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A Career in the City

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 15 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Investor Relations Financial Reports

One of the benefits of taking up a career in the City, is the wide varied of roles available. In this case study we ask Hollie to discuss her position within a FTSE 100 company, where she works as an Investor Relations officer.

A Career in Investor Relations

Hollie is 32 and works within the Investor Relations department of a FTSE 100 company, one of the leading food and drinks brands in the world. Hollie has worked in the city for just over ten years, since graduating with a degree in Economics.

Understanding The Role

“Investor Relations, or IR is a varied role, but I suppose the easiest way to describe it would be to call it company communications. It is the job of my team to communicate information about the company to its shareholders, its customers, journalists, city analysts and also the company’s employees.

“We work hard to maintain the company’s share price and it is our job to create the annual report and accounts for the business, as well as quarterly financial statements and trading updates.”

The investor relations department works closely with the top levels of a company, including the chief executive, chief financial officer and other members of the executive. This means that attention to detail and diligence is vital.

The Skills Required

“You need to have a deep understanding of financial reports and accounting techniques, and a thorough understanding of the company and the markets in which it operates,“ according to Hollie.

The company is made up of a number of regional businesses, based in every corner of the globe. Holly says that one of the hardest parts of the job is to keep up with how the different parts of the business fit together, and to report on how each region has performed.

The Changing Nature of Investor Relations

In recent years, the world of Investor Relations has moved on significantly. This has included increased financial reporting regulation, introduced by the Financial Services Authority, greater demands from shareholders to engage with companies, and a new climate of corporate responsibility and greater communication between companies and their stakeholders.

Hollie says, “never before has Investor Relations been so important to a company’s wellbeing. We are expected to be the central point of contact between the board, the employees, the shareholders, the media and the clients. We have to adapt ourselves and our messages to suit these different audiences.”

The Rewards

This high profile status has resulted in a sizeable shift in emphasis for the role of an Investor Relations Officer or Manager. Whereas in previous years the role was mainly considered as an accounting function, companies are encouraging applications from marketing and PR professionals, investment analysts and corporate financiers. This has resulted in a higher calibre of employee into Investor Relations positions, demanding higher salaries.

Hollie points out: “an experienced IR professional can expect a salary upwards of £50,000, with a good bonus, although of course this is related to personal and company performance, and it varies depending on the industry you work in. An IR manager’s salary can be anywhere between £80,000 to £120,000, depending on the size of the company they work for. But remember that you do work hard for the money.”

The Challenges

Hollie says: “the working days are very long, starting at 6am, and during reporting periods, not finishing until after midnight. It takes a lot of effort to ensure that all the information is gathered in order to make a formal announcement to the stock exchange. You need to have a determined nature, attention to detail and the drive to see a job through and meet deadlines.

“On the plus side, you get to work with some of the most powerful executives in the world, the salary and bonus structure is good and there’s a real sense of pride in seeing your hard work translate into a successful announcement for the company.”

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