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May 31, 2019

DIRK 2019: The new A-Z of the capital markets

Germany’s IR society conference will take IROs from Aktionäre to Zinsen.

Pulling together a stable of well-known politicians, bankers, former sport stars and authors at its June conference, Dirk hopes to provide a handy A-Z guide to the challenges and changes 2019 will bring. For those on Twitter, #DIRK2019 is this year’s dedicated hashtag.

Starting with A for Aktionäre (shareholders) and B for Brexit, all the way down to Z for Zinsen (interest rates), Dirk’s executive director Kay Bommer tells IR Magazine that IROs will be informed on the most current issues. The two-day conference will be held on June 3-4 in Frankfurt, Germany at two venues: the DVFA Center on Monday and the Westin Grand Hotel on Tuesday.

Core theme: Explaining why Dirk picked this year’s theme, Bommer says: ‘On a micro level, there’s Brexit, Trump running wild and the China-US trade war. There were profit warnings last year – we expect some more later this year – and great volatility in the markets. If you look back, there have been nine years of positive returns on shares and we expect that bull market to end at some stage. We expect many M&A deals, too.

‘On a regulatory level, there is the Shareholder Rights Directive and a new German Corporate Governance Code. It’s a multitude of challenges, opportunities and risks. And we find that there is a letter for each of them.’

For newbies: Around 400 IROs, including those new to the profession, will benefit from the addition of several new workshops designed to improve how they carry out their daily tasks, notes Bommer. As well as workshops on media training and career advice, these additions will include sessions on how to network better, how to write a report and how to read an analyst report.

Bommer adds that what most people new to the investor relations profession really want to know is: how can I do my job better on Monday? ‘They don’t want to know the news on shareholder directors, they don’t want a case study of a complicated M&A [deal]. They really want to start from the basics,’ he explains.

D is for digitization: Day one of the conference will address one of the biggest disruptors to hit IR teams: digitization. Anitra Eggler, author of Mail halten! [Stop mailing!], will discuss how people are enslaved by their cell phones and driven by email. Addressing IROs, she will give delegates a humorous take on what an internet addict looks like. ‘In an entertaining way, [Eggler] will give IROs an idea of how to better use the internet – she’s a great fan of the internet, but says we always use it incorrectly,’ says Bommer.

Following the session, there will be a panel discussion on digitization, looking at how much of it is actually needed by IROs.

R is for regulation: On day two, Dr Theodor Weimer, chief executive of Deutsche Börse, will use his keynote speech to talk about the Dutch and German stock exchanges, shareholder value and regulation. Afterwards there will be a panel discussion on the financial markets of the future, exploring whether there will still be traditional stock exchanges or whether the current system will evolve into an entirely online or blockchain platform.

Networking: Sixteen workshops will be weaved throughout key addresses, panel discussions and networking sessions during the two days of the conference. ‘Nothing will be left out,’ promises Bommer. Workshops will also be more interactive, compared with previous years, he adds, and each one is limited to 25 people. The conference will conclude with a gala dinner for 250 people.

This article was published in the summer 2019 issue of IR Magazine