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Investor Relations Career: The Best Guide

Avadhut
|
Updated on: April 3, 2020

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

Investor Relations Career

Investor Relations Career

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.

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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.

How to Switch into Investor Relations Roles?

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.

Educational Requirements

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.

Skills

As an Investor Relations manager, you need:

  • excellent verbal communication skills to talk with investors and maintain the company’s image.
  • excellent written communication skills to prepare convincing presentations.
  • to be detail-oriented and have problem-solving skills.
  • to understand financial reports and study daily financial market happenings. While you don’t need to prepare financial models or get into financial analysis in “depth”, you need the ability to understand financial reports to convey the same to external investors.

  • to be flexible, proactive, a learner and be able to work within a team. However, if you are switching to a mid-level or local company, you might be the only one handling not only their IR but public relations too. Therefore, you need to also have multi-tasking skills.

Investor relations job description

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.

  • overseeing the complete investor relations program
  • reporting to the CFO (if any)
  • coordinating and managing the investor relations team (if any)
  • evaluating, improving and maintaining positive relationships with shareholders and investors
  • extending the investor relationship program to the vested investment group and the public
  • ideating and implementing new investment strategies
  • collaborating with interlinked departments such as marketing, underwriter, senior executives, CEO and CFO to establish new product strategies
  • communicate the new product strategies to peer group communities and organizations like the Wall Street
  • communicating the financial expectations of the vested community back to the management and counseling the management to reach the goals
  • monitor investment research and communicate competitor research information to the CFO or CEO
  • convey investment community feedback to the senior management
  • fulfill the role of a public spokesperson, if the need arises

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:

  • advise senior executives on strategy development by considering the attitudes of financial regulators, analysts, and investors
  • advise senior executives on communication strategy to ensure the best representation of the company within the financial groups
  • advise the executive team on the impact of factors like ‘mergers and acquisitions’ on the investor community
  • maintain an active investor relations section on the company website, publishing latest financial reports, stock prices and press releases
  • ensure a positive and active flow of communication between the company and the community through press releases and event promotions (the task can be outsourced to a public relations management agency if the need arises)
  • build a powerful reputation of the company in front of stakeholders  - stock exchange representatives, portfolio managers, financial analysts, investment department heads and research directors
  • report financial statements to the vested investor group through annual reports, press releases and SEC filings
  • consult the senior executives on the creation of annual reports
  • brief the executives before any public conference with stock analysts and journalists

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.

Breaking into Investor Relations – 35 Interview Questions

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.

Be prepared.

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.

Endnote

You can switch from investment banking, corporate finance, equity research, financial analyst, and private equity 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.

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zenia
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zenia

hi ,

Is it possible to move to an investment banking role after gaining experience in investor relations ?

sutapa mishra
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sutapa mishra

Hello Avadhut,

I am MBA in finance with graduation in computer science. I have 2 years experience in IT, 1 year in fin ops and now 2 years as BA with Capital Markets. I want to get into investor Relations profile. Can you guide me how to switch into the same.

monica
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monica

Hello Avadhut,

Loved the article, however i think i need a little more help. I love investor relations and would like to go into it full throttle. Would you kindly recommend any successful IR practitioners who would like to mentor? i worked in a stockbroking firm and now at the stock exchange in my country but i feel that i need some interaction with a successful IR practitioner to help with the leap.

I would very much appreciate your help.

Chanchal Sharma
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Chanchal Sharma

Hi,
I'm a commerce graduate and MBA finance, thinking to switch my carrer in IR field. Anyone can help !!!!

Baptist
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Baptist

Hello Avadhut

I have a job as an investor relations analyst at a leading investor relations advisory firm.

I have a Bachelor of Commerce degree and Bachelor of Laws degree from a top university as well as 18 months experience as a tax consultant with a big 4 accounting firm.

I have 2 questions, please:

1.
I would like to know if there is an exit opportunity for me into equity research after 1 or 2 years experience in investor relations?

2.
I am thinking about doing CFA level 1 as well - will that help?

Please advise as to exit opps for Investor relations analysts as I need to know what potential career options lies ahead after Investor relations.

Many thanks

Baptist

Avadhut
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Avadhut

Hi Baptist,

1. Investor relations (IR) jobs are more similar to Corporate Finance roles. You need specialized knowledge and skills for Equity Research (ER) roles. So, I would say ER to IR is more common and easier than IR to ER. Still, if you get an opportunity in ER, go grab it.

2. Clear all 3 levels of CFA. Plus, acquire practical skills.

Read this equity research career guide.

Veeresh G Laddimath
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Veeresh G Laddimath

I am MBA (Finance) graduate. Currently working for KPMG US Audit at Bangalore, Specified in Investment Funds, Equity, and Company Filings. Through this experience working with clients, analyzing financial statements, and making investment audits, I have developed leadership and analytical skills and honed my knowledge of accounting and finance.

I am interested for banking/financial analyst position at your firm. Can you recommend with this regard.

Thank you

Avadhut
Guest
Avadhut

Hi Veeresh,

Which firm and role you want to work with? FinanceWalk is NOT a firm.

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