Peak Asset Management recently held its first Microcaps investor conference, and here’s what the punters and players had to say about it.

In mid July, boutique firm Peak Asset Management organised its inaugural microcap investor conference, inviting a swag of ASX-listed companies to deliver a series of short, sharp presentations on where things are at, and what a short-term look into the future of those companies might look like.

Stockhead tagged along to see what all the fuss was about, and came away from the experience pleasantly surprised – not only by the calibre of those who were giving the presentations, but also by the number of retail investors who attended, and the level of access to the company representatives were able to provide.

Conference organiser Niv Dagan, executive director of Peak Asset Management, was understandably happy with how the event played out.

“It was a great conference,” Niv says. “We had more than 200 investors and 25 ASX CEOs and directors onsite, coming together to help those investors understand how and where those companies can provide value, and to help the company leaders understand who their potential investors are.”

“We also had three well-received panels on the day – a property and fund management panel, and a market insight panel, which both led into vigorous Q&A sessions.

“Outside of the formal sections of the program, there was a lot of networking being done during the breaks, including facilities for investors to spend quiet, one-on-one time with company representatives to answer in-depth questions. It’s the sort of access that investors just don’t get from reading company announcements and looking at charts.

“Overall, we had excellent feedback across the board. Everyone loved the energy in the room and the day was exceptional.”

Over the course of the day, Stockhead took time to speak to many of the people at the conference, to gather their insights into the event – and here’s what they had to say.


The people have spoken

“Nick” describes himself as an “active investor and trader”, with a particular interest in the small and microcap end of the market, thanks to the number of exciting companies that have real growth potential.

“We’ve seen that over the past couple of years, and it’s important to know just what’s out there on the market,” Nick says. “There are some really good companies in that area who might end up being a 10-bagger, and that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it?”

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how the conference has gone today,” he continued. “I personally hold about seven of the companies who are presenting today, and because recently I haven’t had much time to sit and watch the playbacks of directors’ presentations and stuff like that, I thought coming to the conference today would be quite valuable.

“I got to meet with the CEOs and directors of a number of the companies I’ve invested in, and to have a chat with them face to face. I got to see first-hand where they’re at in terms of their strategy, and it was generally a pretty good session overall.”

When asked whether being able to see the directors and CEOs presenting about their companies live made a significant difference, compared to scrolling through market announcements, Nick was emphatic.

“100%, mate. 100%,” he said. “I’ll give you one example from today, and that’s Patagonia Lithium (ASX:PL3). I’ve been a holder of that company since IPO, and I met the director very briefly at an event a few months back.

“But seeing the presentation today, I thought to myself ‘okay, this could be something big… this could be very real.’”

Nick wasn’t the only person who saw the enormous benefit of being in the room to watch the presentations, and have a chance to read the body language and hear the confidence that the company representatives have in what they’re doing.


Up close and personal

“Byron” is a full-time investor who also had high praise for the event and the way it was organised.

“I predominantly invest in microcaps, on the basis of risk versus reward,” Byron says. “The biggest losses I’ve incurred have been from investing in larger caps, and the best wins I’ve had have come from the smaller end of the market.”

“I think the conference was really good,” Byron says, adding that the organisers had done a great job in putting together a diverse range of companies from across a variety of industries and market sectors.

“The mix was great, especially since the conference is in Melbourne, it’s harder to get resources companies to present, as opposed to a conference in Perth, where those companies are for the most part based.”


Standout performers

From a (very) informal polling of investors at the conference, there were some definite standouts among the companies presenting.

The name on many people’s lips was Patagonia Lithium (ASX:PL3), with a 15-minute presentation that included a startling but very memorable video component, with executive chairman Phillip Thomas on hand to talk about the relative ASX newcomer’s ongoing work on its lithium projects in Argentina.

Likewise, Nan-Maree Schoerie’s informative views on the future of her company ECS Botanics (ASX:ECS) – including excellent insights into the thinking behind several critical decisions around growth and inventory management – had many in the audience hastily making notes.

A very upbeat and polished presentation from hydrogen-fuel provider Lion Energy (ASX:LIO) brought on a lively Q&A with the audience, keen to understand the company’s forward-thinking business strategy to revolutionise back-to-base heavy hauling and public transportation needs through a lean, green fuelling option.

And, despite nursing a kayaking injury, Dimerix (ASX:DXB) boss Dr Nina Webster brought the conference up to speed on her company’s progress on the Phase 3 clinical trial of its Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) drug, which was recently acknowledged as meeting the Chinese government’s strict NMPA guidelines.

There were, of course, many more presentations than that, all of which gave the investors plenty to discuss over the course of the day – and well into the evening, at the post conference drinks.


Plans for the future

As event organiser, Dagan says he has also received very positive feedback from the CEOs and directors who were presenting on the day, with some excellent short-but-sweet testimonials flowing in from a number of the companies on the roster for the conference.

Based on the success of this initial event, Peak Asset Management is planning to build on its achievements with similar events down the track.

“We are essentially money managers and co-invest alongside our investors, so this was the very first conference we have run,” Niv says.

“Due to the solid foundation and building a great rapport with some of our partners, we would like to do more similar events targeting other capital cities.

“The objective would be to reach as many investors as we can, but also to ‘give back’ to those companies and assist them in growing their own reach.”

To that end, Peak Asset Management has a conference locked in already, to be held in Perth on 19 October this year. Stick it in your diary, because it’s not something you’re going to want to miss.