By Hardman & Co, in collaboration with the Quoted Companies Alliance
Having dismissed retail investors for many years, companies are beginning to understand that engaging with them helps liquidity, as well as burnishing their ESG credentials.
The new focus on retail is reinforced by the HM Treasury-commissioned Austin report, governance codes and the QCA/Peel Hunt surveys.
This is the first work analysing the data for events to which retail investors were invited, i.e. results presentations, capital markets days (CMDs) and other presentations.
The number of retail investor events has more than doubled since before the pandemic. 42.1% of London Stock Exchange (LSE) quoted companies held at least one event over the period 2019-22.
These events have become particularly common among smaller companies with market capitalisations between £25m and £500m.
Companies that held such events in 2021, but did not in 2019, saw twice the improvement in liquidity in their shares compared with those that held no such events in both 2019 and 2021.
These events themselves are only part of the solution to retail investor engagement. Post-event distribution is more important than the live audience, and management will most likely not understand the key issues facing investors. Other channels need to be used to complement events.