Author Archives: Sharon Merrill

About Sharon Merrill

Sharon is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sharon Merrill Associates. When she founded SMA in 1985, Sharon Merrill's idea was to create a new kind of investor relations consultancy where dedication to both client service and professional innovation would lead to long-term relationships with New England's most esteemed companies. Staffed by a team of financial analysts, financial and corporate communications professionals as well as business journalists, Sharon Merrill Associates rapidly made its mark as a provider of cutting-edge investor relations and corporate communications counsel and services. After nearly 25 years, the agency continues to expand both its client base and professional influence under Sharon's leadership. The agency's success has established Sharon as one of New England's most recognized names in investor relations. Sharon's 35-year career has been marked by accomplishment and recognition in every facet of investor relations practice. Prior to forming Sharon Merrill Associates, she established and managed the investor relations function at Lotus Development Corporation. Before joining Lotus, Sharon served as vice president and managed the investor relations practice at what was then New England's largest full-service public relations agency. Earlier in her career, she was a securities analyst with The Boston Company, Inc. and also held positions with State Street Research & Management Co., a Boston investment firm. Sharon is the recipient of numerous professional awards. In 1997 and 1998 she was named finalist in the New England Entrepreneur Of The Year competition. Sharon holds an MBA from the Simmons College Graduate School of Management and an AS degree from Colby Sawyer College. She is a past president and director of the Boston Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and is a Charter Member of NIRI's Senior IR Roundtable. Sharon serves on the boards of directors of the Boston Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and is the incoming treasurer of the Boston Chapter of Financial Executives International. She is also a member of the Treasurers' Club of Boston, The Commonwealth Institute and The Boston Club Entrepreneurs' Circle. She created a graduate level course, "Investor and Financial Communications," one of the only courses of this type in the country, which she taught at the Simmons College Graduate Program in Communications in Boston. Sharon frequently speaks to local and national groups about investor relations, corporate communications, corporate governance and entrepreneurship.

Sharon Merrill President and Partner Maureen Wolff selected as 2014 NIRI Fellow

Maureen WolffSharon Merrill Associates President and Partner Maureen Wolff was selected as one of five new National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Fellows. NIRI Fellows are recognized leaders who represent the ideals of the investor relations (IR) profession, and have distinguished themselves on the basis of their integrity, leadership, involvement and contributions to the IR profession throughout their careers.

Sharon Merrill, Chairman and CEO of Sharon Merrill Associates said, “Maureen is extremely well deserving of this great honor by the National Investor Relations Institute. She has been a leader in the advancement of the investor relations profession for the past 30 years and an ardent supporter of NIRI. Congratulations to Maureen and the 2014 class of NIRI Fellows.”

In the NIRI announcement of the Fellows Class of 2014 , NIRI CEO Jeff Morgan said, “I am delighted to honor these five outstanding individuals who have been so important to the development of the profession and to NIRI’s success. NIRI Fellows are nominated by their peers, and represent the highest standards in the investor relations profession and in our community. We look forward to honoring them at the 2014 NIRI Annual Conference this June.” Continue reading

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Sharon Merrill EVP & Partner David Calusdian Elected to NIRI Board of Directors

David CalusdianSharon Merrill’s Executive Vice President & Partner David Calusdian has been elected to serve on the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) Board of Directors. David will serve a four-year term, which began at NIRI’s annual meeting on December 4, 2013.  Calusdian continues a legacy of NIRI board leadership at Sharon Merrill as agency President and Partner Maureen Wolff served on the board from 2003 – 2007.

Jeffrey D. Morgan, president and chief executive officer of NIRI had the following to say of the four NIRI members elected to serve on the board: “These four individuals are representative of so many NIRI members in their interest in advancing NIRI’s mission and in their genuine passion for the investor relations profession.”

Sharon Merrill, Chairman and CEO of Sharon Merrill Associates, said “We are proud to continue our firm’s legacy of leadership on the NIRI national board.  After Maureen’s tenure on the NIRI board, culminating in her serving as Chairman, we are delighted that David is sharing his investor relations expertise as a NIRI board member. Congratulations to David and the newly elected directors.” Continue reading

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Sharon Merrill Receives Awards for Investor Relations Excellence and Industry Leadership

The firm received a 2013 Bell Ringer Award from The Publicity Club of New England for an investor relations program it developed for a Fortune 500 client.  The program included a highly successful investor day.  The Publicity Club of New England’s Bell Ringer Awards recognize and honor excellence and achievement in the communications and public relations professions.  In the past 17 years, the firm has won an award for investor relations in each of the 14 years it has entered a submission.

Dennis Walsh & Maureen Wolff

Dennis Walsh & Maureen Wolff

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Sharon Merrill Associates Expresses Condolences for those Affected by the Tragedy at the Boston Marathon

Boston StrongThe team at Sharon Merrill offers our deepest sympathies to all who have been touched by the attack at the Boston Marathon.  Boston is our home, and we are profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of life and the grave injuries sustained as a result of these events.  As we grieve, we also remember with great pride and utmost respect the heroes who courageously risked their own lives to help others amidst the chaos in the aftermath of the explosions.  We also thank the public safety personnel who vigilantly work to protect our city and its people every second of every day.  The outpouring of support for our great city has been awe inspiring, and we are humbled by those citizens of other cities throughout our nation and around the world who are in solidarity with Boston during this challenging time.

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Sharon Merrill Associates Wins Platinum Super Bell Award

Sharon Merrill Associates on Monday captured The Publicity Club of New England’s coveted 2012 Platinum Super Bell at its annual Bell Ringer Awards, which annually recognizes the region’s most successful communications and public relations campaigns. We won the Platinum Super Bell for our investor relations program for Gibraltar Industries, recognizing us as “best in show” among the “Gold” winners in each of the 20 communications campaign categories.  In addition, the agency also received a Gold Bell Ringer Award for best Investor/Financial Relations Campaign.

Sharon Merrill Associates, which also won a Platinum Super Bell in 2004, is the only firm to have ever received the award for investor relations. We have been honored with a Bell Ringer award in each of the past 13 years we have entered the competition. But these accolades are only possible because of the commitment of clients like Gibraltar to maintain a high standard of communications with the investment community. We extend our appreciation to The Publicity Club of New England and our fantastic clients.

Sharon Merrill is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sharon Merrill Associates.

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How to Build a Compelling Investment Thesis for Your Investor Presentation

In a recent blog post, “Giving Life to Your Investor Presentation,” David Calusdian suggests a number of valuable ways to improve not only the investor presentation itself but importantly the delivery of the content. One critical element identified by David is the development of a strong investment thesis that ultimately binds the presentation together. What are the secret ingredients that make for a compelling investment thesis? The answer to this question lies with investors and Wall Street analysts – your audience. As a former equity analyst, global sector head and portfolio manager who’s constructed, presented and reviewed hundreds of investment theses, here are several elements worth mentioning:  Continue reading

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The Age of Diminished Sell-Side Research

Sell-side research has undergone profound structural changes during the past decade with far-reaching implications affecting the quality of the research and how research is generated, sold and compensated. Decimalization, Regulation FD, unbundling of trading from research and the hedge fund “brain drain” have all negatively impacted sell-side profitability, product quality and small cap coverage in today’s age of diminished sell-side research.

Decimalization. When the SEC required exchanges to narrow their bid-ask spreads from one-sixteenth, or $0.0625, to $0.01 per share effective in 2001, the profitability of trading floors collapsed amidst tremendous spread compression. While working on the sell-side, I recall hearing many times over, “when we get a trade we can all hear the cash register ring.” After decimalization, I never heard this again. Sell-side boutiques, historically adequately compensated for their research with large bid-ask spreads, now struggled to stay afloat.  They reduced staff levels and often swapped higher-priced, seasoned analysts for less-experienced and less-costly researchers. Continue reading

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