NIRI NY NextGen – Building an IR Program from Scratch

January 17, 2019 06:30 PM


Building an IR Program from Scratch

Deborah Belevan, CPA, MBA, IRC – Vice President of Investor Relations at Hudson Group
Mei Kuo – Investor Relations at Shake Shack
Gabriel Ratcliff – Investor Relations at Etsy

Over 30 NIRI NY NextGen Investor Relations Professionals Attend “Building an IR Program from Scratch” Event in NYC

On January 17th, over 30 NIRI NY NextGen IR professionals attended a panel event at UBS headquarters in Midtown Manhattan. The panel event, titled “Building an IR Program from Scratch” was moderated by Allison Sobel (Senior Account Executive at Joele Frank and President, NIRI NY NextGen Committee) and featured Deborah Belevan, CPA, MBA, IRC (Vice President, Investor Relations at Hudson Group), Mei Kuo (Financial Analyst, Investor Relations at Shake Shack) and Gabriel Ratcliff (Senior Manager, Investor Relations at Etsy) as guest speakers.

This program was created exclusively for NextGen members. Tanya Kamatu (Catalyst IR), Lauren Tarola (Edelman) and Allison Sobel managed the event, which was sponsored by UBS and organized by NIRI NY’s NextGen committee, which also comprises Mark Eckstein (Ipreo), Sherif El-Azzazi (Brookfield Property Group), Adam Fromowitz (AST), and Mei Kuo.

The event attendance was diverse including investor relations officers, consultants as well as service providers from multiple industries.

Lisa Rubinger, Director of Corporate Access Origination at UBS Investment Bank, welcomed guests with a few opening remarks. The main part of the evening was a panel discussion that focused on the process that IROs go through to build out the IR function at a company following an IPO. Other topics the panel covered included how to succeed as a new IRO, building internal and external relationships, and best practices surrounding the quarterly earnings reporting process. Below are key takeaways from the panel discussion:

  • Ahead of an IPO, it’s important to conduct training for management/employees on the requirements and regulations that public companies need to follow
  • Investor relations professionals may be involved in various day-to-day tasks such as communicating with internal finance teams and investors, scripting earnings documents such press releases and Q&A documents, as well as going on the road to meet investors at conferences and roadshows
  • The IRO usually leads the development of the roadshow deck (investor presentation), which is a critical messaging document that companies use in discussions with investors ahead of an IPO
  • Pre-recording management’s prepared remarks for a company’s quarterly earnings call is a valuable way to help focus management’s preparation on the Q&A section of the call
  • Utilizing live earnings presentation slides during the webcast of the company’s results is valuable to sell-side analysts and investors listening in to an earnings call
  • Companies issuing various pieces of material news should consider combining the information in one press release, especially if there is a link between those various pieces
  • To help develop and strengthen relationships with analysts and investors, it can be helpful to schedule calls with covering analysts immediately after the release of earnings to review the financials and add additional context
  • When responding to difficult investor questions, IROs should focus on providing a transparent assessment of the situation rather than trying to spin it or provide an unrealistic positive response
  • Diving into sell-side analyst models and discussing outliers and/or points of interest with the pertinent analyst is key to establishing a strong relationship
  • Incorporating feedback from the Street can help drive scripting of earnings material to make it investor-centric

Following the panel discussion, attendees had the opportunity to network with each other while enjoying complimentary wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres.

NIRI NY NextGen is a sub-group of the NIRI NY chapter geared specifically to meet the needs of up and coming IR professionals who are newer to the workforce and have been in IR for less than 5 years. We strive for NIRI NY to be an engaging, educational, and welcoming place for those starting out in investor relations. Whether you’re embarking on your first role in IR after a stint in equity research, are in a rotational IR spot from finance or elsewhere in your company, or working as an IR consultant or service provider, we encourage you to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge in our community. If you are interested in learning more about NIRI NY NextGen, please contact Rebecca Updegraph, VP of the NIRI NY Board at

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