Search consultant highlights importance of financial acumen for IROs

May 08, 2018
IR professionals advised to consider MBA, CPA licenses or professional accreditations if they feel their financial knowledge is lacking

Investor relations may have started out as a financial communications role, but in 2018 it is clear that successful IROs have a balanced communications and finance background. But only 22 percent of IR heads and 44 percent of IROs have a corporate finance background, according to IR Magazine’s Salary and Careers report, released last month. 

In the latest in IR Magazine’s video series with Smooch Reynolds, managing partner of the investor relations and corporate communications practice at ZRG Partners, she drives home the importance of financial knowledge. ‘The management teams that we work with and the investment community both tell us it’s a really important piece of knowledge for the top notch IROs to have,’ she says.

 

Reynolds adds that it’s important to remember IR is still a relatively young profession – next year NIRI will celebrate its 50th anniversary and this year IR Magazine celebrates its 30th anniversary – and the commonly held understanding of its role has only become clear more recently.

‘It’s really only been in the last 10-15 years that we’ve had a clear definition of IR emerge. Certainly in the last decade we’ve had a concrete definition. We know what the role is and that it’s still evolving,’ Reynolds says.

In the last few years, new opportunities for accreditations and qualifications in IR have emerged – including academic courses at the likes of Fordham University, and professional accreditations, such as NIRI’s Investor Relations Charter credential, CIRI’s Certified Professional in Investor Relations qualification and the IR Society’s Diploma in IR and Certificate in IR.

Reynolds adds that CPA licenses and relevant MBAs look good on a candidate’s resume because they indicate financial proficiency. Ultimately, she says, choosing the right professional development opportunity comes down to an individuals’ self-awareness.

‘There’s never been a hard-and-fast rule saying that an MBA is better than CFA or an accreditation. Candidates need to make an assessment of their careers, their financial acumen and where the gaps are. People overlook gaps and they need to start filling those in if they want to be on a success trajectory. In the IR profession, talent has come from so many different career directions that there’s no silver bullet – no right or wrong answer,’ she says.

Click here to watch the latest in IR Magazine’s careers video series with Smooch Reynolds, to catch up on the previous episodes and to subscribe so that you’re notified when a new video is published.

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