Perspectives from London and Tokyo

Closeup of Gherkin building in London

At various times during the one-year term as President of the Governance Institute of Australia and Chair of the ICSA Australian Division there are opportunities to engage with international leaders in risk and governance. 

First stop London

Last month in my President’s column I covered the valuable insights gained from attending the ICSA International Council meeting together with the Australian ICSA Representative Peter Turnbull and CEO Steven Burrell. It was also an opportunity to personally cast my vote at the ICSA AGM held in London in the first week of October. Those attending the ICSA AGM heard a number of local members speak strongly in support of the resolutions put to ICSA members seeking amendments to the ICSA Constitution to provide new pathways to the ICSA membership. 

The ICSA Constitutional changes closely align with the initiatives introduced by Governance Institute of Australia some years ago resulting in the offering of Certificated membership and also adding a risk stream to the existing highly regarded and TEQSA-accredited program leading to the award of the Graduate Diploma of Applied Corporate Governance.

The Graduate Diploma in Applied Corporate Governance offered by Governance Institute is widely recognised as the leading qualification for governance professionals, including senior managers and leaders moving into to a governance role from another professional discipline. 

The changes to membership criteria have provided a catalyst for growth and diversity in the membership base of Governance Institute. Other divisions in the ICSA global family now have the flexibility to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the modern governance professional, beyond the traditional company secretarial role. 

Conversations with UKRIAT staff touched on many of the themes keeping governance professionals awake around the world. 

These themes included; how to effectively manage conflicts of interest around the board table; what are the key features of meaningful remuneration disclosures; how to implement a board and individual director-effectiveness assessment which satisfies the demands of an increasingly engaged investment community and what aspect of the current wave of digital disruption can we use to improve our performance and that of our organisation.

One initiative that I was especially keen to bring back to Australia was the tailored professional development program targeted at developing soft skills or leadership coaching. The aim of this program is to extend the capabilities of governance professionals beyond the traditional core legal or accounting professional qualifications. These skills are now seen as core territory for any senior leadership role.

Welcome back to Tokyo 

It wasn’t until I had emerged from the maze of connecting walkways of Tokyo Central Rail Station that I realised how much I had missed the welcoming culture, unforgettable sights and exquisite flavours of one of the world’s most bustling and exciting cities. My regular visits to Tokyo and Osaka ceased five years ago due to a professional change. But this recent trip proved while much has changed more remains constant in what is a unique cultural experience.

The OECD Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance

The purpose of this visit to Tokyo was to accept an invitation to attend the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance on behalf of Governance Institute of Australia.

The OECD letter of invitation stated:

‘With support from the Japanese Government the Asian Roundtable supports the implementation of effective corporate governance in Asia. To attract long-term patient capital — which is indispensable to support sustainable growth — companies must implement corporate governance arrangements that are credible and well understood across borders. The meeting provides a unique opportunity for the most influential and active practitioners and policymakers from around the world to share experiences and discuss emerging issues in a rapidly changing economic and environment.’

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