Hedge Funds Should Not Underestimate the Impact Their Investor Conference Can Have on Client Retention
Most hedge funds hold an annual investor conference, giving them the opportunity for meaningful facetime with their capital allocators so that they can dive into what went right – and what didn’t – in the preceding 12 months.
While some larger firms produce these conferences themselves, most outsource it, as event planning isn’t their core business. Either way, an impactful investor conference can go a long way to supporting a client retention program. Here are five tips we’ve learned – in the more than ten years we’ve been in the business - that can help amplify your next conference so that your clients leave with the best possible impression.
Elevate the experience
The truth is, many of your event attendees’ individual investments will themselves exceed the overall event budget—so the experience needs to be commensurate with the guests in attendance. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to spend lavishly, but it does mean that every facet of the guest experience should be carefully considered, from welcome to departure—with a bevy of special-touch moments in between. After all, the event’s return on investment may be better measured by return on investor.
Content is king
At this type of event, your attendees are most interested in what you have to say and share. All eyes will be on the stage, so make sure you’re leaving adequate time for setup, tech checks, and rehearsals that will help the program feel cohesive and smooth.
My tips? Err on the side of larger (or multiple) screens to ensure your content is clear and visible, and consider enhancements such as IMAG or a multi-camera shoot to elevate the production quality. And for any speakers not used to public speaking, even light speaker coaching leading up to the conference can go a long way.
Don’t cut the creative
Even though your conference may be formal, you should still infuse some creativity. Whether through venue choice, design, staging, food and beverage, or other elements, there are plenty of ways to liven up the space in a way that stays on-brand to your organization.
We produced an annual conference for a firm whose primary investments were in the steel sector, for example, and we incorporated steel in everything from the lectern to the digital design to the giveaways. The event creative helped reinforce the firm’s focus and success, and attendees loved the throughline.
Keep the format fresh
From alternative programming concepts to unique seating configurations to creatively integrated snacks and meals, there are plenty of ways to liven up the format of an investor conference. Especially for gatherings that are taking place annually, providing guests with a distinct experience from year to year will help pique interest and boost attendance.
Properly value virtual
Virtual events have distinct advantages and drawbacks—so adding a virtual component to your investor conference may or may not be beneficial. A virtual stream could help grow your guest count, or it may do more damage by detracting from your in-person attendance. You may be looking for the simplicity of a stream, or you may want to ensure your virtual attendees don’t feel like an afterthought.
Thoughtfully weighing the unique pros and cons of a virtual element is the best way to determine whether it’s the right addition for your specific investor conference.
When hedge funds think about producing an outstanding client experience, their primary focus is on delivering alpha returns to their investors. After all, that is what hedge funds are paid to do. But increasingly, they face a more crowded competitive environment, where other edges make a difference. Your investor conference is one of those initiatives where providing an edge can genuinely have an impact.
Adam Sloyer is CEO and Co-Founder of Sequence Events
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