When public companies release quarterly results, they will generally have a conference call to answer any questions the public may have. These conference calls are limited in length, however. Therefore, those who are selected to ask questions should keep their follow-up questions to a minimum so that everyone can have their questions answered. Unfortunately, this courteousness rarely takes place.
Last month, I waited my turn on the conference call for Abitibi-Bowater as certain analysts asked follow-up after follow-up. Unfortunately, we ran out of time before everyone could be heard from.
Recently, many companies have begun to take steps to fix this problem. On the Gildan Activewear (GIL) call last week, the company requested that questions be kept to two per person so that everyone would be heard from. Unfortunately, this still didn’t stop certain analysts from hogging the floor. Sara O’Brien from RBC, the first analyst selected for a question, asked a question followed by four separate follow-ups! Pretty much every analyst that followed her also surpassed the two question request, prompting the Investor Relations Director to have to interject at one point during Mary Gilbert of Imperial Capital’s fifth question with a:
“Sorry to interrupt, if you can maybe call us with follow up questions, we could give the opportunity for others to ask questions as well.“
This call also ended with analysts still in the queue. Let’s see a little courtesy!
For more conference call etiquette, see here.