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Investor Relations Courses and Certifications

This week we analyze how the investor relations education landscape looks today. As we all know, IR is a multidisciplinary profession, where people from diverse backgrounds (finance, accounting, communication, etc.) come together, without usually having studied IR per se. The question then becomes, what are the educational options for those with an interest in IR, who want to take the courses, certifications or master’s degrees that will help them enhance their knowledge and abilities?

As far as we know, there is no course currently available in Mexico for investor relations, although on occasions Universidad Panamericana (UP) has offered a diploma in IR. Nonetheless we recommend taking the USA courses as given there are so many more public companies in the USA than in Mexico, the course load is likely to be more state of the art, and therefore useful.

NIRI: Investor Relations Charter

The National Investor Relations Institute is the world’s oldest and largest investor relations industry professional association, with more than 3,300 members representing over 1,600 public companies worldwide. NIRI’s IRC credential serves as a sign that the charter holder has proved they possess the necessary skills and knowledge needed for the IR profession.

The exam consists of ten subject areas which are considered essential in the IR Competency Framework and the candidate must prove competence in all of them, which are:

  • IR Strategy Formulation
  • IR Planning, Implementation and Measurement
  • Corporate Messaging Development
  • Investor Marketing and Outreach
  • Corporate Financial Reporting and Analysis
  • Business Insight
  • Strategic Counsel and Collaboration
  • Capital Markets and Capital Structure
  • Corporate Regulatory Compliance
  • Corporate Governance

The cost of the exam is USD 1,095 (USD 1,295 for non-members) for those who make the initial application deadline, and USD 1,195 (USD 1,395 for non-members) otherwise. The exam is taken in-person and the current test application window is for the 30 days of the month of November.

The IR Society: Certificate in Investor Relations

Launched in 2005, the CIR has become an internationally recognized investor relations qualification, especially in the UK. The program sets the stage for successful candidates to prove their knowledge in financial markets, reporting requirements for listed companies and their mastery of the central principles of investor relations.

Unlike the models offered by Dirk and NIRI, the CIR course follows a self-study structure, with all the content necessary for passing the certification included in the association’s study guide. The program’s curriculum has positioned the CIR as a valuable benchmark for those already working in the profession and a valuable asset for those looking to work in investor relations. With more than 1,600 successful candidates from over 26 countries, the CIR is established as a leading IR qualification around the globe.

The CIR’s curriculum focuses on the following topics:

  • Introduction to Investor Relations
  • Financial Markets
  • Corporate Entities and Governance
  • Market Conduct
  • Reporting
  • Accounting, Valuation and Investment Principles
  • Effective IR in Practice

Currently, all exams are online, around every 2 months. The cost is £599 (£749 for non-members), plus optional extra revision courses.

CIRI: Investor Relations Certification program

Much like its neighbor in the US, CIRI’s certification is intended for experienced IROs or other financial professionals from a related field. The Investor Relations Certification Program is at heart a course in transactional analysis and the accounting cycle, including guidance on how to prepare a balance sheet and income statement. It runs for 10 months, starting with three days of face-to-face sessions held at the Rotman School of Business in Toronto. This is followed by 8 months of online classes consisting of three-hour video material to later be discussed in one-hour video sessions with fellow students and faculty staff, held every three weeks on average. And culminates in a two-day face-to-face meeting at one of CIRI’s conferences. Successful candidates can then add the designation Certified Professional in Investor Relations (CPIR) to their names. 

The cost for the program is CAD 10,500 for members and CAD 12,500 for non-members. This fee includes in-person and online classes, all course materials as well as meals (breakfast, lunch and breaks) for the in-person classes. Applications for 2021 are not yet open.

Instituto BME: Investor Relations course

This course can be taken in-person or virtually (with 4 compulsory in-person workshops). The program is delivered in Spanish in Madrid, focusing on providing answers to diverse global needs. It has been structured to enable a deep dive into IR strategies and relevant areas of interest (new regulations, ESG impact, shareholder engagement, smart beta strategies, social media strategy, etc.).

The program has a duration of 96 hours with a cost of €2,800 for the virtual option and €3,500 for the in-person option. The next course is scheduled from October 20th, 2020 to May 11th, 2021.

Directory of English-language IR University courses:

HKU School of Professional & Continuing Education in collaboration with the Hong Kong Investor Relations Association (HKIRA)

Course: Three modules, held at weekends.

Michigan Ross School of Business

Theory and practice of investor relations.

Course: Six days in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in partnership with NIRI.

University of Lugano, Switzerland

MSc in financial communication.

Course: Two-year program (four semesters).


NIRI: Investor Relations Charter –

The IR Society: Certificate in Investor Relations –…/CIR

CIRI: Investor Relations Certification program –…/CIRI

Instituto BME: Investor Relations course –…/Relacion_con_Inversores

HKU School of Professional & Continuing Education –

Michigan Ross School of Business –

University of Lugano –…/investor-relations-financial-communication