CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA: The Association for Investment Management and Research has taken on Citigate Communications to handle a mid-six-figure annual US PR assignment. Citigate replaces Fleishman-Hillard, which will continue to work on the group's international PR.
The AIMR, which oversees the chartered financial analyst program, a certifying program for financial analysts, had worked with a Citigate ad unit for two years. It wanted to consolidate PR and advertising. "We're at a point where we need to have more synergy between advertising and PR," said Rich Wyler, VP of public communications at the association.
Past PR efforts have centered on branding issues. The association now wants to become more vocal on the issues of integrity and ethics for financial pros, a hot topic on Wall Street.
Because it administers the examination many financial pros take, "we're in a good position to speak out a little more on that topic going forward," Wyler said. "Given the events in the market the past two, two-and-a-half years, increasingly we are working on an issues-management campaign."
Wyler expects association PR efforts to address what investors should know about market research, what researchers want from companies, and what investors are looking for from investment pros.
The AIMR has already been holding a series of web forums on research standards and objectivity, and its CEO has spoken publicly on the topic as well. "We are becoming much more visible," Wyler said.
Citigate will run the account out of Chicago, with staffers in San Francisco and New York involved, said Candice Warltier, director in the Chicago office, which is also the headquarters for Citigate's US PR operations.
Five or six staffers will work on the account.
The agency has already been reaching out to such major business media as The Wall Street Journal and CNN, making association officials available to discuss investment issues.
With the topic of Wall Street research integrity in the news, the association "has this opportunity right in front of them," said Warltier. "We're proactively trying to get them out there."