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The future of the Institute

24 August 2017 by David Venus

Exercise your right to vote at the AGM, says David Venus.

The notice convening the Institute’s 2017 annual general meeting was issued in August. The special business to be considered at the AGM is important for the future of the Institute and all its members, and I urge you to read the notice and accompanying papers.

These were emailed to all members who have supplied an email address and are also posted on the international Institute’s website at icsaglobal.org.

The proposals, if approved, will create a new intermediate level of membership to be called ‘affiliated member’. This is to attract those working in governance roles who would like to join the professional body that will represent them best but do not aspire to the gold standard of chartered secretary.

Affiliated members will enjoy membership but will have restricted voting rights and may not serve on the UKRIAT committee or international Council.

The second initiative is the introduction of a new qualification, ‘chartered governance professional’, to rank alongside chartered secretary. The global focus on good governance over the past 25 years or so has resulted in many new governance roles that do not carry the title of company secretary or sit within company secretarial departments.

The individuals that hold these roles share our values and ethos but will not necessarily seek our qualification with its connotations of company secretaryship.

At the same time, many of our members already describe themselves as governance consultants, experts or professionals, so the new designation may sit well with them.

It is important to stress that all Fellows will be ‘grandfathered’, so that they hold both designations and the new post nominals that will be awarded, as will all Associates elected on or before 31 December 2019, whenever they achieve five years’ service as an Associate.

These innovations are permissive and not mandatory for each of our nine Divisions. For example, UKRIAT, Hong Kong/China, Malaysia and Singapore have all indicated that they plan to offer chartered secretary and chartered governance professional through a single examination stream so that students qualify with both designations once the new qualification is introduced.

Your international Council see these two proposals as important to the sustainability of the Institute. We are an increasingly well-respected and relevant body but in UKRIAT and in many other

Divisions, this has not translated into increased numbers. The changes will cement our position as the leading international qualifier of governance professionals, with a range of qualifications and designations to suit both existing members and those individuals we wish to attract.

A series of meetings are being held across the Divisions to explain the proposals and to allow for discussion – please do try to attend one of these. In addition, there is a short video on icsaglobal.org, in which various Council members and others from across the Divisions set out the reasons for the proposals and their significance.

The AGM is on 4 October 2017. Please do exercise your vote. I urge you to vote in favour.

David Venus FCIS is international president of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators

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