23 August 2017 by John Heaton
I look forward to being a part of the next stage of ICSA, says John Heaton.
I am very honoured to have been asked to be the next President of the UKRIAT Division of ICSA at such an important stage in its development and, I am confident, growth.
In UKRIAT we have had a great period of consolidation and reconnection with the members throughout the world thanks to the efforts of the CEO Simon Osborne, his executive team and recently our hard-working President, Frank Curtiss.
I look forward to visiting the branches and other groups during my period of office and am confident of what can be achieved by raising our profile regionally and in industry sectors, and by supporting each other.
As a result of the efforts of Peter Swabey and the policy team, ICSA has an increasingly visible identity, with a focus on both the role of the chartered secretary and others in the governance arena. We also have greatly improved links to influential bodies as governance becomes a more appreciated role in business and society.
I have been a committee member of the ICSA Registrars Group for over 20 years (and served as chairman twice). The group has always worked closely with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in its current and many previous guises, over that period.
Because of this progress, and subject to further hard work on our investment strategy, we have a stable financial base on which we can plan the expansion of our activities, focusing on our membership, education and qualifications, and one-off and life-long learning, profile raising and commercial activities.
These are not separate strands but are drawn together by the team at Saffron House, an excellent example of which was the recent highly-successful conference at ExCeL London.
I was enthused by attending this, accompanied by record numbers, who responded very positively to the keynote speakers in the main auditorium and the wide range of opportunities for personal development in the breakout sessions.
I am also fortunate to have joined the international Council at a time when many past differences have been consigned to history and we are once again a forward-looking organisation, with a hard-working director-general leading from the front.
That is not to say that we all share the same views about every issue, but there is a spirit of goodwill and a determination to focus on the things that pull us in the same direction. In particular, this includes the fact that strong governance is an overarching international concept, notwithstanding that it manifests itself differently in different jurisdictions.
Every division has its own challenges: some are struggling with their member age profile and the need to broaden the membership base, while others face issues arising from their regulated status.
However, all recognise the need to work together to raise the profile of the international Institute, which can then be leveraged to our mutual benefit.
Both these challenges and our united mission underpin the proposed constitutional changes which, because they are facilitative and not ‘one size fits all’, can be brought in by each Division in a way which suits their individual circumstances. I am looking forward to working with other Council members to maximise the positive impact that these and other initiatives will bring.
I am aware of the strength of feeling that some of these proposed changes have provoked, but I am pleased that some of these have been addressed in the recent changes agreed by Council, following the initial debate.
I hope as many members of UKRIAT as possible will be able to attend the meetings arranged to debate the proposals before making a decision on how to vote at the forthcoming AGM.
In an increasingly fractured world, one thing on which almost all investors, governments and international communities agree is that good governance needs to be promoted.
Although there are differences of interpretation, it is a common thread running through EU and UK thinking, as well as the rest of the world. ICSA and UKRIAT are both ideally placed to contribute to that goal, and I look forward to helping achieve that, as well as taking our development as an Institute to the next stage.