, chiefly, to deal with investor, thus allowing senior managers to concentrate on other matters of import. We’d agree that investors can expect to demand a certain amount of investors’ time – but having the senior management team at their beck and call isn’t exactly going to help them run a company.

Still, beggars can’t be choosers, and since access to finance is tough, to say the least, at the moment, it may be time to forget about our pride and start schmoozing. Unless, of course, your business is especially sought-after. In which case, feel free to put them in their place…

Investors want more time for their money


A survey has shown investors are more likely to seal a deal if they’ve had a meeting with the CEO. Er – don’t they have a company to run?

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