How investor relations has changed – and where it’s going

The IR profession has witnessed significant change over the last 10 years, according to Smooch Repovich Reynolds, managing partner of the global IR and communications practice group at ZRG Partners.

‘I think it’s gone quite rapidly in the last decade from being an entry-level, task-orientated role to being a leadership role in most companies,’ she said, speaking at the IR Magazine Global Forum 2019 in Paris. Technology is set to change the profession further, said Reynolds, but it won’t alter the key skills that make someone a good IR officer.

‘I think technology is going to advance all of us across the C-suite, in how we do our work, how timely it is, how detailed it is,’ she said. ‘But I think [that ultimately], when you are talking about an investor relations officer, you’re really talking about wisdom and judgment. And that comes from experience, a little battle-testing and the wisdom that comes from making some mistakes along the way.’

Reynolds also discussed the possibility of IROs making the move up to a senior management position. ‘I don’t think that kind of transition happens often enough, and I think part of it is [because] IR is a young profession,’ she said.

‘It’s really only been around about 30 years, and people tend to fall into it, so there’s not a clear line of sight about how you can move up to the C-suite. But I think with each subsequent generation coming along, more and more people are going to realize that the IR role is a springboard to greater roles in the company.’

Asked to offer one tip to IROs who want to advance their careers, Reynolds said you should have the confidence to take a viewpoint on key company matters. ‘Do your research, be knowledgeable, gain the right kind of business acumen – but have a spine, have a viewpoint that’s credible with your CEO and CFO,’ she concluded.