05 March 2019 by Simon Osborne
International outreach events are key to inspiring the next generation of governance professionals
Our 2019 international outreach programme in the Associated Territories got off to a flying start with a successful seminar in Barbados on 19 February that saw UKRIAT President John Heaton and I speak about the continuing relevance of AGMs, technological innovation and the implications for good governance and Next Generation Governance.
Our 2018 report about Millennial Perspectives on the Future of Governance – which can be found at icsa.org.uk/nextgengov – produced a lively debate between panellists from Lex Caribbean, Attorneys-at-Law, the Institute of Internal Auditors and Hyuna International Ltd. Other speakers focused on directors’ duties in a BEPS-compliant environment and the revised Barbados Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Code.
On 21 February, Lorna Smith OBE, former BVI Finance Executive Director, opened our British Virgin Islands’ seminar, which included sessions on technological innovation, Next Generation Governance, the role of the professional director, the future of regulatory governance and why singling out the BVI is wrong.
In March, the President, Head of Outreach Theresa Minnie and I will travel to Africa to meet members and students in Uganda and Zambia to update them about recent ICSA developments and the revised qualifying programme. We will also be attending the 8th Annual Directors and Company Secretaries Conference in Kampala on 12 March. The conference will cover topics ranging from global corporate governance trends, digital disruption, the escalating liability of the company secretary and innovative HR strategies to SME tax governance and how to structure an SME board for success.
We also hope to meet Makerere University in Kampala and the University of Zambia in Lusaka to continue our discussions on the development of a Masters in Corporate Governance partnership in each country.
Our visit to the Zambia branch on 14-15 March is particularly exciting as this will be the second visit by a UKRIAT President in three years.
Ensuring that members and students feel part of the ICSA family is not the
sole reason for visiting our overseas branches, however. International outreach also allows us to bring our governance expertise to countries where governance is at varying stages of development, such as the MENA region.
The OECD has been working to promote policies for sustainable and inclusive growth in the MENA region for over a decade and there have been important reforms by many governments to increase economic openness, diversification, private sector development and institutional reform. The sharpened focus on good governance has seen director responsibilities taken more seriously, but a recent report by the GCC Board Directors Institute shows that board composition and directors’ capabilities remain key areas of focus for improvement. Regulators are increasingly recommending that boards introduce the role of a professional board secretary, which bodes well for our efforts in the region.
Helping boards to understand the benefits of having a professional board secretary to drive board performance and effectiveness is one of the reasons we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hawkamah the Institute for Corporate Governance (HICG) in 2018.
By working with Hawkamah we can help to improve governance practices within the region, both through Hawkamah’s delivery of the ICSA Foundation level programme and our welcoming of people who complete HICG’s Certified Board Secretaries Workshop as professional subscribers. What is more, our close relationship with HICG has given us a platform at the Hawkamah/ICSA annual conference in Dubai. I spoke at last year’s Hawkamah conference and will do so again this year, along with ICSA Policy and Research Director Peter Swabey and Policy Adviser Chris Hodge.
Closer to home, our support of the DMJ Insight Days for 2019 is another way in which we are reaching out to the next generation. First launched in 2016, Insight Days are designed to inform and inspire and are becoming established as a new standard to demonstrate interest and commitment to potential employers in the UK.
The 2019 programme is giving people the opportunity to discover governance at Aviva, Barclays, BBC Studios, EY, JP Morgan, Kingfisher, KPMG, National Grid, Network Rail, Rolls Royce, Santander, Schroders and The FA.
What is more, one participant from each Insight Day will be nominated by the host for a year’s funded ICSA student or membership place to kick start their career.
Please share details with anyone you know who is thinking about a career in governance and who would benefit from such a great initiative. More information about the programme can be found at: icsa.org.uk/insightdays.