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Investor Relations Field Poised for Growth

Sharon Merrill Associates Executive Vice President David Calusdian and I recently presented on “The Dynamic World of Corporate Disclosure” at the National Investor Relations Institute’s (NIRI) “Introduction to Investor Relations” conference in Boston. NIRI holds this three-day event twice each year. Attendance typically numbers about 100 people and consists of new IR practitioners in various stages of their professional careers at companies of all sizes.

The fact that NIRI holds two such conferences each year is a testament to the growth of investor relations and the stature our field has achieved in corporations across America and the world. To be honest though, we were wondering how attendance would be affected by the recession. After all, the IPO market has not been a fertile breeding ground for new investor relations officers. And the lack of corporate growth in the past year and associated cutbacks has not lent itself to increasing IR budgets or staff.

When we entered the hotel ball room, it was packed. Attendees were mostly from larger companies and had many years of business, operations or financial experience. We were excited to see the strong attendance and believe this as a good sign that corporate America still sees the value in investor relations.

In talking with many of the attendees after the presentation, we were impressed by how excited these newcomers were about entering the field. Their questions during and after the presentation were plentiful and insightful. Most dealt with rationalizing the vagaries of certain regulations with practical real-life circumstances.

Companies need IR professionals who can articulate their prospects to the investment community now more than ever before. There are more regulations to follow, an increasingly skeptical investment community and a macro-economic outlook that promises to remain murky for many quarters, if not years, ahead. When the economy rebounds, investor relations is poised for very strong growth.

Maureen Wolff
President & Partner

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