Best Sustainability and Stakeholder Disclosure – FTSE 250

Supported by TMF Group

Winner: Mondi plc

 

Neil Burns, Carol Hunt from Mondi plc and Michael Adams from TMF Group

The company makes clear the priority it accords to sustainability and people issues, which are discussed within the Chairman’s Statement and Chief Executive’s Review, with emphasis on their connections with the company’s business strategy and success. There is strong integration of KPI data, with year-on-year comparisons, together with accompanying narrative text throughout the integrated sustainability report.

The company displays a maturity in its attitude concerning stakeholders. The sustainability narrative is integral to the wider narrative, and there is little likelihood that the reader will interpret the company’s sustainability effort as peripheral, or an add-on, or an afterthought.

Shortlisted companies:

Berkeley Group Holdings plc
Derwent London plc
Intu Properties plc

 

Best Sustainability and Stakeholder Disclosure – FTSE 100

Sponsored by TMF Group

Winner: Unilever PLC

 

Richard Hazell, Rose Fenn from Unilever PLC and Michael Adams from TMF Group
Sustainability is presented from the outset as key to Unilever’s strategy, with excellent recognition on the inside front cover that value creation for shareholders comes from prioritising the interests of its key stakeholders. From the start, the chairman discusses the integration of the Sustainable Living Plan, and the CEO’s introduction actively paints the company’s past and future success in the company’s sustainability initiatives, with its importance to the strategy clearly laid out. Sustainability KPIs are presented alongside financial ones. The overarching strategy and the sustainability goal that underpins it are clearly laid out, with the business model identifying the Sustainable Living Plan as the company’s differentiator and driver of success. The ‘Winning Pillars’ set the format for the rest of the strategy review in the context of Unilever’s long-term goals and success. Sustainability continues to feature in the governance section, and is interestingly pulled out in the remuneration report.

Shortlisted companies:

Antofagasta plc
Aviva plc
Johnson Matthey Plc

 

Best Strategy and Risk Disclosure – FTSE 250

 Sponsored by Addleshaw Goddard

Winner: Afren plc

 

Michael Carter from Addleshaw Goddard and Elekwachi Ukwu from Afren plc
Shortlisted in 2012, Afren triumphed this year with a report which would grace the FTSE 100. There is clear description of the company’s vision, business model and strategic objectives, with helpful cross-references throughout the report, supplemented by examples of progress in delivering against specific long-term strategic objectives. KPIs are defined, justified, commented on and explicitly linked to strategy and risk, with a similar approach taken for additional performance metrics. Risk management is brought to life with a description of the key related activities for the year, and a note on the priorities for the coming year. The individual responsible for each key risk area is identified. The risk heat map is clear and concise, and each key risk is aligned with the relevant KPIs and strategic priorities. Key risks are identified, with a clear assessment of priority, and changes in position are identified from the previous year. The risk overview discusses the link between risk management and the business, and reporting to the audit and risk committee, and sets out a clear diagram of risk management systems.

Shortlisted companies:
Derwent London plc
Great Portland Estates plc
Provident Financial plc

 

Best Strategy and Risk Disclosure – FTSE 100

Sponsored by Equiniti

Winner: Aggreko plc

 

Gillian Kyle from Aggreko plc and Stuart Ellen from Equiniti
‘What a great read’ was the unanimous view of the judges. Once again, Aggreko has produced a convincing, concise, and above all interesting annual report with a clear, honest single voice throughout. The ‘What we do and where we do it’ section conveys in plain English the business Aggreko is in, and how it makes money. There is a straightforward analysis of competitors – mentioning them by name, which virtually no other company does – and the report clearly sets out why Aggreko believes it can compete effectively in this market. There is a refreshingly honest approach to assessing market size and share, and the discussion in the principal risks and uncertainties section is compelling and realistic, for example the section on ‘Failure to conduct business dealings with integrity and honesty’. The startlingly frank ‘health warnings’ section does not shrink from identifying the potential risks to revenue.

Shortlisted companies:
Admiral Group plc
BT Group plc
Tullow Oil plc

 

Best Board Disclosure – FTSE 250

 Sponsored by ICSA Board Evaluation

Winner: Telecity Group plc

 

Jon Hoo, Rob Chandler & John Vernede from Telecity Group plc and Simon Osborne FCIS from ICSA Board Evaluation
The report is marked by good introductions to the governance section by the chairman and the CEO. Board attendance and the board schedule are clearly laid out in graphical form, with a helpful pie-chart of board membership and objectives, and clear diagrams of governance roles and the decision-making breakdown between different positions on the board (chairman, CEO, NEDs and company secretary). The Nomination Committee report includes detailed disclosure of the board evaluation, results, and follow-up actions. The Remuneration Committee features strong disclosure on achievements for 2012 and objectives for 2013, and key elements of remuneration are well presented. The Audit Committee objectives for 2012 and 2013, and the calendar of activities, are also disclosed, and clear language is used with cross referencing to other parts of the report. There is good use of pie charts, tables/diagrams and colours.

Shortlisted companies:
Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC
Provident Financial plc
Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc

 

Best Board Disclosure – FTSE 100

Sponsored by ICSA Board Evaluation

Winner: Marks and Spencer Group plc

 


Paul Rolling, Andrew Green, Amanda Mellor, Anthony Clarke from Marks and Spencer Group plc and Geoffrey Shepheard from ICSA Board Evaluation

The report sets the right tone from the outset, encapsulated in the chairman’s letter. The disclosure is comprehensive, with value added in all areas, and includes interesting and thoughtful sections on leadership, effectiveness, accountability and engagement. There is useful information on board discussion topics during the year and a substantial section on accountability, including a good discussion of risks, and an interesting section on risk interconnectivity. The Audit Committee report was marked by good points on the 2013/2014 action plan; the Nomination Committee report by a strong discussion concerning pipeline support and diversity; and the Remuneration Committee report by a thorough explanation of the committee’s activities.

Shortlisted companies:

BHP Billiton Plc
Land Securities Group PLC
Petrofac Limited

 

Best Annual Report – Small Cap and AIM

Supported by Equiniti David Venus

Winner: Shanks Group plc

 

Phil Griffin-Smith from Shank Group plc and Marla Balicao from Equiniti David Venus
This was a well-structured report with good use of diagrams, a clear business overview and strategy, including the company’s vision, and a detailed description and diagrams of the business model for the various operations. The section on people and sustainability impressively detailed the management of change. The judges liked the different risk reporting approach, with its clear description of the risk management framework, and good use of diagrams, including one on ‘objectives’. New principal risks were highlighted, together with those removed since the last report. The chairman’s introduction, setting out the governance reporting management framework, indicated the priority given to these issues by the board. The realism with which the company described its difficult trading environment, and its prospects for the future, was refreshing.

Shortlisted companies:

Costain Group PLC
McBride plc
Vitec Group plc

 

 

Best Annual Report – FTSE 250

Sponsored by Black Sun

Winner: National Express Group PLC

 


James Donnan from National Express Group PLC and David Christopherson from Black Sun
The judges were impressed by the way in which the company had attempted to provide an integrated report of a reasonably complex business, with its simple and clear layout, and good use of tables and summaries of key information. The disclosure on strategy and risk was considered excellent, as was the narrative on the various business segments, and the creation of value. Risk was discussed in the context of what was most important for the year, and the risk heat map indicated how risk assessment had changed. The disclosure on the board and its committees was strong, with a discussion table showing additional board activity during the year (particularly non-standard items), accompanied by good board evaluation disclosure, including follow-up actions. Corporate values were also well articulated.

 Shortlisted companies:

Berendsen plc
Great Portland Estates plc
Provident Financial plc

 

Best Annual Report – FTSE 100

Sponsored by Black Sun

Winner: Land Securities Group PLC

 

Adrian DeSouza, Phil Higgins, Lucy Turner and Vicki Collison from Land Securities Group PLC and David Christopherson from Black Sun
This was a classy, powerful and punchy report. It started well with brief overviews of what the company does and how it had performed. There was a strong risk management section – well linked to the company’s strategic priorities – with interesting risk matrices, splitting out current and emerging risks. The report contained excellent one-pagers on progress over the year per asset for retail and residential, and there was a good corporate responsibility section with detailed performance metrics and targets. The governance sections were particularly well presented, in particular: the table on conflicts of interest; reporting on board evaluation; the case study on controls and risks; and the page on linking remuneration to strategy. The judges considered that the report was a top-class report on the business.

Shortlisted companies:

BAE Systems plc
Petrofac Limited
Tullow Oil plc

 

 


The One to Watch

Sponsored by CSS 

Winner: Ceri Charles, Equiniti David Venus Limited

 

Ceri Charles from Equiniti David Venus Limited and Nicola Cattini from CSS
With a strong educational and training background, Ceri has developed a big portfolio of company secretarial clients and a wide technical knowledge. Much in demand for secondments, in some cases in large FTSE 100 companies, Ceri has always received excellent post -assignment feedback, but has still managed her working time to continue to deal with her portfolio of clients. Ceri works independently with minimal supervision and has an excellent eye for detail. She enjoys new challenges and will put herself forward for projects and is currently involved in a major corporate restructuring project. The judges were impressed by the feedback from her secondments, her breadth of technical knowledge and her commitment to sharing her knowledge with colleagues, assisting with training and mentoring.

Shortlisted:

Jonathan Miles, Equiniti David Venus Limited
Julia Herd, Capita plc
Ruth Pavey, Capital & Counties Properties PLC

 

Deputy Company Secretary of the Year

Sponsored by Board Intelligence

Winner: Ann French, GE Capital UK

 

Jennifer Sundberg & Pippa Begg from Board Intelligence, and Ann French from GE Capital UK
In the words of her General Counsel, Ann is effectively the lead Corporate Governance Advisor to the GE Capital UK group. As an expert in her field and a testament to her hard-working and diligent nature, Ann is often called upon by other businesses within the GE network (both within the UK and globally) to provide advice and guidance. The judges were impressed by Ann’s response to a difficult working environment, with re-structuring and extra responsibilities and by her handling of two unique cross-border mergers, particularly as she began her career as a personal assistant and gained all of her company secretarial knowledge on the job.

 Shortlisted:

Lisa Daniels, Man Group plc
Robin Jack-Kee, Allianz Insurance plc

 

Company Secretarial Team of the Year – Unlisted Companies

Supported by Computershare 

Winner: Towry

 

Matt Chapman, Jacqui Gregory and Jim Hughes from Towry
Towry Group’s small team – just two people – has had an exceptionally busy year, set against a background of industry wide changes and challenges. The judges were impressed by the way in which such a small team has ensured that a number of key transactions were completed successfully whilst still maintaining high standards of company secretarial and corporate governance best practice.

 

Shortlisted:
The London Metal Exchange
LV Limited

 

Company Secretarial Team of the Year – Listed Companies

Sponsored by Computershare

Winner: Standard Life plc

 

Company secretarial team of Standard Life plc and Steve Banfield from Computershare
The fourteen members of the Standard Life team successfully manage global relationships with directors, secretariat teams, shareholders and service providers. Given their large and diverse register of shareholders, operating efficiently is of paramount importance, and the judges were impressed by their efforts to streamline processes and reduce costs, while aiming to provide a first-class service. Their work on the annual report was particularly impressive in this regard. The judges were also impressed by the commitment to innovation – for example their iPad app for investors and their focus on ‘what is coming over the horizon’ – and the commitment to networking, CPD and sharing information with their peers in other companies.

Shortlisted:
Alliance Trust PLC
Barclays plc
Direct Line Insurance Group plc/PwC
Petrofac Limited
Westpac Banking Corporation

 

Company Secretary of the Year – Not-for-profit Organisations

Supported by BoardVantage 

Winner: Gill Brown, The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

 

Gill Brown from The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and Paul Stark from BoardVantage
In nominating Gill, her Chief Executive commented that she ‘has vastly improved fundamental systems and procedures to ensure that the Walton Centre NHS Trust is much more efficient and has excellent robust governance arrangements.’ The judges found her a dynamic and diverse team player, with strong leadership skills who has expanded her role well beyond her remit. They were impressed by her work with outside organisations, as well as greatly improved relations with the governors.

 

Shortlisted:
Janna Farquharson, The Tennis Foundation
Kevin Rowan, Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

 

Company Secretary of the Year – Unlisted Companies

Sponsored by AWCS 

Winner: Marcos Castro ACIS, The London Metal Exchange

 

Lucy Turner from AWCS and Marcos Castro from The London Metal Exchange
Marcos was described by his Chief Executive as ‘the most energetic and passionate company secretary I have known’ and a ‘dynamic character’ who is ‘what a company secretary should be’ in challenging times for the company, ‘providing leadership and strength’. The judges were impressed by evidence of Marcos’ leading a small, but innovative team with a wide range of duties and activities; his demonstrable, strong leadership skills; and his proven ability to get the buy-in of the board.

Shortlisted:
Paul Forster, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Jeremy Small, AXA UK plc

 

Company Secretary of the Year – Listed Companies

Sponsored by ICSA Software International Ltd 

Winner: Ruth Pavey FCIS, Capital & Counties Properties PLC

 

Ruth Pavey from Capital & Counties Properties PLC and Mike Evans from ICSA Software International Ltd

 

In nominating Ruth for this award, her chairman emphasised Ruth’s strong support for the activities of the business, for example entry into a significant joint venture, the two equity placings completed in the last two years or ensuring the company remains compliant with the ever changing regulations. As well as ensuring that the company secretarial service provided by her team has dealt with significant change in the business. The judges were impressed by her successful programme of significant reduction in the number of smaller shareholdings; her work in relation to the dual listed company; and her development of an internal booklet about the company secretarial team, widely circulated, and now used as an example for other departments.

 

Shortlisted:
Tim Hartin, Westpac Banking Corporation
Mary Hitchon, Petrofac Limited
Donald McPherson, Alliance Trust PLC

 

Outstanding Achievement Award

Sponsored by Diligent Boardbooks

Winner: Craig Hunter FCIS

 

Craig Hunter FCIS, Claire MacKintosh, Executive Chairman of ShareGift and Simon Osborne FCIS, Chief  Executive of ICSA

This award is presented by ICSA in recognition of a significant and long-lasting contribution to the profession.

Craig Hunter FCIS has a wealth of international experience in both commercial roles and in an elite multi-sport environment. Deputy Secretary of a FTSE 100 plc for seven years, he then moved into sports management. Initially, this was with British Swimming, where Craig managed the GB team at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and the 2002 and 2006 Commonwealth Games where he is now a director. He then chaired the Commonwealth Games Advisory Group before acting as England Chef de Mission at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, leading the whole England team comprising over 560 team members across 17 sports. Craig managed participation in one of the most challenging ever environments, New Delhi, under extreme political pressure and media scrutiny, and delivered England’s most successful overseas team results. In 2012, Craig was GB Chef de Mission for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, responsible for 300 athletes and 250 support staff across 20 sports, the most successful ever British Paralympic team.

Craig has established a successful award-winning business which provides corporate compliance and governance services to businesses around the world, ranging from Stock Exchange listed companies to sole traders. He is also a member of the UK Sport Mission Control Panel, responsible for overseeing the preparation of all Olympic and Paralympic sports for future summer and winter games.

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