Majority of IROs take on additional roles

Jul 31, 2013
<p>European study finds more than half of respondents have extra responsibilities like corporate affairs or strategy</p>

Investor relations remains a relatively new profession, one which has evolved from a number of other departments within companies, so it’s unsurprising that the job description can vary widely between issuers.

This is a point highlighted by the latest study of European IR by Citigate Dewe Rogerson: the poll of 165 IROs based in 20 different countries finds that just over half have additional responsibilities outside of IR.

Fifteen percent of respondents say the additional work is in ‘corporate affairs’, while 11 percent tick ‘capital markets’ and 6 percent select ‘strategy’. We don’t get a full picture of the extra roles, however, as 18 percent just put ‘other’.

Citigate says additional responsibilities are often positive for the IRO involved. ‘Greater involvement in these areas is widely considered as beneficial for career development, positioning the IRO a step closer to a future senior management role,’ writes study author and Citigate director Sandra Novakov.

Andrea Abbate, practice leader for IR and corporate communications at recruitment firm EMR, agrees that around half of the IROs she’s worked with had another area of responsibility.

She points out that this situation is often shaped not by what the IRO wants, but rather by where the IR function originated within the company. ‘There will be a natural tie-in for IR to do something else, and what that something else is tends to be aligned to where IR sits within the business,’ she says.

While additional responsibilities may edge IROs toward senior management roles, Citigate’s study finds only a quarter regularly attend board meetings, a situation that restricts both IR’s awareness of strategy and the board’s knowledge of any investor concerns, warns Novakov.

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