Upcoming Events

Jun
11
Tue
2019
9:00 am The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ The Plaza
The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ The Plaza
Jun 11 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0'[...]
Jun
25
Tue
2019
9:00 am How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ Cornwall Buildings
How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ Cornwall Buildings
Jun 25 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
How to become a Non-Executive Director – Birmingham 25 June 2019 @ Cornwall Buildings
Find out how you can obtain a Non-Executive Director position by booking a place on this interactive 1-day course.   <img data-attachment-id='2823' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/become-non-executive-director-manchester-24-september-2014/ned1/' data-orig-file='https://i2.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709592905.png?fit=600%2C300&ssl=1' data-orig-size='600,300' data-comments-opened='0' data-image-meta='{'aperture':'0','credit':'','camera':'','caption':'','created_timestamp':'0','copyright':'','focal_length':'0','iso':'0','shutter_speed':'0','title':''}' data-image-title='NED1' data-image-description=' ‘ data-medium-file=’https://i2.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709592905.png?fit=300%2C149&ssl=1′ data-large-file=’https://i2.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709592905.png?fit=695%2C347&ssl=1′ class=’alignright size-medium wp-image-2823′[...]
Jul
16
Tue
2019
9:00 am How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ 111 Piccadilly
How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ 111 Piccadilly
Jul 16 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
How to become a Non-Executive Director – Manchester 16 July 2019 @ 111 Piccadilly
Find out how you can obtain a Non-Executive Director position by booking a place on this interactive 1-day course. <img data-attachment-id='2823' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/become-non-executive-director-manchester-24-september-2014/ned1/' data-orig-file='https://i2.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709592905.png?fit=600%2C300&ssl=1' data-orig-size='600,300' data-comments-opened='0' data-image-meta='{'aperture':'0','credit':'','camera':'','caption':'','created_timestamp':'0','copyright':'','focal_length':'0','iso':'0','shutter_speed':'0','title':''}' data-image-title='NED1' data-image-description=' ‘ data-medium-file=’https://i2.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709592905.png?fit=300%2C149&ssl=1′ data-large-file=’https://i2.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709592905.png?fit=695%2C347&ssl=1′ class=’alignright size-medium wp-image-2823′ src=’https://i0.wp.com/www.nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/NED1-e1403709558124-300×149.png?resize=300%2C149&ssl=1′[...]
Sep
10
Tue
2019
9:00 am How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ The Waterfront
How to become a Non-Executive Di... @ The Waterfront
Sep 10 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Are you thinking of becoming a Non-Executive Director as part of a Portfolio Career or to develop your boardroom skills prior to taking up an executive director role? <img data-attachment-id='211' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/how-to-become-a-non-executive-director-bristol-21-january-2013/boardroomlr/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/boardroomlr-e1403708151819.png?fit=600%2C486&ssl=1' data-orig-size='600,486' data-comments-opened='0' data-image-meta='{'aperture':'0','credit':'','camera':'','caption':'','created_timestamp':'0','copyright':'','focal_length':'0','iso':'0','shutter_speed':'0','title':''}'[...]
Oct
8
Tue
2019
9:00 am The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
The Effective Non-Executive Dire... @ Institute of Directors
Oct 8 @ 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
The effective Non-Executive Director course helps you to be an effective non-executive director. It instils a real sense of what is expected of NEDs, and how you can meet the challenge. <img data-attachment-id='113603' data-permalink='https://nedworks.net/10-things-non-executive-directors-can-do-to-satisfy-their-legal-responsibilities/ned3-2/' data-orig-file='https://i1.wp.com/nedworks.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/NED31.png?fit=1500%2C883&ssl=1' data-orig-size='1500,883' data-comments-opened='0'[...]

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Non-Executive Director

By Debbie Wright

Non-Executive Director – Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Business / Organisation Name: Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust Business / Organisation Sector: Public Business / Organisation Website: https://www.chelwest.nhs.uk/ Business / Organisation Type: NHS Role Title: Non-Executive Director Remuneration: Paid / 3 days per month Role Description This is a fantastic opportunity to […]

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From:: Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – Non-Executive Director

Hammersmith United Charities – Trustee

By Debbie Wright

Make a difference in your local community and join us as a TRUSTEE We are looking for local people to join our board as Trustees to help us embark on the next 400 years of serving the people of Hammersmith. We would love to hear from anyone who is able to strengthen the charity’s connection […]

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From:: Hammersmith United Charities – Trustee

New approach aims to improve transparency of ESG information

By Gavin Hinks

wind turbines, ESG

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing is one of the fastest growing areas of investment management—experts believe it could almost double over the next five years. But the problem has always been the provision of ESG information from investee companies. Step forward State Street Global Advisors to break the deadlock.

State Street, a fund manager with a hefty $2.8bn under its control, has developed a new scoring system that it claims not only helps investors but also aids companies to boost their ESG (environmental, social and governance) scores.

In a report, State Street says that its new scheme, dubbed “R-Factor”, is “the change needed for ESG to become an integral part of the financial system”.

That is a big claim, but it has been clear for some time to many in the sector that ESG monitors are in need of a shake-up.

Research has revealed there may be as many as 250 products available that “rate, rank or index” companies based on ESG factors. However, there is little standardisation of the information they use, how the information is reported, or the materiality criteria applied.

Barriers to integration

Despite this confusion, fund managers have been allocating capital on the basis of ESG performance in ever-increasing volumes.

Earlier this week asset managers at a conference hosted by MSCI, an index provider, estimated that that the global share of assets based on ESG principles would double, from the current 25% of assets, to 50%, or more, in the next five years.

This drive is boosted by organisations such as Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), a UN-sponsored campaign aimed at persuading investors to select their investments “responsibly”. PRI has attempted to set best-practice principles for ESG investment and its integration into investment approaches.

But after surveying 1,100 investment professionals it found the “main barrier” to ESG integration was “a limited understanding of ESG issues and a lack of comparable ESG data”.

Investment managers know there is information available “but advances in quality and comparability of data still have a long way to go”. That’s an issue if you’re trying to allocate hard-earned savings of pension fund holders.

State Street’s R-Factor scheme melds methodology used by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board with data collected by four major index providers (Sustainalytics, ISS-Oekom, Vigeo-EIRIS and ISS-Governance).

The process also draws on national governance codes, where they apply. Using multiple data sources means information gaps are filled, says State Street, and “reduces potential bias” in data gathering.

The scores drawn from the data are then shared with boards during engagement. In case studies provided by State Street, a company may be presented with as many as 26 different metrics that it can then work on to improve its overall ESG performance. State Street says these will be metrics directly relevant to a company’s business sector.

Observers say the new process is good news for companies because the focus is on materiality and allows them to see exactly how they improve their ESG scores.

But there remains a concern that it is yet another rating systems collecting information, one of the many already contributing to “reporting fatigue” among companies.

Disclosure requirements

The demand for ESG data disclosure comes not just from investors. In the EU, listed companies are required to disclose ESG information by the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NRFD), though this has faced criticism for failing to provide detail on what information should be disclosed and how.

A campaign group, the Alliance for Corporate Transparency, says the NFRD needs fresh legislation to introduce a “mandatory baseline of disclosure requirements and metrics”.

This chimes with research across the EU undertaken by Board Agenda, which found a reassuringly large number of companies recognised the importance of sustainability to long-term value creation. But only half of those questioned could say their sustainability aims were delivered by “effective business policies”, and only a third could say sustainability had been integrated into performance measures and compensation schemes for executives.

US regulators continue to grapple with the disclosure of ESG information (ironic, given asset managers like BlackRock, the world’s largest, have publicly voiced the importance of ESG data). The stumbling block to more enthusiastic use of ESG information remains how to access it in a reliable form.

In October last year academics filed a petition with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US financial watchdog, demanding that it begin work on defining “mandatory” disclosure requirements. Congress is also considering proposed disclosure legislation.

Commenting on the developments, Jessie Gabriel and Lauren Attard of BakerHostetler, a US corporate law firm, wrote: “Between the monthly reports of impending and dramatic climate change, the #MeToo movement, and more and more data confirming the importance of board governance to a company’s bottom line, the SEC may finally bow to the pressures of public opinion.”

The climate crisis is a dominant global issue and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Reports from organisations such at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have warned of the need to tackle global warming urgently. ESG issues will therefore continue to be an ever more important part of the investment chain.

That being so, companies will need to improve their strategies. Investors, in their turn, will have to hold them to account. Better metrics are therefore at a premium.

The post New approach aims to improve transparency of ESG information appeared first on Board Agenda.

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Press release: Court winds-up asset investment company

By HM Government A London-based company that offered unauthorised investment opportunities to the public has been wound-up in court.

From:: Press release: Court winds-up asset investment company

Mazars wins Goldman Sachs audit deal amid debate on market reform

By Gavin Hinks

Goldman Sachs

Mazars, the professional services firm, has clinched one of the most significant audit contracts outside the Big Four firms after being appointed auditors of Goldman Sachs in Europe.

There is nothing unusual in winning an audit, but this will be the only sizeable bank to be audited by a firm that is not one of the quartet of large firms: PwC, EY, Deloitte and KPMG.

Reportedly worth £4m in annual fees, the appointment comes at a time when audit and the audit market is under intense scrutiny in the UK following a number of corporate failures.

When Carillion collapsed at the end of 2017 it triggered a wide ranging review by politicians and regulators. Throughout 2018 parliamentary committees took evidence on auditors, the operation of the audit market and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the audit regulator.

In December last year the Kingman Review recommended replacing the FRC with a brand new regulator endowed with revised powers.

Then in April the Competition and Markets Authority issued its final recommendations on reforming the audit market. It proposed the operational separation of audit firms from other services, such as consultancy; mandatory joint audits; and public reprimands for audit committees if they fail to provide adequate scrutiny of their auditors.

One of the big concerns of those investigating the audit market was why there are not more major firms auditing global companies. Regulators worry that the loss of a big firm (Andersen, part of the then Big Five, collapsed during the Enron scandal in 2001), would mean companies and regulators could face a conflicts of interest crisis.

There have been previous attempts at reform. In 2016 the EU introduced measures that impose mandatory audit tendering and limits on how long an auditor could serve with a single client (mandatory rotation). There were also constraints placed on the additional services that could be provided to an audit client.

Mazars, the UK’s eighth largest firm, has won the audit of Goldman Sachs in Europe after PwC reached the end of its mandatory limit. The rest of the bank’s global operations will remain with PwC. The other three big firms were ruled out of contention due to conflicts of interest.

Real significance

Mazars was shortlisted along with BDO, the UK’s number six firm. In the past it was argued that non-Big-Four firms did not possess the expertise and resources needed to audit the complex operations of a big bank. However, with the first year of audit not due until the financial year 2020–21, Mazars has leeway to organise its work and hire the experts it needs.

Some observers see real significance in the deal. Mazars wins a big name client. That’s a reputation boost for itself, but also vicariously for other smaller audit outfits.

But the deal also sees two elements of novelty. First, Goldman Sachs answers the compliance demands of EU audit firm rotation at a local level rather changing auditor for the group. More American banks could follow suit, which should have smaller firms polishing their pitch presentations.

Second, the deal separates the issue of group audit from subsidiary audit. Jonathan Hayward, chief executive of Independent Audit, an adviser on governance and assurance, said: “Break that link and you create whole new opportunities for smaller firms.”

He added the move could also prompt a rethink of group audit as a tool for shareholders, while subsidiary audits could be undertaken for local compliance purposes. That, he said, could be even more powerful than joint audits, for which, he argued, there is little supporting evidence.

For now Mazars will be celebrating its success and a modicum of fame. The hard work is still to come.

The post Mazars wins Goldman Sachs audit deal amid debate on market reform appeared first on Board Agenda.

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Transparency data: Insolvency practitioner sanctions: Susan Wriglesworth and Thomas Fox 12 March 2019

By HM Government On 12 March 2019 a disciplinary consent order was made against Susan Wriglesworth and Thomas Fox formally of Creditfix Ltd and Licensed Insolvency Practitioners (IPs).

From:: Transparency data: Insolvency practitioner sanctions: Susan Wriglesworth and Thomas Fox 12 March 2019

Little Hearts Matter – Trustee

By Debbie Wright

Trustee – Little Hearts Matter Organisation: Little Hearts Matter Reference: Vacancy Type: Trustee Deadline: 20th June 2019 Region: Nation Wide Vacancy Details Little Hearts Matter is seeking to expand & strengthen its Trustee Board with someone who has the experience and networking abilities to help us grow efficiently. Little Hearts Matter Little Hearts Matter offers […]

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News story: British Steel Limited in liquidation: information for customers, employees and creditors

By HM Government On 22 May 2019 the High Court ordered British Steel Limited into compulsory liquidation. The Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator.

From:: News story: British Steel Limited in liquidation: information for customers, employees and creditors

Practical steps needed to boost gender diversity on US boards

By Gavin Hinks

businesswoman, gender, diversity

Looking at the evidence, the US does not perform well when it comes to appointing women to boards.

According to a survey by Spencer Stuart, a firm of headhunters, the US places mid-table with 24% of boardroom roles in the largest publicly listed companies held by women. Norway has 46% and France 43%. Even the UK does better than the US, with 28%.

This week Women Corporate Directors, one of the most hard-working campaign groups in the US corporate world, has published a set of recommendations providing key steps for companies seeking to improve boardroom diversity.

Speaking in San Jose at the organisation’s annual conference, WCD’s chief executive Susan Keating said: “Directors have it in their hands to change the face of the boardroom.”

The US is struggling with structural headwinds. A recent survey from think tank The Conference Board found there was so little turnover of boardroom members it could present a significant barrier to accelerating the speed of change.

In February, figures from financial research group Morningstar revealed that the largest 500 companies in the Russell 3000 had 23.7% of board positions occupied by women. In the next 2,500, women on average held just 13.6%. One fifth of Russell 3000 companies have no female directors at all.

Practical steps to boost diversity

WCD, along with its partner on the project, the KPMG Board Leadership Center, says companies should consider 12 measures. These include seeking a a “diverse slate” for every board director search; removing bias from its from search criteria while maintaining focus on strategic need; and finding ways to connect with new networks of qualified board staff.

Companies should also regularly review their own “diversity scorecards” and hold management accountable for implementing inclusive leadership.

The WCD recommendations are a timely reminder that there are practical steps to improving boardroom diversity. Often, surveys emerge portraying progress—or not—but little is said about the remedies.

Transparency is also a crucial issue for WCD. Its report says it is increasingly important for shareholders “seeking a better window into the composition and effectiveness of the board”.

Elsewhere, there is strong anecdotal evidence that board diversity is viewed as a proxy for corporate culture by shareholders concerned that investee companies have established the right values and an appropriate working environment.

Some states in the US have taken a legal route to address diversity numbers. Under a reform enacted in 2018, companies headquartered in California must have at least one female director by the end of 2019 and, depending on company size, at least two or three by the end of 2021. Illinois and New Jersey are considering their own measures.

These gradual changes contrast starkly with Norway, which mandated women on boards in 2003—the first country to do so.

WCD’s report says: “Whether looking at gender in the US or internationally, or other parameters of diversity such as race, ethnicity and sexual orientation, there is progress, but the movement is so slow that the most commonly used word associated with the pace of change is ‘glacial’.”

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North East Scotland College Regional Board – Board Members

By Debbie Wright

Board members – North East Scotland College Regional Board Reference: 1649 Remuneration: Unremunerated Location: Within Scotland – not further specified Closing date: 03 June 2019 at midnight North East Scotland College’s vision is to be a College that transforms lives and supports regional development. This will continue to be achieved through the provision of inspirational […]

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