The eShare events team has been in Dublin over the past week, attending two of Ireland’s most high profile conferences – the ICSA Ireland Conference 2017 (23 May) and the Annual Global Funds Conference 2017 (25 May).
The ICSA event is the largest annual event for company secretaries and governance professionals in Ireland and one that was particularly timely for eShare, given the launch of our recent white paper – ‘Under pressure: the company secretary and the growing need for effective governance’ – that takes an in-depth look at the role of the company secretary.
The Annual Global Funds Conference 2017 has been running for 19 years now and is recognised as one of the world’s most prominent gatherings in the investment funds sector. Both events were very important in helping to establish eShare in Ireland and saw a lot of strong engagement with the delegates in attendance.
ICSA Ireland Conference 2017
The role of the company secretary has become one of the most challenging in the modern enterprise and that was certainly borne out in some of the conversations we had with company secretaries at ICSA Ireland. However, despite many delegates admitting that at times they felt under pressure from the constant compliance and regulation demands that are placed on them, there was also a sense of optimism for the future.
One of the themes at this conference was around identifying the right tools and technologies to help company secretaries do their jobs more efficiently and more effectively. So we had a number of conversations with delegates about how our software can improve governance by offering increased visibility and transparency, and we came away with some strong leads.
We are in the process of following up on those leads and explaining in more depth how we can help company secretaries including saving them time on meeting management, helping them stay on top of and maintain the security of all the information they manage, as well as encouraging their directors to fully prepare, engage and collaborate around meetings. Our recent research showed that only 15% of people know who the company secretary is in their organisation – who knows, with our help, we might be able to raise that a little higher, which will mean the company secretary has done a good job.
Annual Global Funds Conference 2017
A key theme at the Annual Global Funds Conference 2017 was Brexit – how it would impact Ireland as a whole, what would it do to the Irish economy and how might it affect the funds sector.
We conducted research with delegates on some of those very topics, research that we will be announcing the findings of in due course. But what was clear from listening to the presentations and chatting with delegates, is that there remains huge uncertainty about the future. Investors had no real idea as to what they will be able to do (or not) in two years, nor how compliance requirements will change. There was also a general acceptance that we would all be waiting a long time for questions surrounding Brexit to be resolved fully.
Overall there was a feeling that while it might be a bumpy ride along the way, once the dust has settled, everything will be ok. What was particularly interesting for us to hear though, was how Brexit is making asset management firms get their houses in order, and tighten up on procedure and governance generally.
As a result of this, we experienced a lot of interest in BoardPacks, as a tool that can really help with these issues. Funds is a sector that we know particularly well, and one that I sense we will be doing a lot more with over the next few years, based on our learnings from the Annual Global Funds Conference 2017.
If you’re a company secretary, work in the funds industry or are just interested in learning more about BoardPacks generally, then do drop us a line here.