Ethics in Investor Relations

Upholding standards of practice in the IR profession is critical. Learn how the NIRI Ethics Council and Code of Ethics support this goal.
Idalia Rodriguez
Apr 5, 2024

A close-up image of a compass with the needle pointing towards the word 'ETHICS' written in green, prominently positioned in the upper section of the compass. Note: This article was originally published in the fall 2023 edition of NIRI’s IR Update™ magazine.

Ethical policies, decision-making and behaviors in the investment community are more than a moral imperative — they are critical to the welfare of capital markets, the promotion of economic stability and compliance with regulatory standards.

Investor relations (IR) professionals, accordingly, bear responsibility to maintain honest, transparent and complete financial communications with current and prospective shareholders, research analysts, companies, their clients and the public. 

When faced with an ethical question, IR professionals may feel they lack the guidance and mentorship necessary to navigate these frequently difficult situations. As the largest professional investor relations association in the world, NIRI has established a set of ethical standards and guidelines to help its members uphold their professional integrity and make sound judgments when confronted with what they feel is an ethical dilemma.

Ethics in the Capital Markets

IR professionals who conduct their business ethically do so recognizing that financial systems require ethical governance to function effectively, promote fairness in markets and protect the credibility of corporate entities.

Fair IR activities are also paramount to the reputation of the profession. Unethical behavior, such as market manipulation, insider trading and other fraudulent schemes undermines market integrity, stifles investor confidence and makes the investment process significantly riskier.

It is, therefore, an essential function of all IR practitioners to understand the line between strategic communications — which highlight the competitive strengths of their employer or clients — and making statements that have not been fully validated to be shared externally.

Guiding Ethical Principles

The high standards of conduct — ethical, intellectual and professional — set by NIRI are central to the organization’s vision for the IR discipline and its future trajectory. By educating, advising and setting ethical expectations for members, NIRI seeks to elevate the IR function and better serve the interests of the financial community at large.

NIRI’s ethical principles, which are stated in its Code of Ethics, instill confidence and engender trust throughout the investment community. These guidelines ensure NIRI members:

  • Abide by laws and regulations that govern investor relations activities.
  • Practice their profession honestly, transparently and completely with the investment community, corporate management and others.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest in all aspects of their business.
  • Champion diversity, equity and inclusion across the profession.

Review the NIRI Code of Ethics here to see the full breadth of ethical principles.

Role of the NIRI Ethics Council

Formed in March 2002, the NIRI Ethics Council was established to create an ethical foundation for NIRI members and the investor relations profession. As the field of IR matured, the NIRI Board of Directors recognized the importance of setting well-defined guidelines for ethical conduct — and creating an enforcement body to uphold them.

With established tenures in the fields of investor relations, public relations and corporate management, the members of the NIRI Ethics Council have demonstrated longstanding commitments to the IR profession, both firsthand and in an advisory capacity. Appointed by the NIRI Board Chair, council members provide confidential, non-legal ethical counsel that is based on the NIRI Code of Ethics and informed by their decades of IR experience.

If you are an investor relations professional or offer your services to the investor relations function and are facing an ethical dilemma, you may confide in the Ethics Council, which can direct you toward next steps or available resources.

Learn more about the NIRI Ethics Council and send your questions or comments for the Ethics Council to

Idalia Rodriguez is a Partner and Senior Advisor with Arbor Advisory Group and is Chair of the NIRI Ethics Council.

Idalia Rodriguez

Idalia Rodriguez

Partner and Senior Advisor