Corporate event data vendor, Wall Street Horizon, recently reported that the number of Wall Street oriented conferences, roadshows, analyst meetings and company conference calls rose 5% in the 1st Qtr 2021 when compared to the same period last year.
Wall Street Events – 1Q21
According to data provided by Wall Street Horizon, the total number of Wall Street related conferences and related events during the first quarter of 2021 rose 5.1% to 1,580 events from the 1,503 events recorded in the same period of last year. However, when compared to the 4th quarter of 2020, the number of events in 1Q21 plunged 25.2% from 2,113 events.
When you take a look at the underlying types of events that took place in the 1Q21, it reveals an interesting pattern. The total number of bank and industry conferences held in 1Q21 slipped 1.3% when compared to the same period in the previous year. This compares to the number of analyst meetings or investor days which actually rose 11%, while the number of company travel or roadshows slipped 21% in 1Q21 compared to 1Q20. The number of company conference calls held during the 1Q21 surged 31% when compared to the same period of last year. Purely bank sponsored events (conferences, analyst meetings, and company roadshows) were slightly weaker in the 1Q21 versus the same period last year.
As we have written in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant negative impact on the number of sell-side sponsored conferences, roadshows, and analyst meetings held during 2020. Unfortunately, data for the 1Q21 does not reveal much of a rebound in sell-side events as most Wall Street professionals continue to work from home.
The big question for Wall Street is when (or if) sell-side sponsored conferences, roadshows, and analyst meetings will return to normal. This means holding more exclusive in-person events which are focused on high value meetings and conversations. Clearly, the sell-side’s approach last year in facilitating high traffic virtual events was useful in maintaining engagement with buy-side clients. However, most buy-side firms admit that conferences and analyst meetings in 2020 were much less valuable than in the previous years where attendance was more scarce, the questions were more focused, and high quality networking was available. These factors have driven down the amount that the buy-side has been willing to pay the sell-side for sponsoring these events.