Our Head of Company Secretarial Services Lezanne Kretschmer had some positive insights from the conference;
- The increasing importance of the role of the CoSec and the relationship with the Chair;
- The utilization of digital solutions by the CoSec to improve efficiencies and to allow the CoSec as a governance professional to add more value to boards; and
- Horizon scanning and the focus on responsibilities and opportunities relating to ESG and specifically the recent change in the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) which asks boards of companies to consider the impact of climate change on their strategy and risk profile and, where they judge it appropriate, make climate change related disclosures.
Speaking as a panelist in a discussion on the Dynamics in the Virtual Boardroom, our Joint Chair, Wayne Bulpitt shared a number of his experiences and observations;
- International boards had fared better than domestic boards over the Covid period as they have been operating in a hybrid manner for some time, with the added complexity of time zones, accents and cultures to overcome.
- This has been made easier in some respects with the prominence of video solutions which have replaced many telephone calls, making meetings a little easier to manage.
- His experience is that boards have been able to do what they have needed to, but requiring more time involvement from the Chair and Co Sec in preparing, talking with members to understand areas of concern so that discussions can be focused and all voices heard effectively.
- The value of earlier investment in the characters of board members to ensure a more effective board has paved dividends, as has a permanent chair, rather than a policy of rotating at each meeting.
- At a time of conflicting pressures of Economic and Regulatory Substance versus ESG and pressure to reduce air travel etc. the future model of hybrid meetings, calendars and a whole new world advocated by some, isn’t certain. Physical meetings will remain key for some time to come.
- In closing, Wayne felt that the relationship between Chair and Co Sec had been proven to be vital to the effective running of a board, and thus organisation. Co Sec and the Governance sector has a great opportunity to build on this, utilising automation and digital solutions to focus energy on value added advice and support.
It was a great day with brilliant and insightful speakers and panellists all round, ranging from the Director General of the GFSC, ESG and Cyber experts, to Wellbeing and Mindfulness champions. All key components and ingredients for a sustainable future for Guernsey on the global stage and also for the people on the ground making it all happen.
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