The finals of the inaugural Investor Relations Competition, launched by the Investor Relations Professionals Association (Singapore) [IRPAS] and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in August 2012, should soon see the expansion and enrichment of Singapore’s investor relations talent pool.
Long gone are the days when investors picked their stock solely on how robust the bottom line looked. Today, there is a growing demand from investors around the global village for company details besides profits: environmental sustainability, social contributions, business ethics, labour rights, human rights and corporate governance.
Quoting Principle 15 of the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s new Code of Corporate Governance, Mr Harold Woo, IRPAS President and Senior Vice President, Investor Relations, CapitaLand said that “companies should actively engage their shareholders and put in place an investor relations policy to promote regular, effective and fair communication with shareholders.”
Indeed, companies here are increasingly recognising the importance of establishing proper and proactive investor relations policies and functions. However, many organisations are challenged to find suitable talent and—this is worrying—may not have the right expertise to handle these functions. Jointly organised by IRPAS and NTU, the Investor Relations Competition seeks to address these concerns by promoting interest in the profession amongst undergraduate students through hands-on experience in investor relations work. Teams of two have to prepare and deliver an investor relations presentation on one of 12 major listed companies. Besides crowning the champion team, the organisers and other companies can look forward to greater awareness of the industry amongst undergraduates as well as potential talents gleaning valuable insights into how they can better perform in this profession.
“It’s not just about getting more people to fill the gaps,” explained Mr Woo. “Investor relations officers need to be well-versed in a company’s operations, industry and competitive outlook, financial information and markets, as well as being able to convey this information to investors to motivate an investment decision. This unique blend of strong analytical and communication skills required for investor relations is not readily found in Asia. Even large companies are struggling to find and retain their investor relations talent.”
Added IRPAS General Manager Mr Joseph Chia: “Good investor relations officers are highly sought after in the market. As they work closely with senior management, companies tend to hire only experienced and highly educated practitioners, adding to the supply crunch.” The IRPAS-NTU Investor Relations Competition is the latest effort to attract fresh talent to the profession and is the result of the close partnership between the association and the university’s Nanyang Business School (NBS) and career services office. Participants are given about one month to conduct research on and meet with the companies they were assigned to work on for their presentation in the competition’s finals. At the finals on 8 and 9 October, each team will have to give a 45-minute presentation and field questions by a panel of judges comprising members from the investor relations profession and the investment community. Teams are judged on the following criteria:
- Knowledge of assigned company (30%)
- Knowledge of industry and competitors (30%)
- Presentation skills and ability to handle questions (40%)
“We are glad for the opportunity to work with NTU’s NBS on this competition,” said Mr Chia. “The career services office has been pro-active and we are very impressed by the depth of financial analytical skills and breadth of soft skills possessed by NBS students. The companies who are involved in this competition are not only on the lookout for talent to hire, but they are also hoping to gain fresh perspectives on their investor relations presentations.”
Associate Professor Valerie Du Toit-Low, Associate Dean (Student Development & Outreach), NBS, said: “The competition is a great way to showcase the tremendous career opportunities available in investor relations and attract students who are passionate about the field. It also complements our ongoing partnership with the industry to develop students’ capabilities to solve real-world issues and expose them to best practices. The job leverages on much of the knowledge and skills they would have picked up at Nanyang Business School, while diversity of experience and access to the highest echelons of the corporate world are always invaluable benefits.”
IRPAS has been working closely with Singapore’s tertiary institutions to raise awareness of career opportunities in investor relations and develop promising minds for the industry. Adopting a holistic multi-level approach, the association has launched several new initiatives over the past few years, including training seminars, university career talks, commissioning studies, job postings and facilitation, and investor relations internships. Earlier this year, IRPAS and its counterpart in the UK also launched the Certificate in Investor Relations—a self-study international investor relations qualification recognised by both Singapore and the UK.
IRPAS was established in 2006 by leading investor relations (IR) practitioners, supported by the Singapore Exchange, with the primary objectives of championing IR best practices, enhancing professional competencies and elevating the overall standard of the IR profession in Singapore. Run by IR professionals for IR professionals, IRPAS is a voluntary commitment by a team of IR veterans united by the same dedication to build a community for IR professionals, empower members through education, professional development and networking initiatives, and to facilitate the sharing of IR knowledge and best practices through research as well as in partnership with prestigious institutions. IRPAS aims to represent the views of its members, and provides the platform to facilitate dialogue among the IR fraternity, regulatory bodies and investment community.
IRPAS has approximately 200 members comprising representatives from companies listed on the Mainboard and Catalist of SGX covering a spectrum of geographies, industries and market capitalisations, leading private institutions, as well as IR advisors and service providers in Singapore and the region. For more information, please visit http://www.irpas.com.
About Nanyang Technological University
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, and Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences. In 2013, NTU will enrol the first batch of students at its new medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, which is set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to four world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre on Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading 4research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
A fast-growing university with an international outlook, NTU is putting its global stamp on Five Peaks of Excellence: Sustainable Earth, Future Healthcare, New Media, New Silk Road, and Innovation Asia. Besides the main Yunnan Garden campus, NTU also has a satellite campus in Singapore’s science and tech hub, one-north, and is setting up a third campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.
For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg
About Nanyang Business School
Consistently ranked among the world’s premier business schools, NBS has been nurturing leaders for business and public service, advancing global management knowledge and practice for over 50 years. Our curriculum melds rigorous academic theory with real-world business practice, while our faculty leads global thought and research in several fields of business and finance. Our 35,000 alumni hold positions of responsibility in business, government and public service in 45 countries. At NBS, we believe that responsible leadership in business and government is crucial to securing a sustainable future for our world. Through teaching and research, we are grooming a new generation of leaders with the knowledge, skills and passion of pursuing lasting success that seeks not only economic profit but also the interests of the community and environment.
For media enquiries and more information, please contact IRPAS Secretariat:
Tulchan Communications, (65) 6222 3765
Jean Zhuang, firstname.lastname@example.org, (65) 9061 1075