“Hybrid seems easy enough, but in reality the hybrid model will take a bit of thought and structure to work well for roadshows,” said Alex Aylen, equity manager for capital markets activities at Canaccord Genuity in the UK. United and in Europe. RI Magazine.
We’re all so used to effective online meetings that it will take some adjustment to get back to face-to-face and hybrid, she says.
Aylen has now done a few hybrid meetings, but not a full roadshow. But even without a busy roadshow schedule, the hybrid comes with challenges, she says. “We’ve had times where a business has walked in and the metro is delayed or there’s a traffic jam and then we’re late – and I’m worried about my Zoom meeting at 11:00 am, which I can’t change as it will have a impact on everything else.
The difficulty will be on a busy roadshow, continues Aylen. “We got used to being extremely busy because we were able to fit everything into Zoom. Sometimes I had 16 or 17 meetings a day – but that’s not normal. ‘ Expectations might therefore require some adjustment, while the other challenge is also hybrid logistics.
“Right now, if you’re on Zoom, you’re probably home or maybe our own offices, but when you’re on tour you’re usually in other people’s offices,” she notes. “So you have to think about space management, logistics, etc. “
Aylen isn’t saying that a hybrid roadshow is of course not possible, and she notes that there are software companies that can help with visitor management for example, it’s just that the transition might not be as easy as people expect.
“When someone is Zooming in and face to face, and you have to integrate travel times and logistics, or there’s a delay, I think it might be more difficult to deal with,” she says. “My concern is really with hybrid roadshows, but I think the hybrid is going to be more difficult than we all think at the moment.”
At Canaccord, the initial intention will be to make hybrid roadshows more structured – maybe one day on Zoom, one day face to face – ultimately, roadshows are driven by the availability of fund managers. So it will end up being a mix of everyone because you have to be flexible. ‘
Face to face return
Aylen is speaking from Canaccord’s headquarters in London – where other face-to-face meetings are already taking place – particularly from the fund managers ‘side, after the UK opened fully on’ Freedom Day ” last month. She says the face-to-face goal of the business is first to comply with the remaining regulations, of course, but also to make sure staff and visitors feel safe.
“We encourage people to return to the office, but we remain very focused on social distancing,” she says. “For example, we used to sit next to the vendors – we are now on a different floor. “
Bobbie Hilliam, head of corporate brokerage at Canaccord, says there is of course a backlog on the corporate side. Some companies haven’t met an investor in person for 18 months, while others have gone public during this time without meeting an investor in person.
“Particularly in an IPO, these people put something very personal, which holds a lot of their wealth in terms of stocks, in the hands of an investor – so it’s comfortable to meet face to face. “he said.
As a result, Hilliam expects some sort of boom in demand for face-to-face meetings – “at least from companies” – before falling back to a more hybrid model.
A more relaxed approach
He says the pandemic and the sudden shift to all things virtual accelerated some trends slowly seeping through the United States – like a more relaxed dress code. “The City has always been pretty formal and you could see it just by the costumes on the streets.” Over the past 18 months in online meetings, attitudes have changed. “Some people still wear costumes, but you also get everything from the costume to the gym and it’s more accepted.”
That’s a good thing and it can make the city a little less intimidating, continues Hilliam, who expects some of this more relaxed attitude to continue as people return to work. “When we get back to the office, I think there will be a lot more variation in terms of what people wear. You can see that not only with businesses, but also with lawyers and accountants, and I think when everyone is more comfortable and not “wearing a uniform” then you are more comfortable. comfortable doing it too.
He also believes that doing a virtual IPO – strange as it may be for companies and investors – has made the process less intimidating. Instead of a room full of costumes and jargon, you watch a screen of faces from the comfort of your home or office. And instead of having to travel to London for companies headquartered outside the capital, the IPO process can be integrated into their working days.
Etiquette in person
What about reunion etiquette today? Does anyone want to shake hands? Do we really need to bang our elbows?
” The meeting and the welcome [for a meeting] is no different from the way it is socially, ”says Hilliam. “It’s a little awkward in terms of a handshake, punching or waving, but that’s because we don’t have that many face-to-face meetings. I can already see that this will normalize quite quickly – especially with so many people now being doubly vaccinated.
CNN Business reported this week that Goldman Sachs had “drawn its line in the sand” on vaccines and would ban employees from using their ID cards to enter the office building if they had not submitted a proof of their vaccination status.
Are vaccines discussed before meetings at Canaccord? The short answer is no. People might assume people are doubly stung, but in a typical British approach, given the sensitivity around vaccinations, that’s not a topic people bring up.
One thing Hilliam notes, however, is that people don’t wear masks in face-to-face meetings. “I had one a few months ago where they kept the mask on, and there’s nothing worse than when you take your mask off, and you just wait and see what they do!” But it’s all part of navigating to a new level of comfort as we adjust face-to-face again, he says.