Investor Conferences Slip While Cancellations Rise in 1st Qtr 2020

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According to data provided by New York based corporate events data provider Wall Street Horizon, the number of investor conferences and events actually held during the 1st Qtr 2020 slipped 4.0% to 1503 events compared to the 1566 events held during the same period in 2019.  At the same time, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused the number of events that were cancelled to surge during the 1st Qtr.

1st Qtr Investor Conferences

During the 1st Qtr of 2020, the number of investor conferences and events that took place dipped 4.0% to 1,503 events, compared to the 1,566 events held during the same period in 2019.  When compared to the 4th Qtr of 2019, the number of events held during the 1st Qtr plunged 31.7% from 2201 events to 1503 events.

The number of investor conferences and related events that were cancelled during the 1st Qtr 2020 surged to 88 events as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many organizations to rethink holding their events.  This compares to no events canceled during the 1st Qtr of 2019, and just 5 events cancelled during the 4th Qtr of 2019.

Of the 1503 events held during the 1st Qtr of 2020, Wall Street Horizon identified 45 events that were held as virtual conferences or events.  Given the widespread travel restrictions and stay at home orders that were issued in many countries, we suspect that a majority of the events held during February and March were probably virtual in some way.

2nd Qtr 2020 Conference Calendar

The number of conferences or events that were held or still planned to be held in the 2nd Qtr of 2020 are slated to plunge 74.1% to 594 events from 2,296 events held in the 2nd Qtr of 2019.  Of the number of events already held or scheduled to be held during the 2nd Qtr, 73 of these events are currently expected to be virtual events.  The number of events that have already been canceled during the 2nd Qtr 2020 totals 82 events compared to no events canceled during the 2nd Qtr of 2019.

Our Take

It is interesting to note that the number of investor conferences and events that were held during the 1st Qtr of 2020 didn’t drop as precipitously as one might have expected given the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across much of the world in February and March.  Consequently, the sharp drop off in events held or still planned to be held in the 2nd Qtr of 2020 is not surprising at all.

The result of this drop in investor conferences and events is likely to lead to a sharp decline in the amount asset managers pay brokers and investment banks for their research in 2020, as one-on-one management meetings, conferences, and investor roadshows have traditionally been extremely valuable components of the sell-side research offering.

In addition, we suspect that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the investor conference and events business will be significant as investors and corporate executives become more comfortable in leveraging the technology and expertise available to make these events virtual.  As a result, we agree with industry estimates that suggest that 20% to 30% of all attendees to investor conferences and events will do so virtually once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.

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About Author

Mike Mayhew is one of the leading experts on the investment research industry. In addition to founding Integrity Research, Mike is on the board of directors of Investorside Research Association, the non-profit trade association for the independent research industry, and a frequent speaker on research industry trends and developments. Mike has over thirty years of research industry experience. Email: Michael.Mayhew@integrity-research.com

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