NEW YORK: The National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) has significantly strengthened its ethics code with a dozen do-or-die practice obligations that are to apply to every IR professional.The new code replaces the existing seven-point code that NIRI said was "more general in nature."
The move comes in the midst of a general crisis in corporate confidence resulting from recent revelations of accounting charades, outsized executive compensation, and selective disclosure.
NIRI is requiring all of its members to affirm the new policy in writing or risk forfeiture of their institute membership.
The new code also recommends that any member sanctioned for violating laws or regulations during the practice of their job be expelled from NIRI immediately.
The recommendations focus on an IR pro's responsibility to shareholders above all other parties and concerns.
The new code comes just weeks after NIRI released a 10-point program designed to help IR pros restore investor confidence.
That program included very specific suggestions about how IR pros should handle matters such as earnings announcements, legal insider trading, and accounting transparency.
NIRI'S 12-POINT GUIDE FOR IR PROS
1 Maintain the highest legal and ethical standards
2 Avoid even the appearance of professional impropriety
3 Ensure full and fair disclosure
4 Provide fair access to corporate information
5 Serve the interests of shareholders
6 Keep track of company affairs and all IR laws and regulations
7 Keep confidential information confidential
8 Do not use confidential information for personal advantage
9 Exercise independent professional judgment
10 Avoid relationships that might affect ethical standing
11 Report fraudulent or illegal acts within the company
12 Represent oneself in a reputable and dignified manner.