As a second-generation investor relations professional and managing director of SM Berger and Company, Andrew Berger has nearly two decades of experience in leading high-performing IR and communications programs for clients across an array of industries; working with dozens of publicly traded companies to maximize their valuations and exposure to investors. He’s spent his entire career as an active capital market participant, engaging daily with global equity, fixed income, and structured finance investors, research analysts, and investment bankers. He’s supported nearly 100 acquisitions and over 25 financing and capital raises for SM Berger clients and has worked with IR programs that supported the best-performing Nasdaq bank stocks. And he did it all before the age of 30.
It was a passion instilled in him by his father, who founded SM Berger back in 1984, and one that led him to join the firm in 2003 as managing partner. “I remember helping my dad stuff envelopes with news releases in his office when I was a little boy,” Andrew fondly recalls. “I grew up in the business, and I share his passion for what we do here to help our clients.”
In 2020, Andrew assumed ownership of SM Berger to proudly continue his father’s legacy as the leader of one of the nation’s oldest investor relations firms committed to helping small- and micro-cap companies. Guided by the values his dad instilled in him, he’s now ushering into the future the greatest explosion of startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in the nation’s history.
SM Berger and Company: The Passionate Champion of Small- and Micro-Cap Companies
For nearly 40 years, SM Berger has been a trusted advisor to over 100 clients, among them M/I Homes, Twin Disc, Conn’s, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Installed Building Products, Innovative Food Holdings, and Richardson Electronics. Based in Cleveland, Ohio, they‘re known for their Midwestern values—unflappable ethics, off-Wall Street approach, and culture that focuses on relationships to give clients value in ever-changing economic environments. They help small- and micro-cap companies navigate increasingly complex capital markets, providing them with IR experience and sophistication typically only accessible to the world’s conglomerates—from helping to manage and support intricate investor relations programs, to providing internal and external communication services, to helping them engage with the capital markets. In doing so, they’ve led companies to skyrocketing market caps. “The enjoyment of helping them grow from $14M to $100M or $1B, there’s nothing like it,” Andrew says. “Not only are we creating value for our clients, but their investors and other stakeholders.”
We spoke with Andrew to learn more about what makes SM Berger so unique, what it takes to be a leader today, and what drives him to carry on his father’s legacy.
SM Berger is known for its Midwestern Values and decades of experience. How does this come together to make you different from other investor relations firms?
We’ve always been focused on relationships, and we still believe that partnerships are formed with a handshake. We don’t use contracts; we work as partners with our clients, many of whom have been with us for more than 15 years. We’re a boutique firm, and we believe in hard work and bringing value daily, and we align ourselves with clients who share these values. We have access to the same data and investor insights used by Wall Street firms, but we customize, design, and execute our programs to meet each of our client’s specific needs, and provide expert, unbiased, and ethical counseling regardless of their size.
What are some of the unique challenges of small- and micro-cap companies, and how do you help them?
We have deep respect for founder-led companies. Clients often come to us with a small number of large shareholders and limited institutional ownership with low trading volumes. They usually don’t have many investment banking requirements, making sell-side coverage and equity sponsorships challenging for them. Through our programs, we customize an approach, connect them with investors, and build a compelling story about their business strategy and leadership teams.
What advice would you give to other young leaders and new entrepreneurs?
First, as a small business owner, you juggle a lot of different responsibilities, and, today, serving global clients and investors, it’s 24/7, so you must have a passion for it! Second, you can always learn something new. I’ve learned from fantastic corporate leaders how they run their organizations and the cultures they’ve created. I want my team to enjoy coming to work and being part of a family business. At the end of the day, our success is driven by their hard work and dedication.
What do you enjoy most about your work, Andrew? What drives you?
I remember being a little boy watching my dad run this business in our attic. Now my kids will remember me working in my office above the garage for two years during COVID, so it’s really a full-circle situation. My dad has an unbelievable passion for what we do and what he’s built, and what drives me is carrying on his legacy. I know that would make him happy.
Andrew graduated from the University of Oregon and is a NIRI member.
Managing Director — SM Berger and Company