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Raising the profile of IR

IR Society chair David Lloyd-Seed looks at the challenges and opportunities ahead for IR professionals.

I’d like to start by saying that I am delighted and immensely honoured to be appointed as chair of the IR Society.  I must also thank Sue Scholes for her time in the chair.  She has left a tough act to follow.  She has guided the board into more robust procedures and ensured that we remain relevant for our members, while also pursuing the introduction of the Diploma in Investor Relations with great vigour.

The Diploma project reflects the significant progress our industry has made over the last couple of decades.  IR is, today, seen as a vital role at the top of listed companies and that is reflected in the calibre of candidates entering the industry.  The introduction of the Diploma reflects this growing stature of IR and will not only provide a higher level benchmark qualification for those seeking a career in IR but also act as a measure for companies looking to recruit and develop within their IR departments.  If all goes to plan the Diploma will formally launch next year and I urge all of you looking to get to the top of our industry to participate and hopefully graduate.

Helping each other
The economic backdrop remains one of uncertainty, and in such times the role of IR becomes ever more important.  The challenges of new economic policies as well as the impact of new global trade agreements will have an impact on companies and their fortunes in many predictable, and unpredictable, ways.  An IRO will need to stay on top of any developments and help markets understand the impact on their companies’ fortunes, both good and bad.  Alongside this the changing regulatory backdrop, most evidenced by MiFID II, will change the way that IROs interact with the markets and will likely bring a greater burden on our members. 

New service providers, new technology and the changing role of advisers will help ease some of the burden, but there is no doubt that the role of the IRO within companies will continue to become even more relevant and important in the years ahead.  The Society will endeavour to help our members in understanding how to manage the uncertainties and changes ahead through networking events, courses and seminars.  Our policy committee will continue to engage with the rule-making process to ensure that the view of the corporate and public ownership is heard. 

Developing
The Society is in rude health and we have many plans to continue to develop our offering for members, from both large, medium and small companies as well as our significant number of service providers. The continued support of our sponsors is vital to the Society’s continued financial wellbeing as well as enabling us to provide greater services to our members, so I thank them for their continued support.

I look forward to meeting many of you in time and am always keen to hear ideas of how we can improve the Society for our members, so feel free to drop me a line at david.lloyd-seed@irs.org.uk if you have any suggestions.  Every day is a school day in my book and I am a firm believer that we can all learn from and help each other, particularly as the changes and challenges ahead impact our industry. 

I therefore encourage you to engage with the Society and the debates ahead as much as possible, whether that be directly or through networking events.  Together we can continue the development of this fantastic industry and its increasing profile within companies.

Published: 1 October, 2016