Richard Colgan, Head of Investor Relations at DH Corporation, or D+H, in Toronto, is perhaps the only IRO in Canada who has performed the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” at a retirement party for a former employer. Last year when Ed Clark retired as CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, his team surprised the longtime Stones fan by asking Colgan and his bandmates from Hot Rocks, a Rolling Stones tribute show, to play a few classic numbers at a gathering of roughly 1,000 fellow employees and friends at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.
Colgan, who plays guitar following in the footsteps of Keith Richards, enjoys the opportunity to indulge two completely different facets of his personality in his very different jobs. He believes that IR is an ideal profession for someone with a creative and social personality and has found a number of colleagues who also have interesting hobbies outside the workplace.
Married with two children in their twenties, Colgan has spent decades as a performer. When asked whether he enjoys the rock-‘n’-roll entertainer side of his life, he answered: “Of course I do. You get up in front of a crowd of 3,000 people to play your favourite music. What’s not to like?”
An IR Opportunity
Raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Colgan attended Dalhousie University, where he majored in economics. After graduating, he worked in the auto finance business at General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) for 15 years and then spent another 10 years in GMAC’s Toronto borrowings office in investor relations for GMAC’s bond and structured finance investors in Canada and the U.S.
From there, he worked in investor relations at TD Bank, and three years ago, became a member of CIRI. “CIRI is an excellent organization for all investor relations professionals to build a network with colleagues from other companies and to share thoughts,” he says.
In May 2013, when Colgan saw an IR job posting at D+H, a financial technology or 'FinTech' company that provides software, technology, and related services and solutions to Canadian and U.S. banks, he was intrigued. “It looked like an interesting, exciting opportunity to pull together my investor relations background in a technology company that’s business is to serve banks,” he says.
Colgan continues: “D+H brought me in to create and execute an investor relations strategy and to build the company’s institutional shareholder base in support of the company’s growth strategy.” Although the company is 140 years old, Colgan is the company’s first ever investor relations officer.
Colgan’s mission was transformed by the acquisition of Harland Financial Solutions, a major U.S. financial technology company that provides U.S. banks and credit unions with core banking technology, lending software, and other applications vital to the success of today’s banks. The company wanted to begin targeting growth investors while maintaining its traditional base of dividend-focused investors.
Since joining D+H, says Colgan, “there has been a long series of firsts in IR at the company, from investor targeting to breaking into the U.S. market with investor roadshows and conferences.” D+H participated in eight investor conferences in 2014 and will likely participate in roughly 15 conferences this year.
In addition, Colgan has initiated and developed relationships with virtually all of the sell-side analysts that cover the company’s U.S. competitors, resulting in invitations to several key investor conferences and other marketing opportunities. According to Colgan, “It is a privilege to work for a CEO and a CFO that are committed to investor relations and see a strong IR program as a competitive advantage. We’re already seeing the results with the number of institutional shareholders having doubled from only a couple of years ago.”
In building D+H’s IR program, Colgan has paid close attention to the company’s publicly traded peers. “I look [at] who’s covering our competitors, and then I make an outreach to the sell-side analysts,” he says. “I explain that D+H, having acquired Harland Financial Solutions, is now a $3 billion-plus market cap company compared to a billion a couple of years ago – with revenues over $1 billion. I explain how we’re now a player in the U.S. market and why it would be worthwhile to have a look at our story. And the reception has been very positive."
Colgan anticipates expanding on the progress made so far: “We’ll be building relationships, going on roadshows, and presenting at conferences in the U.S. and the U.K., as well as continuing to devote time and attention to our strong base of Canadian investors with whom we enjoy and appreciate long-term support and valued relationships.”