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3 Tips for Presenting to a Public Pension Board

By: Gui Costin

Oct 28, 2021

Walking into a board meeting to pitch a final presentation to the public pension board can be intimidating to say the least. If you're in investment sales, you already know that almost no one looks forward to these meetings: they can be stressful, difficult, and tend to be very, very long. 

So how can you, as the investment salesperson, step into that meeting and present your pitch without putting all the board members to sleep? The key is preparation.

If you come prepared, you won't have to worry. 

At Dakota, our investment sales team has been fundraising since 2006, and we've given our fair share of final presentations in that time. Because of this, we've narrowed down exactly what works and what doesn't, and have used these strategies to help raise over $40 billion.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to present to a public pension board, whether it's during a final presentation or on an update call for investment firms. We'll tell you how to structure the meeting, as well as what your presentation should include. 

After reading this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to present yourself and your firm, as well as how to deliver the strongest pitch possible. 

Presenting to the public pension board

When presenting a final to a public pension fund board and it's been a long meeting, it can feel like a parade of investment firms.

This means you need to be cognizant of a number of things.

First, while the people in the room with you are very intelligent, without context they have no clue what you're talking about. What does this mean for you? It means that it's critical that you keep your presentation simple and to the point. The analysts in the room have seen countless presentations and, chances are, they're starting to blur.

Most portfolio managers and marketing associates will go on and on, trying to cover every single thing about themselves and their firm that they possibly can. That is not what you want to do. 

Now, we'll jump into what you should do in presentations like this. 

1. Offer a firm overview

At Dakota, our advice is to always give a strong firm overview. Tell them what they need to hear to feel comfortable with you. There's always going to be a consultant at the table that’s going to ask you questions when you’re finished, but it’s critical to get your story out

As the marketing associate, you could introduce the firm and give a background. You could then turn it over to the portfolio manager to describe at a very high level what they do and how they do it, but try to keep it to five minutes.

If you’re thinking that this sounds crazy, or wondering how you're supposed to win them over by telling them what we do in less than 5 minutes? Don’t panic

Most board members have to sit through these meetings and listen to portfolio managers drone on and on, and they've done it for years. They're going to end up loving the person who gets quickly to the point and respects their time. 

2. Leave the Q&A to the consultants

We know how this sounds, but leaving the question and answer period to the consultants isn't as daunting as it sounds. 

And, it doesn't mean that you won't have time to answer questions after your pitch. Once you finish your five minute presentation, the consultant will think, "Oh, you know what? I'm glad they finished. Everyone's still awake. And I'm going to start to ask questions." 

Cover the salient points of your firm and your investment strategy so the board members have a good feel for who you are and what you do - leave it at that. Let the consultant do the Q&A.

Presenting in an update meeting

3. Be prepared and know the material

In an update meeting, the structure is very similar to a presentation meeting. Make sure you always review your investment strategy during an update call. Be thoughtful of what you’re going to say and respect their time. 

Below is an example of what you’d say on the call: 

"Hello, my name is Gui Costin from Edgewood Management. As you know, we manage a portfolio of exactly 22 large cap growth stocks. We consider the companies that we invest in to have high quality characteristics. We’re invested in companies that make a lot of money, have little or no debt, have a really competitive market position, have a great management team, have high and increasing margins, and recurring revenue. These are characteristics we want to see in our companies. If you’re analyzing us, Edgewood is very different because we disparate the portfolio based upon valuation. We have our most attractive, valued stocks as our 5, 6, 7, 8% positions. This is because if they do the best during any given year, we can really generate outperformance." 

Let's break down the example above.

First, start by introducing the strategy. Next, talk about what happened during the quarter and be very prepared - the buys, the sells - and try to keep it very tight to the point without rushing.

You don't want or need to give a long or drawn out overview for 15 or 25 minutes. There's just not enough to say, and you don't need to fill the room.

Give them the update of what they need to know about the quarter, and then pause and say, "You know what? I'll just stop there," and see if there's any questions."

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Ready to take your pitches to the next level? Find the systems, processes, and procedures you need to scale your investment firm with Dakota Rainmaker, an online sales training platform. 

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