The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) defines Investor Relations (IR) as:
"the responsibility to ensure the development and continuance of two-way communication between a company and its stakeholders (investors). It is a strategic management profile where a person needs to possess communication, finance, marketing and security laws knowledge to manage investor relations. It is an “art and science of positioning and communicating a company’s story and investment proposition to its investors”
Ever since the Sarbanes – Oxley Act (2002) came into force, the Investor Relations profile has seen significant growth. The Sarbanes – Oxley Act emphasized the need for investor relations management in the finance industry.
New agendas were set up; accordingly, corporate governance had to follow new regulatory compliance where the focus was primarily on auditing transparency and public disclosure, off-balance-sheet full disclosure, financial report accuracy, internal financial assessments and more.
Moreover, companies realize that a well-trained and experienced IR team immensely raises the value of company securities.
People with experience in various backgrounds such as corporate communications, fund management, corporate financing, accountancy, sell-side analysts, buy-side analysts, and financial PR, switch to Investor Relations profile.
If you still doubt whether Investor Relations has any value as a career option or not, know this – Investor Relations has “economic value” and therefore, every public company will capitalize on it.
A London Stock Exchange research positively proved quantitatively and qualitatively that when a company has an active and effective IR strategy, the company receives reduced capital cost, liquidity, and fair securities valuation.
A lot of executives switch to Investor Relations profile in their later career in the desire for a varied and active profile. Take note of the educational and skills required to make this switch.
Experience is mandatory to switch into an investor relations profile. Companies don’t hire fresh graduates, even in a junior position. Nonetheless, your educational background matters too.
A bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Finance, Business, and any related field is necessary. An MBA degree is an added advantage.
As an Investor Relations manager, you need:
You need to understand the hierarchy in the Investor Relations profile to grasp the extent of your duties and responsibilities. Generally, there is the Assistant IR Manager, IR Manager, and the IR Director.
If you are an Investor Relations Manager, you will be required to assume all of the below responsibilities.
The Assistant IR Manager ‘assists’ the Manager in carrying about the above responsibilities.
Recommended Read: Interview with an Asian Investor Relations Manager – The interview is recommended because you will be able to relate to the person. The person switched profiles from IT to fund management to IR, and perhaps, you are sailing on the same boat too.
If you go on board as an Investor Relations Director, the duties and responsibilities will be as outlined below:
Overall, it can be assumed that the Director plays the role of a buffer between the company and the investors, ensuring the positive representation of the company in front of investors and conveying company growth potentials.
First, there are no standard interview questions. The questions depend on your past work profile. For instance, if you have an investment banking profile or an equity research job, you will be asked for the reason why you think Investor Relations will be a good profile for you and why do you want to switch.
The ‘why’ of switching profile is a given interview question, no matter from which profile you come because IR is an off-shoot of mainstream financial management with huge growth potential, and as such, every company will assess your experience and select the individual whose experience and outlook matches the company agendas.
You need to convey your mettle as an investor relations handler. You can highlight instances when your input with the previous company helped them to manage investor relations better.
The interview format varies with each company. There can be a telephonic interview, interview with the HR, a group interview and an interview with the CFO.
Here is a practice list of questions for the Investor Relations interview.
1. How many hours are you used to working daily? Do you work on weekends?
2. Talk about any assignment that you and its results.
3. Which college did you study in? Why did you select that college?
4. What is your ideal career position?
5. Where do you see yourself five years in the future?
6. Why should you be hired?
7. What skills do you have to make you the perfect fit for an IR position?
8. What is your definition of failure?
9. How do you handle failure?
10. What is your ideal team?
11. What is your definition of trust?
12. What do you know about management styles and what kind of style do you want to work with?
13. Do you have problems following deadlines and instructions?
14. What if you receive instructions which are unclear?
15. Do you have any problem-solving skills?
16. How many jobs have you accepted so far?
17. Why did you leave your last job?
18. What to do if there is a problem within your team?
19. Tell us the top 5 skills that an investor relations manager needs.
20. Can you relocate?
21. How much salary raise do you expect?
22. Imagine there is a difficult situation, how will you adapt to it?
23. What responsibilities will you not like to handle in the IR profile and why?
24. How do you improve yourself?
25. How do you make decisions?
26. Justify the salary package you expect in this IR position.
27. Why do you want to switch to the IR profile?
28. How do you overcome challenges?
29. How are you going to handle workplace conflict?
30. What will be your IR strategy for our organization?
31. Are you comfortable reporting to CFO?
32. If you were given the task of building a team, what skills and qualities will you seek?
33. How are you going to present our company to vested investors?
34. How do you improve yourself?
35. Why do you want to switch into the Investor Relations profile?
Practice these questions well.
You can switch from investment banking, corporate finance, equity research, financial analyst, and private equity roles (finance roles) to investor relations jobs.
If you have 5+ years of experience in a finance field and want to explore further, try switching to an Investor Relations profile.
Have questions? Write a comment below.