The first ever Investor Relations (IR) Graduate Program yesterday was launched as a joint initiative between Dubai Financial Market (DFM), NASDAQ Dubai and the Middle East Investor Relations Society (ME-IR Society).
Six finance students from three universities in the UAE were selected for the program which will allow them to do a work placement within the IR teams of some of the major listed companies in the country including EMAAR, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, SHUAA Capital and Dubai Islamic Bank.
In addition to the work placement, students will attend a total of eight training sessions on various IR-related topics which will be delivered by leading financial services firms including Bank of New York Mellon, Citi, JPMorgan, Thomson Reuters, Moody's, Latham '&' Watkins, Hawkamah, Merchant Cantos and Deutsche Bank. On completing the five-week IR Graduate Program, students will also receive the ME-IR Society's Two-Day intensive Certified Investor Relations Officer (CIRO) course and examination for accreditation.
The program, which is the first of its kind in the region, is aimed at introducing young Emirati graduates to the relatively new but fast growing field of IR, and to provide a basic skillset to begin a career within this profession. Talented IR professionals from the region are increasingly sought after as listed companies continue to strive to implement international best practice IR and improve overall corporate transparency.
Essa Kazim, Managing Director and CEO of DFM, said, "The IR Graduate Program will offer young Emirati students a unique opportunity to learn more about IR, which is indeed quickly becoming an increasingly important function within listed companies in the UAE. We hope to encourage these young individuals to consider pursuing a career in the IR sector." Hamed Ali, Acting CEO of NASDAQ Dubai, said, "Dubai has emerged as a major hub for regional economic activity and we expect continued development of its capital markets in coming years. We are very supportive of organizations such as the ME-IR Society and initiatives aimed at promoting international best IR practices and preparing our youth for successful careers within this space." Fahima Al Bastaki, SVP and Head of Business Development Division at DFM, and Chairwoman of the Dubai ME-IR Society Chapter, said, "Based on the unique relationship with ME-IR Society and as part of our constant support to issuers, we are delighted to launch this program aimed at providing young Emirati talents with a thorough understanding of the IR profession which will prepare them to join the IR team of a listed company in the future." Oliver Schutzmann, Head of Investor Relations at SHUAA Capital and ME-IR Society Board Member, said, "The Society is pleased to institute an IR program aimed at apprenticing and educating Emirati youth. For the UAE to maintain its role in regional financial services, indigenous talent will be needed. The IR profession will continue to evolve with markets and investor needs; thus, our goal this summer is to provide exposure to best practice principles. If we communicate to participants the role of investor relations in transparent, well-functioning, liquid capital markets, as well as the important role it can play in corporate reputation, cost of capital and access to capital markets, the program can be deemed successful."