Investor Relations. IR Management
Sergey Solomakha, Managing Director
Institute for the Development of Financial Markets
(exclusive representative of the IR Society in Russia and CIS)
IR manager as well as many other professions demanding some special level of economy development is rather young in Russia which leads to a typical set of problems. They are misunderstanding of profession, IR-manager’s responsibilities, their role in the company and critical shortage of professionals. Still year after year the number of issuers on local stock exchanges increases and many Russian enterprises enter international stock markets through either IPOs or private placements. The number of investors choosing Russian businesses as an attractive investment objects is also increasing rapidly. Russian companies’ activity on the debt capital markets is another driver of the demand for qualified investor relations professionals: recently many Russian companies and banks which haven’t yet become public have started to launch their own IR-departments for DCM-related purposes primarily.
All this leads to a situation when demand growth surpasses supply dramatically. And this results in whether filling IR-vacancies with specialists from other spheres or in distributing IR-functions between other departments. At the same time it’s pretty hard to become an IR professional: most vacancies require some experience in this field. Experience could be substituted by the education, but it’s much of a vicious circle: Russian higher education has not yet responded to the demand for investor relations officers. And there’re not so many possibilities to any special IR-education in form of seminars, master-classes and courses in Moscow.
That is why we should welcome any events aimed at improving the professional level of IR-specialists responsible for such strategic functions as information disclosure, working out information policy and helping company they’re working for to attract investments, increase capitalization and decrease the cost of attracted resources. IR-manager should have perfect English, education in finances or economics, deep understanding of financial markets’ principles and his own company’s business.
A unique IR-specialists preparation course started in Moscow this April. It is organized by the Institute for the Development of Financial Markets in cooperation with the IR Society UK). The program of the course offers a wide variety of topics concerned with regulatory issues, basic aspects of financial markets functioning, gives some experience in accounting and financial analysis. The important advantage of this course is that alongside with studying in the evening it gives opportunity to study distantly and then take a 3-days revision course before the final exam. If the “student” passes the exam successfully he receives a prestigious internationally recognized «Certificate in Investor Relations» issued by the IR Society.
June 10 first Russian CIR course students took their final exam and it was a success as far as 88% of them passed the exam and are to receive the certificates next week. Among them were representatives of major Russian companies and banks both public and not: UES, OGK-2, Basel, Comstar-UTS, Alfa-bank (Ukraine), “Vozrozhdenie” bank, Promsvyazbank and many more. Svetlana Klimyuk of OGK-2 managed to show the best results in the history of CIR.
Of course we should understand that not a single certificate or educational course in investor relations guarantees that its graduate will transform shares of the company he or she is working for into blue chips. But being in line with professional standards proves that that IRO will be able to manage the forthcoming tasks on an adequate level. It is a noteworthy fact that not a single course can solve a problem of professionals’ shortage on Russian IR-market, but it will move the task of market satiation closer to solution.