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IR Movers & Shakers: Zeeshan Maqbool

Zeeshan Maqbool joined 3i earlier in the year and has already been instrumental in the IR function. With a background in Investor Relations, Corporate Finance and M&A, we helped Zeeshan make the interesting jump from a hybrid IR and M&A role to a pure IR role.   
How have your first few months at 3i been?

As with any new role, it's takes a bit of time getting your feet under the table, this is especially the case when you move to a new sector and have to be able to hit the ground running and be able to foster new relationships with a variety of internal and external stakeholders.  Thankfully, my transition into the role at 3i has been relatively plain sailing due to the friendly and supportive culture at 3i and the benefit of my previous experiences of adapting to new business environments and roles.  I’ve enjoyed the challenges the role has presented to date.

What has the transition been like from more hybrid roles to a pure IR role?

The role at my previous firm, an emerging markets focused upstream oil and gas company, was a hybrid role which in addition to IR had elements of M&A, business development and strategy.  Given the breadth of my previous role, I did have some initial reservations about taking on a pure IR role, however, I’ve found the focused nature of the role to be quite refreshing and the transition quite straightforward.  What’s important to understand is that the demands of a pure IR role in itself can actually vary considerably across sectors and being able to adapt, ask questions and keep an open mind are probably the most important skill sets to have in making such a transition.

How have you found your Corporate Finance and M&A background helpful to the role?

My previous Corporate Finance and M&A experience covering both private equity and Infrastructure certainly did help in getting up the learning curve a lot faster, as these are two out of the three key focus areas for the business.  Having a good grounding in accounting has also helped, as it allows you to really get to grips with key issues upfront.  This is important both from a financial reporting perspective but also from the perspective of being able to answer questions from shareholders and analysts effectively.

What do you think makes a good IRO?

A good IRO in my opinion is one who is well rounded.  The demands of an IRO can be intense as they have to be able to process a lot of information quickly and be able to successfully communicate this effectively to a variety of audiences. 

Citing the example of my previous firm, Afren, the fortunes of a company can sometimes change very quickly, in such situations a good IRO is one who has the ability to adapt to the changing fortunes of a company and remember foremost that protecting the interest of shareholders is the number one priority.

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