Corporate event data vendor, Wall Street Horizon, recently reported that the number of Wall Street oriented conferences, roadshows, analyst meetings and company conference calls surged 23% in the 1st half of 2021 when compared to the same period last year.
Wall Street Events – First Half of 2021
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 23% to 3,549 events from the 2,877 events recorded in the same period of last year. However, when compared to the same period in 2019, the number of events in 2021 slipped 8.1% from 3,862 events.
When you take a look at the underlying types of events that took place in the first half of 2021, it reveals an interesting pattern. The total number of bank and industry conferences held in first six months of 2021 rose 25% when compared to the same period in the previous year. This compares to the number of analyst meetings or investor days which actually surged 56%, while the number of company travel or roadshows rose a modest 7% in first half of 2021 compared to 2020. The number of company conference calls held during the first half of 2021 rose 19% when compared to the same period of last year. Purely bank sponsored events (conferences, analyst meetings, and company roadshows) were much stronger (+28.3%) in the first half of 2021 versus the same period last year.
When compared to the first six months of 2019, the total number of bank and industry conferences held in first six months of 2021 fell 8.1%. This compares to the number of analyst meetings or investor days which slipped a meager 2.6%, while the number of company travel or roadshows fell 5.9% in first half of 2021 compared to 2019. The number of company conference calls held during the first half of 2021 surged 68.4% when compared to the same period in 2019.
As we have written about 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 when compared to prior years. However, data for the first half of 2021 reveals that sell-side events rebounded almost to pre-pandemic levels.
Despite the rebound in Wall Street events seen in the first half of 2021, the more important question is when buy-side payments for these events will return to pre-pandemic levels. Clearly, the sell-side’s approach in 2020 in facilitating high traffic virtual events was useful in maintaining engagement with the buy-side. 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.
In our minds, the only way the buy-side will be willing to boost payments for sell-side events is for the sell-side to start sponsoring more exclusive in-person events which are focused on high value meetings and quality conversations. Unfortunately, we are not convinced that the rebound we have seen in Wall Street events so far in 2021 will lead to a corresponding rebound in research payments – at least in the near-term.