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The UN fund eschews investments in armaments companies. This would be a hard sell. The unfortunate pairing was a rare glitch at the inaugural speed investing event hosted in London by Dresdner Kleinwort. In a brazen rip-off of the speed dating concept, representatives of 24 pension funds, asset managers and hedge funds each spent 20 minutes eyeing up the charms of a dozen of the 24 companies present. While relationships were not consummated on the spot, most of the would-be investors present seemed to find plenty to excite their interest.
Deeper engagement was likely once they had checked out the all-important figures of course. Even Rotheroe was upbeat about the 20 minutes she spent with Mann. I found it very productive. For the companies themselves that is a godsend. Seaward freely admits the debt to speed dating. Indeed, his interests in all things rapid were prompted by the experiences of Albert Edwards, global strategist at Dresdner, who famously wrote of his speed dating exploits in a strategy note.
The concept was simple. While investor presentations can last for two hours or more, Dresdner believes most would-be investors decide whether or not they are interested in the first 20 minutes. The set-up also benefits the companies, he says. Senior executives can also find it frustrating to have to outline their company from A-Z to institutional investors who have not swotted up beforehand. The speed investing concept is deed to give putative investors the basics, allowing them to whittle down the list of companies with which they would like to arrange more detailed meetings.
As with speed dating, the would-be investors fill out a form afterwards listing who they would like to meet again. Although there were a few chief executives and finance directors, most of the companies, which included Diageo, BT Group and BHP Billiton, sent their head of investor relations or communications. The investors ranged from asset management houses, such as Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan and Old Mutual, to pension funds and hedge funds, with the latter group in particular said to prefer the freedom of testing out their blue sky scenarios in one-on-one meetings, rather than revealing their stratagems in the more traditional group lunch format.
Each buy-side house met 12 domestically focused UK companies or 12 pan-European groups, depending on their preference. Most would-be investors found companies they would be interested in getting to know better. It would be nice to meet all the finance directors and chief executives, but that is an unrealistic hope. But overall, Dresdner felt its first speed dating session went so well it is planning to make it a regular date, having already organised follow-up events in London and New York in September.
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Make a Connection for Valentine’s Day with Speed Dating on the Red Line Friday, Feb. 13