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What is a Head of Investor Relations?
The head of Investor Relations is a company’s calling card to the capital market and one of the CFO’s most important confidants. He is responsible for the company’s communication with the capital market – with the main task of relieving, representing and advising the CFO.
Accordingly, he bears great responsibility and can benefit or harm the company depending on his competence. In most cases, the Head of Investor Relations takes care of the exchange with investors and the ongoing flow of information during the year. If he manages to convey a positive image of the company, this not only has a positive effect on the courses, but also frees up the CFO and minimizes his workload in this area. On the other hand, if the head of investor relations does not manage it, this can lead to price losses and requires massive action by the CFO to maintain or win back the trust of investors.
Skilful exchange with investors
Competent heads of investor relations are characterized, among other things, by the fact that they do not see capital market communication as a one-way street, but live a real exchange with investors. On the one hand, it is important for the relationship with investors to have an open ear, to listen to requests or criticism, in addition to providing (company) information. On the other hand, the large number of discussions often results in impulses that the head of investor relations can bring into the company.
Depending on the corporate culture, it may also be the case that the Management Board consults the Head of Investor Relations on strategic decisions in order to obtain the effects on the capital market or other assessments (e.g. with questions such as: »What top 5 points do our investors (not) like? ?”).
Investor relations and digitization
Like most fields of work, digitization is also changing the job of the head of investor relations. There is still a classic way that must be followed in the case of publication obligations. However, the digital communication channels ensure that news gets around much faster and further. Not only, but also as a result, investors can now react much more quickly to developments and carry out transactions. Therefore, a head of investor relations should keep an eye on external communication about the company in order to be able to react in good time if necessary.
In addition, he must decide on which platforms and via which (digital) channels he will contact (potential) investors. Against this background, online annual reports are an example of a development that is already declining again in some companies: While annual reports were initially only published online as PDFs, a number of companies have switched to creating interactive annual reports and preparing them for different end devices. However, the costs here are of course significantly higher – and the added value must be measured individually for the company.
In addition to digitization, there are other drivers that influence the area of responsibility of the Head of Investor Relations, for example:
- Fundraising 2.0: Due to the lively start-up scene in Germany, the area of investor relations has become more important. In the past, only listed companies afforded one or more investor relations managers. This has changed a lot these days, because the way companies raise money has also changed. In the meantime, companies do not only receive capital from a bank or through an IPO. Rather, they often collect money from a wide variety of sources. As a result, a department that takes care of the shareholders becomes more important, even in smaller companies with strong growth.
- Capital market regulation and compliance: The specifications and requirements in the areas of regulation and compliance are constantly changing and have a major impact on investor relations. Large corporations therefore often not only have a legal department, but also an interdisciplinary ad hoc committee. Here, various responsible persons (eg the heads of investor relations, legal department, public relations) discuss important corporate developments, for example, which regulations must be observed, how to publish and how a message could affect the market, the share price and the public.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: successfully completed university degree with economic content
- Starting salary: €100,000
- Top salary: €200,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Investment Director, Partner, Managing Partner, CFO
What does an Investor Relations Manager do?
- Responsibility for capital market communication with a direct reporting line to the CFO or CEO
- Further development and design of the equity story
- intensive and active communication with analysts and investors
- Management and content preparation of investor relations events such as investor conferences, annual general meetings, capital markets days and road shows
- internal communication of capital market matters (board of directors, supervisory board, executives)
- Participation in the preparation of quarterly and annual reports, financial reports as well as presentations to the supervisory board and management board
- Preparation of competitor and trend analyzes as well as analyzes of the stock
- Responsibility for capital market compliance
- if necessary, organization of general meetings
- Observing the shareholder structure
- Management of the Investor Relations team
- close cooperation with different departments in the group
How do you become head of investor relations?
There is no special degree or a standardized way to become Head of Investor Relations, but many possibilities: Candidates should have a basic understanding of business or numbers (ideally both), as well as strong communication skills and the willingness to think outside the box to look.
In addition, corporations expect the following qualifications from a head of investor relations:
- successfully completed university degree with economic content
- at least 5-10 years of relevant professional experience (e.g. finance, communication or management consulting)
- possibly a relevant further training (CIRO)
- leadership experience
- (possibly responsible) experience in dialogue with the capital market
- proficient in German and English
- Very good knowledge of MS Office and Bloomberg/Reuters
- Knowledge of stock exchange regulatory obligations and how the capital market works
What does a Head of Investor Relations earn?
up to €200,000
Depending on the size and industry of the company, heads of investor relations earn between € 100,000 and €200,000 gross per year. The salary is significantly influenced by age and the associated professional experience. In addition, however, special training courses such as the “Certified Investor Relations Officer” (CIRO) in particular are helpful — also to be able to meet the requirements of the area of responsibility.
Experts assume that the investor relations area is one of the growing fields. After all, startups in particular, but also an increasing number of established companies, have a large number of investors these days — and therefore bundle investor communication with one or more investor relations specialists.
What do you expect from the head of investor relations?
A head of investor relations is a well-established personality who can look back on extensive experience in the fields of finance and communications. He combines solid financial knowledge with excellent communication skills and knows how to use this know-how profitably in exchanges with investors.
Since no two investors are the same, the head of investor relations must always be able to adjust to the other person and the situation. Because he needs a good answer to every question and has to convey it convincingly. Intercultural competence is just as much in demand here as flexibility and — especially in crisis situations — diplomatic skills. Not only does he have to credibly represent the position of the company, but he also has to be able to maintain his own credibility at the same time.
In addition, the head of Investor Relations must be willing to make frequent business trips. It goes without saying that he must work independently, be resilient and be able to lead a team.
Opportunities for advancement as Head of Investor Relations
Hierarchies in the private equity environment are flat, just as teams in this environment are rather small in terms of personnel. For this reason, further professional development can be represented less at the technical and managerial level than at the personal level of success. The key driver in the private equity business is the »equity participation« in the increase in value of the portfolio companies when they are sold (carried interest).
The personal development of an employee in the PE environment runs from analyst/associate to investment manager level to investment director and finally to partner/managing partner level. The more experience an investment professional has gained over time and the success in increasing the value of the investments under management has manifested itself over the long term, and the more corresponding successes can be proven in the initiation of new transactions/company acquisitions, the faster you will find yourself in the PE hierarchy develop upwards.
In the course of this development, the successful investment professional/investment employee should have earned »carried interest points«. This carried interest should have multiplied substantially with well-developing company portfolios, a good economy and a good investment strategy, so that successful investment professionals in the private equity environment can build up assets accordingly.
In such a scenario, successful private equity professionals can reposition themselves in the market with their own funds or create their own portfolio of companies. Anyone who wants to change out of the private equity environment will also have opportunities to change operationally to the corporate level, especially as CFO for PE-financed companies.
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