Timesaver’s guide to NIRI 2016
San Diego, CA
NIRI’s annual conference is back in San Diego for the first time since 2010. The city offers organizers an attractive mix of good conference facilities, benevolent weather and family-friendly attractions (for those tagging on a holiday). It also puts NIRI in easy reach of the corporate community spread across the Southwest. Following a break last year, the in-demand golf tournament also returns in 2016.
The conference will make use of San Diego’s naval links. Carey Lohrenz, the US Navy’s first female pilot of an F14 Tomcat – the plane that features in the movie Top Gun – will give a keynote speech on ‘fearless leadership’.
Conference co-chair Lee Ahlstrom, senior vice president of IR, strategy and planning at Paragon Offshore, knows what a tough year it’s been for some delegates. His firm, which spun off from Noble just as oil began to plunge, filed for bankruptcy protection in February. For a different perspective on the energy market, fellow co-chair Karen Fisher is IR and compliance officer at San Diego-based OneRoof Energy, a solar panels leasing firm.
In a presidential election year, politics will always be a major talking point. That’s even more likely in 2016 given that the Californian primary is due to take place during the conference. Conference speakers will ‘have quite a bit to comment on, not only what could happen with the US election, but also which way the US economy and business environment are likely to go depending on who might win,’ says Ahlstrom.
Professional development will play a prominent role this year. NIRI’s long-awaited certification program held its first exams in March and delegates who now hold the Investor Relations Charter (IRC) will be honored on Tuesday, as will those who helped set up the program. In addition, NIRI has planned a range of sessions matching up with the 10 core competencies of the IRC syllabus.
Wall Street is notorious for getting away with its misdeeds. One area that bucks this trend, however, is insider trading, with former hedge fund behemoths Galleon and SAC Capital among those brought low by recent investigations. Delegates can look forward to a talk from David Chaves, securities program co-ordinator at the FBI, on the biggest insider cases of the last five years, plus what IROs can do to better manage their disclosure practices.
Another big draw will be the fireside chat with Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait. The former editor-in-chief of The Economist will tackle subjects including business, politics, publishing, financial reporting and how data leaks are changing the world. On the final morning, Andy Goodman, speaker, consultant and author of Storytelling as best practice and Why bad presentations happen to good causes, will give a talk on how to use stories to make your corporate content more memorable.
How do you cater to an audience with widely different levels of experience, company size and industry experience? It’s a challenge for all IR conferences, but especially for NIRI given the 1,000+ attendees. ‘We have a variety of different audiences,’ notes co-chair Karen Fisher. One session, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon will tackle this head-on: IROs from small, mid and large-cap firms will discuss a range of issues, from targeting to sell-side coverage and IR metrics.
This article appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of IR Magazine