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Our Blog: The Podium

David Calusdian

David Calusdian, president at Sharon Merrill Associates, oversees the implementation of investor relations programs, coaches senior executives in presentation skills and provides strategic counsel to clients on numerous communications issues, such as corporate disclosure, proxy proposals, shareholder activism and earnings guidance. dcalusdian@investorrelations.com
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Recent Posts

Life Sciences: Communicating the Investment Story

If you have ever tried telling a life sciences investment story, chances are, you’ve encountered one of three responses:

  1. “Wait. Slow down. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” This is sometimes communicated nonverbally as a blank stare.
  2. “Okay. That makes sense. So when do you expect commercialization?”
  3. “What’s the mechanism of action? And which disease are you treating? I haven’t heard of that study. Where is the research on that, so that I can read it myself?”

These examples illustrate a unique challenge for life science companies: How to communicate an investment thesis to three entirely different groups of institutional investors – generalists; life science investors less familiar with your specific market or science; and investors who are experts in your particular area.

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Investor Relations, Biotechnology, Drug development, Drug Development IR, IR for Drug Companies, Life Sciences, Biotech IR, Life Sciences IR, Biotech

Investor Relations for Industrials

Communicating That 1+1 = 3

By David Calusdian, Executive Vice President & Partner

Investor relations for industrialsA well-known portfolio manager once said to me that he loved diversified industrial companies “for their break-up value.” If you’re in the industrial space, this is the polar opposite of how you want investors to think about your company. For an industrial, it all comes down to ensuring that investors see your company as being more than a sum of its parts – not less. Here are four tips to ensure that investors believe your company is worth more than its breakup value.

Synergize! An industrial company’s collection of businesses can either be viewed as just that - a disparate group of autonomous operations individually contributing to the corporate P&L. Or they can be seen as interconnected, mutually supporting components of a single profit-generating machine. The first way to demonstrate that your company’s whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts is to communicate how the portfolio management philosophy of the business fosters cross-selling throughout the organization, driving revenue growth. Also focus on how management realizes cost synergies across the enterprise, such as through lower fixed costs due to shared overhead or greater combined purchasing power.

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Investor Presentation, IR Program Planning, Investor Meetings, Crisis Communications, Media Relations, IPO, Shareholder Communications, Industrial Investor Relations, Investor Relations, Earnings

A Conversation with Wolf & Co.: Board Room Topics

In this two-part conversation, public accounting experts from the CPA firm Wolf & Company provide insights on current trends in public company compliance. In our second conversation, we discuss accounting standards changes and other audit committee related topics with Jim Kenney, Scott Goodwin and Dan Morrill from Wolf.

The Podium: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us. In today’s discussion, we wanted to address the major trends you see coming to public company accounting in the near term. Let’s start with revenue recognition. A brand-new standard has been issued for public companies. What does it entail, and when will it be coming?

Scott: That’s right. The new standard, which goes into effect in 2018, accomplishes several objectives. It removes inconsistencies and weaknesses in existing revenue recognition guidance and provides a more robust framework for addressing revenue issues. It also provides, for the first time, a single revenue recognition standard that will be applicable across entities, industries, jurisdictions and capital markets, and provides more useful information to users of financial statements through improved disclosure requirements. One good thing is the rules are now all in one place.

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SEC, Investor Relations, Public Accounting, GAAP, revenue recognition, regulation, fraud, fraud inquiries, lease standards, sale-leaseback, accounting regulations

SEC Guidance on Reg G: Q&A with Howard Berkenblit

On May 17, 2016, the SEC issued new Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations related to Regulation G.  The Podium discussed the new guidance on the reporting of non-GAAP financial measures with Sullivan & Worcester Partner Howard Berkenblit

The Podium: What do you see as the most significant changes that came out of the new SEC guidance on Reg G?

HB: There are two main themes to the changes.  First there are some additional interpretations regarding what can and can’t be presented – these have the practical effect of creating new rules without technically changing the rules.  For example, one of the changes makes explicit that EBITDA “must not be presented on a per share basis,” while others give new examples of adjustments that may not be made to non-GAAP measures. While some of these were implicit from the rules or prior SEC Staff speeches and comments, having them in Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations, even if theoretically not binding, gives them greater weight.

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SEC, Investor Relations, Non-GAAP, Reg G, GAAP

Q&A: Regulatory Trends in Cybersecurity

In this two-part conversation, public accounting experts from the CPA firm Wolf & Co. provide insights on current trends in public company compliance. In this first conversation, we discuss cybersecurity regulatory trends with Jerry Gagne, who heads Wolf’s risk services practice.

The Podium: Hello, Jerry. Thank you for joining us. In today’s discussion, we wanted to focus on cybersecurity. This seems like a hot area right now and of great interest to boards of directors. What issues are you seeing right now with cybersecurity?

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Investor Relations, Compliance, CPA, Public Accounting, Cybersecurity

Preannouncing Results, Part II: Determining the Message

This is Part II of our preannouncement series based on AlphaSense research. Today we focus on the qualitative discussion of the results in earnings preannouncements and the financial metrics used.

In my previous post, we focused on the factors that contribute to a company’s decision to preannounce its financial results – that is, provide the Street with a preliminary, high-level understanding of what its quarterly performance will be. Using AlphaSense, a unique search engine that offers an advanced level of information discovery, we looked at 59 preannouncement releases that were issued in the U.S. through the first six weeks of 2016. We examined the rationale for preannouncing and some of the issues at play when providing advance insight to investors.

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Guidance, Investor Relations, Earnings, Preliminary Results, AlphaSense, Preannouncement

Preannouncing Results: Analyzing Corporate Profit Warnings

To preannounce or not to preannounce: Surely that is the question that stumps many management teams during the quarterly earnings cycle.

There are several reasons for a company to preannounce its financial results – that is, provide the Street with a preliminary, high-level understanding of what the company’s quarterly performance will be. Typically, a preannouncement is made in the weeks preceding the full earnings release and conference call. Management also may decide to update investors with preliminary results ahead of investor days, investment conferences and major acquisitions, so that it may speak about the most current financials and not violate Regulation Fair Disclosure.

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Guidance, Disclosure Policy, CFO, Earnings Call, Earnings, Trends

Telling a Story Investors Want to Hear

It’s the ability to tell a compelling story that will get the investment community excited about your company. It’s also a great challenge for even the largest public companies in the country.

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Investment Thesis, Disclosure, Strategic Messaging, Buy-Side, Credibility, Sell-side Coverage, Sell-side, CFO, Investor Relations

Four Steps to Deliver a Captivating Presentation

The ability to deliver a captivating presentation, whether at meetings, investor conferences or in a more personal one-on-one setting is challenging for most. Even those who are naturally gifted still need to practice to be their best. 

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Strategic Messaging, Presentation Training, Credibility, Public Speaking, Public Relations, Speaking Engagements, Investor Relations, CEO

Are You 'The Great Pumpkin' in Need of Reputation Management?

A Halloween Lesson with Apologies to Charles M. Schulz

Every year Linus sits in the neighborhood pumpkin patch trying to impress Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally with a personal introduction to The Great Pumpkin. On Halloween, she forgoes trick or treating to wait for the Great Pumpkin as he “flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world.” When The Great Pumpkin disappoints, you can imagine the fury of a kid who has been cheated out of tricks or treats.

What to do if you are in The Great Pumpkin’s shoes, in desperate need of reputation management? Whether you are a corporate executive, a disgraced athlete or a fictional cartoon character, here are three essential steps for reestablishing a positive brand. 

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Credibility, Reputation Management, Crisis Communications, Public Relations, Investor Relations

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Connect with your Investors

Establish a sincere connection with investors to communicate key messages during your Investor Day. Download our free e-book on effective presentation habits, and learn to deliver ideas with confidence and clarity.

Delivering Effective Presentations

When it's time for a change

Whether planned or sudden, it is crucial to communicate the succession of high-profile positions effectively. Download our three-part e-book and learn the best way to craft a plan for CEO, CFO and Board of Directors transitions.

Download Your Free eBook: Communicating Management Transitions 

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

With our new Proxy GamePlan, we create a year-round, data-driven strategic roadmap for effective shareholder engagement. Implement a best-in-class program rooted in a deep understanding of your company’s proxy practices, shareholder voting trends and peer landscape.

Learn More About Proxy GamePlan

Find Effective IR Counsel

Whether you’re seeking external IR counsel for the first time or evaluating your current provider, you need a firm that understands your strategy, adapts to your culture and tells your story. Download our free guide on how to assess the effectiveness of an investor relations firm.

How to Assess  an IR Firm

Activism Defense

No company is immune to shareholder activism. Sharon Merrill helps boards of directors and executive management teams identify the activist red flags lurking in your shareholder base, assess your governance risks and develop an action plan to prevent, detect and neutralize any threats. Download our free white paper, “Leveraging Institutional Shareholder Relationships to Reduce Activism Risk,” and learn how the best defense against activism is a strong offense.

Download Activist Defense White Paper

Captivate your Audience

Speaking persuasively is critical in today’s competitive business environment. Effective speakers use voice techniques and body language that project authority and credibility. Download our free e-book, “A Guide to Delivering Captivating Presentations,” for insight into good -and bad- presentation habits, and learn how to improve your skills.

Become a Persuasive Speaker 

Perceptions Matter

How do you ensure that investors clearly understand your strategy, growth drivers and market position? The most effective way is through a perception study. By periodically taking the investment community’s pulse you can avoid the knowledge gaps and misperceptions that hurt valuation. Download our free whitepaper, Why Perceptions Matter, to learn more.

Download your free copy of  'Why Perceptions Matter' 

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