CIRI/Ivey IR Certification Program - Frequently Asked Questions

In 2011, CIRI and the Ivey Business School launched the CIRI/Ivey IR Certification Program, the first of its kind in North America. This rigorous Program covers all relevant areas of this multi-disciplinary role including finance, capital markets, securities law, corporate governance and communications. As of 2016, over 13% of CIRI members have earned the CPIR designation.

We have compiled answers to the top questions we get asked about the Program. If your question doesn’t appear below or you would like to discuss the Program, please feel free to contact Yvette Lokker at ylokker@ciri.org or (416) 364-8200 ext. 224.

1. How will the IR Certification Program benefit me?

The Program was developed to offer IROs formal education in IR while the CPIR designation elevates the stature of the IR profession. By participating in this Program and earning the CPIR designation, you will enhance your knowledge of IR through thought-provoking case studies, learning not only from the faculty but from your peers; be recognized by your peers and others in the capital markets for having earned this credential; and improve your opportunities for career advancement and greater compensation.

Here are some of the comments CPIRs have made about the Program:

“The CPIR designation is the most relevant certification available for those currently in, or looking to enter, the fields of investor relations and corporate communications. The program covers every aspect needed to excel in the profession today and the content is delivered in a mix of face-to-face lectures and practical on-line team-based assignments by IVEY’s world class faculty. A truly stimulating experience and a worthwhile investment in personal and professional development.”
- Berk Sumen, CPIR, Manager, Investor Relations, Bonavista Energy Corp.

“Every IRO role is not the same. We work in different industries, for different businesses and have different core responsibilities. What’s been great about the CIRI/Ivey Certification Program is that it brings together what is core about being an IRO, regardless of where one works. I have gained a broader understanding of what can and should be done by an IR team to help create and communicate shareholder value. The insights from the professors and the network of IR professionals I have met will be invaluable as I more forward in my career.”
- Mary Lou Frazer, CPIR, Former Senior Director, Investor & Financial Communications, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

“I highly recommend the CPIR program to IROs looking to strengthen their skills and advance their career. The program covers a wide range of topics that are relevant and based on the discipline's best practices. The course is delivered by high quality instructors who equip their students with the latest thinking and meaningful insight to help them excel when engaging with the C-Suite, the board and the market. The CPIR helped me to think differently; to be more analytical and strategic. The professional designation enhances credibility and provides a competitive advantage. As someone who has dedicated her career to professional development, I believe the CPIR program delivers a comprehensive learning set that is difficult to match.”
- Nathalie Megann, CPIR, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Affairs, Chorus Aviation Inc.

2. What are the prerequisites needed to participate in the IR Certification Program?

To participate in the IR Certification Program you must:

  1. Have at least three (3) years investor relations experience*, OR
  2. Have four (4) years of related corporate experience and have participated in CIRI’s Essentials of Investor Relations program within the past five years, OR
  3. Have four (4) years of combined experience in investor relations and a related field and have participated in CIRI’s Essentials of Investor Relations program within the past five years; AND
  4. Submit two professional reference letters, one of which is from your current employer.

*Where 50% or more of your time was spend on investor relations

3. What is the format of the IR Certification Program?

When the Program was being developed by IROs and Ivey faculty, they took into consideration the typical schedule of the IRO. As such, much of the format is flexible allowing an IRO to participate from anywhere in the world or to catch up on what they missed at their leisure.

The face-to-face classes at the beginning (3 days) and the end (2 days) of the Program are mandatory. The online classes are delivered through a two-hour, pre-recorded lecture that you can watch at your leisure, followed by scheduled, one-hour classes. While we encourage all students to participate in these class discussions, we recognize that travel schedules may not always make this possible. The one-hour classes are therefore archived so that students may access them at a more convenient time.

The IR Certification Program consists of:

  • A three-day face-to-face session in Toronto in September 2017;
  • 12 online classes between October 2017 and May 2018; and
  • A two-day face-to-face session at CIRI's 2018 Annual Investor Relations Conference in June 2018.

4. I’m not familiar with the online class format. What can I except from these classes?

Each online session consist of a 2-hour pre-recorded lecture, for students to listen to at their leisure, followed by a live one-hour interactive session. 

5. I travel for work. What happens if I miss an online session?

All online sessions are archived for students to listen to at their leisure.

6. What time commitment should I except to make as a student in this program?

Students who have been successful in this Program generally commit between 4-10 hours a month to complete readings and assignments.

7. How do I earn the CPIR designation?

Once students have completed the 10-month program, they will be required to write a final exam. Upon passing the certification examination students will earn their CPIR designation.

Students have had great success in earning the CPIR designation. The pass rate for the 2014 Program was 85% while the pass rate for the 2015 Program was 92%.

8. What happens if I fail the exam?

You have up to four times to write the exam within a two-year period following the completion of the Program.

9. What are the requirements for maintaining my CPIR designation?

In order to maintain your CPIR designation, you must maintain your membership in CIRI, agree to comply with CIRI's code of ethics and complete a minimum of 14 continuing education units (CEU) annually. Below are some ways to earn your CEUs.

  • Participate in continuing education programs and events
  • Speak at CIRI National and Chapter events
  • Serve as a mentor
  • Volunteer on a CIRI National or Chapter Board or Committee

10. Is the CPIR designation gaining recognition?

While the CPIR designation is still quite new, we are seeing signs that it is gaining recognition in the industry. We are seeing job postings with the designation as a preferred prerequisite. We have also heard that IROs with the designation could expect up to 10% higher compensation than those without the designation when looking at new opportunities. We expect this recognition to continue to grow, but as with any new designation, it will take time.

11. What is the cost of this program?

The cost to complete the program is $8,950 for CIRI members and $9,450 for non-members.

This is very inexpensive when you compare it to MBA programs or other executive level programs. In fact, it is comparable to the cost of a one-week executive level program at Ivey.

12. Are there scholarships available for this program?

There is one scholarship available for each Program – the Belle Mulligan Scholarship. The Belle Mulligan Scholarship is given in honour of the late Belle Mulligan (1940-2009) who will long be remembered as a leader and standard setter in the IR profession, and a founder of CIRI. Applications for the 2017-2018 Program are due April 28, 2017.

Also, you may be eligible for a Canada Job Grant. These grants are “available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees, and will:

  • Provide up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs.
  • Require employers to contribute one-third of the total costs. There will be additional flexibility for small businesses to provide an in-kind contribution towards their share of the costs.
  • Require training to be delivered by an eligible, third-party trainer.”

Visit https://ciri.org/Education/Certification/CanadaJobGrant.aspx for more information.

13. When does the next IR Certification Program start?

The 2017 class will begin in Toronto on September 25, 2017.

14. What is the deadline to apply for this year’s program?

The deadline to apply for the September 2017 IR Certification Program is July 14, 2017. Click here for more information on the application process or click here to appy today.

2017 Program Dates

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The next Program will begin September 25-27, 2017 with 3-days in-class in Toronto. Click here for more details.

CPIR for IR Success

I was recently a part of the billion-dollar sale of Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc. and was able to apply what I learned in the valuation component of the CPIR program. Without that knowledge I would have struggled to participate in discussions with the Board and Executive Team. A lot of what I learned in the negotiations and strategy modules also enabled me to contribute in ways I never would have been able to before. ”

Alyssa Barry, CPIR
Past Manager, Investor Communications, Amica Mature Lifestyles

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