Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yowzer! Step Right Up and Hear the Professor!

I’m happy to report that I will be speaking on February 15th at the Houston NIRI chapter on the topic of “IR Insights from Academia: Does Any of That Fancy Theory Apply in a Real World Context?” This will be the second time I’ve given this talk, having successfully addressed the Dallas NIRI chapter last November (at least they said it was successful). For those interested in attending, details can be found on the NIRI Houston web site, http://www.niri-houston.org/Luncheon--1.html?ModKey=mk$clsc&LayoutID=7&EventID=95

I find the topic fascinating because it gives me a chance to talk about the intersection of theory and practice. Since leaving the corporate practice of IR and developing my investor relations class at Rice University, I’ve had the opportunity to step back from the day-to-day pressures of IR and really think about what it is IR practitioners do and how all of that fits into things that are taught in business school.

When you think about the discipline of investor relations, it incorporates aspects of marketing, communications, finance, law and the capital markets. Further, the audiences it affects go far beyond just investors to encompass employees, customers, suppliers, creditors, bond holders and governmental entities to name a few. When you throw into the mix that there are some schools of academic theory that hold that active investing and investor relations activities add no value, there’s quite a bit that can be discussed.

Just by way of a teaser for some of the topics I cover in the talk, here’s some of the theory versus real world that I cover:

Finance – most valuation models are constructed using discounted cash flow techniques and how they work has a significant impact on your company’s stock price. Beyond the modeling technique however, there lies a significant takeaway to think about.

Marketing – a lot of investor relations literature talks about targeting investors, but that is only one-third of the three crucial steps to marketing.

Communications – there is a lot of really bad IR communications out there, much of it in the form of PowerPoint slides. I look at examples from some of the biggest corporations in the U. S. (This section is the most fun.)

Law – lawyers are taught to think in a particular way, and regulatory lawyers have a unique take on that. As someone who practiced law for ten years, I attempt to bridge the communications gap between lawyers and IR practitioners.

If you are in the Houston area, I hope you can join me. If you are not in the Houston area, but are interested in having me come to a local NIRI chapter, please give me a call. I’m somewhat of an evangelist on bringing more academic rigor to investor relations, so there is no charge for the talk other than travel expenses.

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