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One of the favourite elements of my job is meeting companies’ management. A typical day can see an appointment with the chief executive of a FTSE 100 company in the morning, followed by a meeting with a brand-new team bringing a £50m AIM-listed initial public offering (IPO) to market and who are facing investors for the very first time.

Each meeting is useful. The CEO of a multi-billion dollar company may come with an entourage, often including the chief financial officer (CFO) and someone from their investor relations team. Most of the time, the questions we ask are quite predictable and the management will have been intensively coached by their team and advisers on how to respond to these.

The head of an advertising company, for instance, will be quizzed about trends in regions and digital as well as threats to the business. In turn, the CFO will answer on the balance sheet and capital allocation priorities. So in these cases, it’s a change of tone that we look for – a nuance. I remember one CEO who responded to a question on revenue growth in their US testing business with the right words, but her rising nervous blush suggested she wasn’t convinced.

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The head of an advertising company, for instance, will be quizzed about trends in regions and digital as well as threats to the business. In turn, the CFO will answer on the balance sheet and capital allocation priorities. So in these cases, it’s a change of tone that we look for – a nuance. I remember one CEO who responded to a question on revenue growth in their US testing business with the right words, but her rising nervous blush suggested she wasn’t convinced.

Smaller companies tend to be less ‘advised’, but at the same time seem more connected with their business and often more passionate. Larger companies would do well to reconnect with this energy and raw enthusiasm for their businesses – I would suggest even going so far as to bring a divisional head along to talk about prospects for their part of the company.

Of course, enthusiasm must always be tempered when required. The advisers to a small company will help to shape their expectations and not promise the world to investors. The listed market is a brutal place compared to running a private company, particularly when many investors have become so short term in their outlook. It is our duty as investors to set out our expectations too, and to describe what we are looking for in our companies – whether that is consistency of earnings or investment, a dividend payout ratio, a diverse board or ethical considerations.

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