Tom Morrison Essay Prize

2017 Winner

The competition, which was launched in 2016 in memory of Tom Morrison FCIS, an active member and past president of ICSA, encourages new thinking and recognises original approaches to governance. In 2017, essays demonstrating an original perspective were sought on the following topic:

‘The Annual General Meeting is an important governance process for the members of an organisation. It can ensure transparency, provide updates and give members an opportunity to vote on a range of matters. New meeting technology and virtual attendance products offer the potential to change the format of the AGM. With particular reference to governance, discuss the relevance, future development and challenges of the AGM.’

First place - Dr Rhona Sim

The winner of this year’s Tom Morrison Essay Prize met the brief in challenging conventional thinking, looking widely at the organisational and international aspects of the AGM and its role in corporate governance. Although acknowledging the potential offered by new technology and electronic participation in the AGM, the essay focused on the substantive issues of meeting the UK Corporate Governance Code’s emphasis on ensuring accountability – with particular emphasis on the election of directors, the role of board evaluations and executive remuneration policies. Read the essay here.

Second place - Nicholas Cottrell

This year’s runner-up explored the difficulties inherent in the current format of the AGM, particularly with the low degree of shareholder engagement. The essay examined the potential of using technology to run ‘virtual’ AGMs and questioned the extent to which this would improve accountability and transparency before concluding that the future might lie in holding ‘hybrid’ AGMs, combining traditional physical meetings with additional online access. Read the essay here.

Congratulations to our winners, and we look forward to the next competition in 2018.


The Tom Morrison Essay Prize is now closed. Thank you to all who submitted an entry.

The competition launched in 2016 in memory of Tom Morrison FCIS, who was an active member of ICSA and a highly regarded and influential member of the share registration industry. Tom was known for challenging received wisdom and encouraging new thinking and essay submissions that demonstrate an original perspective are being sought.

A first prize of £1000 is on offer, plus a runner up will also receive £500. Entries should be 2,000-2,500 words in length.

Why enter?

Governance professionals worldwide are increasingly called upon to help organisations perform optimally and to achieve sustainability. The Tom Morrison Essay Prize encourages new thinking and recognises original approaches to governance.

Winning will give you recognition among your peers as a thought leader and impress your boss and future employers. You will also be financially better off. There is a top prize of £1000 and a runner-up prize of £500.

Winners will also be invited to attend a prize giving ceremony in London in May 2017.
If you need help with your entry or require any clarification, please contact Maria Brookes on +44 (0)20 7612 7072 or via email

Entry Information

Please read the following to ensure your entry meets the minimum requirements.

  • All essays must address the proposed question
  • Entry to the competition is only open to recent graduates with a maximum of two years’ experience in a governance role or ICSA students and other students early in their career.
  • All entries must be written in English.
  • Essays should be 2,000-2,500 words in length, with 2,500 being the maximum number of words that will be accepted.
  • All entries must be typed and submitted electronically.
  • All prizes are awarded based on the decision of an independent panel of judges.
  • Entries will be judged anonymously, with no indication within the essay of the author’s name, employer’s business or place of work.
  • There are no geographical restrictions regarding entries. Governance professionals from any country can enter.
  • A statement of originality is mandatory.
  • All entries will be subject to a plagiarism check. Essays where clear evidence of plagiarism is found will be disqualified.
  • The judges’ decision is final, no correspondence will be entered into and no reasons given for decisions.
  • Judges will absent themselves from any discussions where they have a vested interest.
  • ICSA reserves the right to publish in full or in part all winning essays and will own the copyright for all winning essays.
  • The winners will be notified of their win in spring of 2017.

Judging criteria

Essays will be judged on:

  • The originality of the ideas it contains and the impact it might have on governance - at an organisational, national or international level.
  • The extent to which it challenges conventional thinking and approaches or incorporates principles or practices from other fields.

The judges will also take into account:

  • Clarity of expression, including logical flow of content.
  • Correct use of the English language, including spelling and punctuation.
  • Correct use of referencing and or acknowledgement of material drawn from other sources.


When writing your essay, you might like to consider the following:

  • What explicit assumptions am I making? Can they be challenged?
  • What implicit/taken-for-granted assumptions am I making? Can they be challenged?
  • How logical is my reasoning?
  • How sound is the evidence for my assertion(s)?
  • Whose interests and what interests are served by my assertions?
  • What values underpin my reasoning?
  • What are the implications of my conclusions?
  • What meaning is conveyed by the terminology employed and the language used?
  • What alternative conclusions can be drawn from the evidence?

View images

Ceremony - 2017

Ceremony - 2016

Contact us

Media Relations Manager - Maria Brookes
Phone: 020 7612 7072

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