NIRI sits first IR charter exams
The first batch of candidates for NIRI’s Investor Relations Charter (IRC) program have taken their initial round of exams, becoming the first IR professionals to obtain the new qualification.
NIRI announced its new IRC program, which aims to give established IROs an opportunity to demonstrate the mastery of the profession, in October 2015.
Jim Cudahy, NIRI’s president and CEO, says the first outing of the scheme was a resounding success, adding that he and his colleagues are eager to see who will go on from the exam to gain their full IRC qualification.
There are no distinct characteristics from the first class of candidates but, as a group, they average 14 years of IR experience, range in age from their early 30s to late 60s, and are distributed across financial centers in the US and several locations around the globe, Cudahy reveals. The class of ‘16 will learn how well they have done no later than April of this year, though they will be celebrated at the upcoming NIRI Annual Conference in San Diego in June 2016.
Those hoping to sit the exam need either six years’ experience as an IRO, a bachelor’s degree and three years’ IR experience, or an existing IR qualification and three years in a related role such as planning, business insight or corporate governance. NIRI suggests IRC students should also spend somewhere in the region of 100 hours studying the various course materials in the Investor relations body of knowledge before sitting the test.
The exam itself comprises a four-hour, 200-question, multiple-choice test taken at either a NIRI location or one of its external examination centers. No details are yet available about overseas testing, with NIRI representatives remaining tight-lipped on the subject, though IR associations in other countries are in talks to set up the charter abroad.
After passing the exam, IRC candidates will have to refresh their qualifications every three years by earning 30 professional development units through qualifying activities, which include attending NIRI workshops and upholding high IR standards in their job.
‘As I have travelled the country and the world talking about the IRC program, I have emphasized that the demand for this program came from the profession itself and it has been led and overseen in all phases by IR practitioners,’ writes Cudahy in a press release.
Following the first round of examinations, sat by more than 60 IROs, NIRI has released a list of the subject matter experts who informed and shaped the content of the IRC course. They include Cherryl Valenzuela, senior manager of IR at Twitter, Mickey Foster, vice president of IR at FedEx, and William Powell, adjunct professor of strategic communication, marketing and media management programs at New York University.
Cudahy says these contributors should feel great pride that the creation and development of the IRC has been led by IR practitioners. It is a remarkable achievement that has been possible only with the significant and selfless contribution of time and energy from volunteers throughout NIRI, he adds.
‘The IRC has been in development for some time, with NIRI having supported IR master’s and other degree programs at various North American colleges – including San Francisco, Michigan and California Irvine – in the past,’ writes Felise Kissell, NIRI’s board chair and vice president of IR at HSN.
‘The decision to create an IR certification was many years in the making, but it simply would never have occurred without the engagement and expertise of our base of volunteers. We look forward to watching the IRC program grow and become a meaningful standard within investor relations.’
Applications to sit the second round of IR exams, to be held in September 2016, are now open on NIRI’s website.