Press Release CSIA and GCGF to raise the profile of corporate secretaries

12 Feb 2012 3:27 PM | CSIA (Administrator)

Washington, DC, February 2012 - The Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA) and the Forum launched the development of the Corporate Secretary Training Supplement through a four-day workshop involving the project’s working-group members from seven countries.

As the board’s 'conscience,' a corporate secretary has a key role in shaping how a board-and the company-is governed. Corporate secretaries provide counsel on best practices, oversee corporate disclosures of financial information, ensure that board directors are fully informed, and often work closely with stakeholders.

The training supplement will cover the role of corporate secretaries in corporations, family-owned or family-controlled companies, and state-owned enterprises. It will examine the corporate secretary’s value in improving a company’s performance through better governance. The supplement also will explore the secretary’s core responsibilities-as communicator, board advisor, and compliance officer. The final section will look at the emergence of independent practitioners in providing audits of corporate secretaries’ roles and performance as well as other consulting services. Throughout the supplement, the emphasis will be on examples and practical insights.
The supplement will be modeled on the Forum’s highly successful Board Leadership Training Resources Toolkit, which has pioneered adult-learning methodologies to train trainers, who, in turn, train board directors. “This project will benefit from more than three years of experience by the Forum in helping train directors in more than 50 countries,” says Ghita Alderman, a Forum projects officer. “The CSIA’s global network will support the supplement’s contents, particularly in providing practical insights and advice that participants in our training have found invaluable.”

In raising awareness of the role of corporate secretary-among boards, institutes, and government officials-the supplement will help boards that currently have no corporate secretary establish this role. It will also serve to further develop the role where secretaries are already in pace but underused.

“Advancing good corporate governance must include corporate secretaries as part of efforts to build board capacity in the emerging market and developing countries,” says Philip Baldwin, chief executive officer of the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries and CSIA’s representative. “Corporate governance must be a core competency of corporate secretaries.”

In Detail: Corporate secretaries have a central role in corporate governance through their performance of the following responsibilities:

  • Manage governance processes, including board and committee meetings, information flowing to and from directors, new director orientation, strategic planning, and public disclosures.
  • Arrange and manage the process of calling and holding annual, general, or special meetings, and advise the board on matters to be raised at the meeting for shareholder vote.
  • Assess and manage compliance with corporate governance laws, regulations, and practices.
  • Review legal and regulatory developments affecting the company’s operations, including listing rules, and ensure that directors are properly informed.
  • Ensure statutory compliance.
  • Act as a sounding board for the chairman and directors on corporate governance matters, and provide counsel.
  • Engage with stakeholders to ensure that their views are heard by the board and to relay board decisions.
  • Manage investor relations concerning corporate governance issues.
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