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Did you come to one of our community dinners?

Did you come to one of our community dinners?

We have held dozens of community dinners between 2023 and 2024, split between Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. We have tried different formats, sizes of audiences, topics, guest speakers and more. 

 

We have met with more than 200 ASX executives, from over 100 listed companies. 7 people even came twice, and they stressed it wasn’t just for the free drinks. 

 

Those nights were fun but there was a lot of work required from the team to together. 

 

The goal of the night was always to bring together ASX leaders who didn’t know each other and were likely from different sectors, but shared common challenges that they found difficult to discuss internally. 

What’s it like as an ASX CEO?

Some things you don’t want to talk to the Board about - because it’s your job to sort out.

 

Some things you don’t want to talk to the team about - because you try and shield them from the market facing side.

 

It can feel pretty lonely and difficult on your own. 

 

BUT the experiences you go through and the challenges you face are shared by peers at other listed companies. That’s why we put these dinners on.

 

To raise awareness on these key points, allow people to discover these shared learnings and challenges, and lift the entire market up in the process. 

 

Crucially, these nights are a no pitch, Chatham House rules evening - which led to attendees being open, curious and engaged. And we always encourage feedback from our attendees after each dinner, to continuously improve the experience for all. 

 

Coming to the dinners didn’t just drive awareness that these problems were shared. They also revealed that there are solutions to them, and a path forward shared by like-minded peers.

 

So with that said, here are the four most common discussion points from these dinners. 

(1) Board relationships are difficult, and how to manage them.

Last year, we really dove into listed boards because it’s a frequent topic of discussion at these dinners. Board members tend to put in different levels of input, relationships and expertise - but they all get paid the same. 

 

The best advice we had here was if the CEO has an issue with the Board, they need to resolve it with the Chair. It’s the job of the Chair, not the CEO, to run the Board and manage the expectations within. 

 

The CEO and the Chair should be talking a few times a week, and any issues should not be left to fester between Board meetings. The expectations of NED’s should also be crystal clear, and any boardroom stoush should be resolved quickly. 

 

If there’s an issue, get a neutral but experienced mediator between the Chair and the CEO, come to a resolution, and move on. 

(2) Insto’s keep saying they like me, but aren’t buying. 

This increased throughout 2023 as institutional investors talked a big game on support, but stayed out of the market (unless you were in the All Ords). 

 

The reality is under $200m - you’re not getting a long-term institutional investor unless they’re already in, are strategic, or REALLY love you. 

 

Like, invite you to their wedding, kind of love. 

 

The truth is, at least for now, that insto’s have mandates that prevent them from investing in your company. The ways forward for you is to stick to non-institutional, and when you’re big enough, instos will come knocking.

(3) Retail investors selling on good news. 

Retail is a deceptively long word. 

 

What companies usually mean when they say retail are “people I don’t know”. And if you don’t know them, they probably don’t know you. 

 

So yes, they sell on good news, bad news and no news. Likely because they have stuff they need to do - medical treatment, buy a car, buy into another company, go on holiday, etc. 

 

The problem here is usually that you have too many sellers and not enough buyers - so your share price goes down. So whilst you’ll always have sellers, you want to influence them to be buyers themselves - and attract new buyers. 

 

Limit sellers, increase buyers, sounds good.

(4) Fast money in, fast money out. 

Raises were a big topic, especially the difference in outcomes between raises. 

 

Clearly, raising capability is down now but some frustrations were from the leaders who had raised with “good” brokers, who then got flipped the next month, week or even day!

 

No post-raise support, money coming in but market cap damaging. 

 

The best analogy here was if you didn’t put in any TIME with investors coming in, assume they don’t KNOW the business, which means they’re not going to hold.

 

In essence, if it was fast coming in, then it’s going to be fast going out.

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