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It’s a wrap! My neighbour is a rock star and other highlights from 2017

Year-end always fills us with glee and warm happy thoughts. Investors close their portfolios, corporate IROs scramble to finish their programmes by mid-December, ECM bankers and private equity hotshots wind down their calendars and before long there is not much more to do than let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Before we wrap up in our warm scarves and silly Christmas jumpers, let’s bask in the soft lens of another year gone by and reflect on the high points….

J is for January, and deals and investor events were out of the starting blocks fast! Essilor and Luxottica merged, creating a global eyewear giant, and at €46 billion, this represented one of the largest M&A deals Europe had seen for a long while. Our team was there to support the announcement, with less than two business days’ prep time. Who said it’s not hot in January?!

X-Fab in February-fab, fab, fab on all accounts, as the market analysts got to discover this gem of an automotive engineering company, who would IPO soon on Euronext. The seed was planted then, and the senior management team presented a great story (well prepared, Jo).

It’s not March if it’s not raining—and it certainly rained roadshows.  The prize must surely go to our friends at EDF who were on the road almost solidly throughout, not just with the Annual results roadshows, but with a €4 billion capital raising in the market — all this with super pro Carmen at their side throughout. Gold star for roadshow form!

April brought a wonderful reflective moment: our new MD Fallon Painter on-boarded her job with grace and our company retreated off-site to the Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire to give us the boost and reset we all needed to kick off the new accounting year in style. Strategy – tick. Team bonding – tick. Common purpose – tick. Fun and games – tick.  You go, girl! (The club did chase me for weeks afterwards about the unpaid bar bill…fun was had by all).

Lots of seedlings came to bloom through May.  With our young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed new recruits our team is now flourishing and blending into the open-plan scenery that is Unicorn House, Shoreditch. Our aspirations are high, our colours rainbow-hued and our minds on the playing field. Dream big, aim high – the sky’s the limit. Game on.

June saw our first thinktank live event and (to quote that unforgettable 1975 pop group The Four Seasons) ‘oh what a night’! Two intrepid corporate lawyer-turned-Antarctic explorers as guest speakers, a fabulous venue (thanks to the lovely Victoria Brown’s top-notch logistics team), a food and drinks menu to die for, a superb photographer (thank you Jack McGuire –  www.jackmcguireheadshotphotography.com), engaged and personable guests –  what more could you want? … the ingredients were all there for us to learn to dare. A shout-out to the indomitable Oliver Cripps and Javier Barba (thinktank committee 1.0)—they tried to break us, but what didn’t kill us made us stronger. True grit and huge kudos for pulling it off, team.

Looking back at the first half of 2017, we are amazed how many brilliant Capital Markets Days our clients hosted.  They all stood out in their own way and ran like clockwork — in glamourous halls, museums (hello V&A London), cinema auditoriums all of which created special gatherings. The all-time prize for coolness however, must go to supermarket giant Carrefour for the epic dinner on the roof of Paris’s Café de l’Homme, at the top of the eponymous museum on the Trocadero right across from the Eiffel Tower. A beautiful night with a breath-taking view.  No sell-side analyst is about to forget that one.  Meanwhile, in New York, we beat a world-record in July: we opened an entire IR platform for Enel Americas in less than 3 weeks (hats off to Tom).

August has everyone on summer time. Shhhh…

The highlight of September has got to be our superstar Elena, fêted in Paris by none other than Mike Masterson, CEO of recently-listed car leasing giant ALD (€1.6 bn IPO) for being his ‘favourite advisor’ of the IPO process in his closing dinner speech. Behind the scenes, we expanded our Paris office with full-timers and a great new office space (just across the street from the old one on boulevard Haussmann in the 8th) as well as opening one in Madrid.  We shared Pauline’s sadness, as her childhood home was hit hard by hurricane Irma.  We are jealous of the MAMLs (‘Middle Aged Men in Lycra’ Alex and Matt) who wear lycra for our photo shoot and look just as good as the younger whippersnappers and the ageless Ray. Our new website pics are a lot of fun.

The team didn’t miss a beat, full steam ahead, on the road.  SMCP allowed some of the team to acquire some Sandro and Claudie Pierlot sartorial niceties.  Personally, I’m a Maje girl. Have been since year 2000—and I have some sweet (way, way, way pre-IPO) vintage pieces. October is a birthday month for some who were lucky to have their own Blue Planet 2 experiences in oceans far, far away.  The big news is our ‘the Mediatrees’ partnership with Cool Earth to halt rainforest destruction and protect the Amazonian rainforests by supporting the people of the Awajún Tribe in Peru. We compensate for the carbon footprint of our clients every time we go on the road through this partnership to keep trees standing. We think ahead for you to be first.

November sees the office dog bed chewed up by one of our naughtier office mutts, but the green fluff that coats the hardwood floor from canine playtime doesn’t interrupt our workflow.  The focus shifts to MiFID II and David Lloyd-Seed, Chair of the IR Society, offers 8 top tips:

  1. Know your investors
  2. Understand what you will get from your corporate brokers
  3. Talk to analysts covering your stock to understand what will change
  4. Understand how to collect consensus
  5. Update your ‘fact sheet’ so the equity story is well understood
  6. Network
  7. Make sure your management team understands the implications of the new regulation; and
  8. Be prepared to do a lot more yourself.

Watch this space, we are expanding our services to really support our clients in their IR work in the new environment starting from early 2018.  These are exciting times, teeming with opportunities for work and development.

As for me, my neighbour is a rock star and his 2017 album release has made it to the top 30 of some chart — no mean feat for a band composed of 7 ‘mature’ (well, my generation) folk, a fiddle, a trumpet, a banjo, a mandolin, an accordion, drums and guitars with four-part harmonies and some kick-ass vocals. Who knew back then, one year ago, when we were hatching the plans for 2017 and the melodious tones of the band practice next door seeped into our working space to enchant and inspire us that it would turn out quite like this?

2017 out. Happy holidays y’all.