Does your verification process leave you vulnerable?

In this webinar, our panel debates some of the pain-points felt by company secretaries when it comes to verification of corporate reporting

Overview

Annual report time is upon us once again. With this, comes a process that many company secretaries consider the most painful part of their entire job ‘verification’.

Aligned to the global Integrated Reporting movement, the focus on demonstrating better integrity of verification for all forms of corporate & investor reporting has increased 10-fold in recent years. That being said, most companies still rely on a highly manual, error-prone and time-intensive process - usually consisting of word, excel and hundreds of emails - to verify that every statement, fact and figure being disclosed is true, accurate and not misleading. Many of the current verification processes are putting CEOs, directors and companies at an avoidable level of risk from litigation and brand damage.

In this webinar, our panel debates some of the pain-points felt by company secretaries when it comes to verification of corporate reporting. We ask: surely there must be a better way of solving the recurring pain-points of verification?

Speakers

Chaired by Peter Swabey, Policy & Research Director, ICSA: The Chartered Governance Institute.

Our speakers include:

  • Saul Wakerman, Co-founder, Atticus Verfication Software
  • Nick Ivory, Company Secretarial Assistant, General Counsel and Company Secretariat, National Grid
  • Gareth Sykes, Of Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills

Peter Swabey

Peter is the Policy & Research Director at The Chartered Governance Institute. He is responsible for developing the Institute’s profile to members, regulators, policymakers, employers and other stakeholders by delivering thought leadership and lobbying campaigns aligned to the Institute’s strategy and promoting strong governance as the vital ingredient for success in organisations.

Saul Wakerman

As a former corporate lawyer, Saul started Atticus with his two co-founders after ‘being tasked with one too many verifications’.

In the early years, Atticus focused on the verification of disclosure documents in the Capital Markets, M&A and Funds space; resulting in 70% of top-tier and national law firms in Australia adopting Atticus, as well as 40% of IPO listings on the ASX in 2020. Atticus’s subsequent move into the verification of corporate reporting was driven by the market; initially being approached by FTSE100 companies, like National Grid (Utilities), followed by top ASX100 companies, like major supermarkets, infrastructure companies & food producers, for annual reports, half-year results, investor presentations, sustainability & other ESG reports.

Nick Ivory

Nick is Company Secretarial Assistant at the LSE and NYSE listed business National Grid plc. He is a student member at The Chartered Governance Institute and Chair of the UK Student Forum. In his role at National Grid, he has wide-ranging responsibilities, which include providing board and committee support, share scheme management, statutory and regulatory compliance, involvement in annual report drafting, AGM support and input into day-to-day subsidiary management.

In February 2020 Nick led the identification and roll-out of Atticus for the 2019/20 Annual Reporting process at National Grid, a major step-change in how the business had approached verification in prior years. This led to significant efficiencies and supported collaborative verification across the organisation, a process which was undisturbed by the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to the new technology. National Grid plans to build on the success of 19/20 in the upcoming reporting process.

Gareth Sykes

Gareth helps companies navigate the increasingly challenging corporate law and governance framework. He is a member of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Corporate Governance Advisory Team, advising listed and private companies on a range of governance issues. He advises a number of FTSE listed companies on their corporate reporting obligations each year. Gareth’s expertise also includes advising on the Corporate Governance Code, continuing obligations under the Listing Rules and Market Abuse Regulation, company meetings and directors' duties.

Gareth has been listed as a ’rising star’ for corporate governance in the Legal 500 UK 2021 and 2020 Rankings and was named ’next generation lawyer’ in the 2019 and 2018 Rankings. He writes widely on corporate governance matters.

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