IR Management

UnknownSergey Solomakha Managing Director, Institute for the Development of Financial Markets (exclusive representative of the IR Society in Russia and CIS)
IR management, as well as many other professions demanding some special level of economic development, is rather young in Russia, which leads to a typical set of problems. They are misunderstanding of the profession, an IR manager's responsibilities, their role in the company and a 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 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 that haven't yet become public have started to launch their own IR departments for DCM-related purposes primarily.

All this leads to a situation where demand growth surpasses supply dramatically. And this results in either filling IR vacancies with specialists from other spheres or in distributing IR functions among 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 education, but it's a vicious circle: Russian higher education has not yet responded to the demand for investor relations officers. And there are not many possibilities for any special IR education in the form of seminars, master-classes or 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 the company to attract investments, increase capitalization and decrease the cost of attracted resources. IR managers should have perfect English, an education in finance or economics, a deep understanding of financial markets' principles and his own company's business.

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 an IRO will be able to manage the forthcoming tasks at an adequate level. It is a noteworthy fact that not a single course can solve the problem of professional shortage on the Russian IR market, but it will move the task of market satiation closer to a solution.