EDITORIAL: IR Society leads the way forward

News that the Investor Relations Society is to consider forging closer links with its counterparts in Europe at next week's annual conference represent an acknowledgement of the growing trend of convergence in European financial affairs.

Moves towards a truly European capital markets infrastructure - underlined by the spate of recent merger attempts by country stock markets - are matched by plans for a unified regulatory framework under the EU.

The UK's IR Society, with 20 years of pedigree and a membership encompassing most of the FTSE 250, is the most mature of such bodies in Europe, and is in a position to take a lead on this, especially since it represents the world's most influential financial centre outside New York.

And yet the driver for closer links among IR practitioners across the EU should not be seen as London's quest to extend its influence, despite that being a positive by-product for Square Mile communicators. The impulse should be a recognition that globalisation is having a profound effect on the way companies communicate with their owners. In short, the need for European IR organisations to exchange best practice information is acute, particularly given the increasingly diverse ownership of most corporations.

But the globalisation process in professional associations need not end at the EU's borders. Given the growing interdependence of Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific markets, the IR Society should look still further afield in forging bonds with bodies engaged in its line of work. London, Frankfurt, New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo are all in a position to teach each other new tricks.

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