It’s been a busy year for the eShare events team. We’ve spoken, attended and exhibited at events and conference in countries all over the world, from the UK to the US, and from South Africa to Germany, talking to many companies about how our solutions can help them improve governance and have smarter meetings.
The final event for 2017 promises to be one of the best – the Thomson Reuters Company Secretary Forum 2017. Taking place at the QEII Centre in Westminster on 23 November, this is an event now in its sixth year, and is targeted firmly at company secretaries and senior members of the secretariat team. Most of the panellists and speakers are company secretaries with first-hand experience of the issues raised.
An uncertain business environment
The premise of this year’s event is that the past 18 months have been almost continuous political upheaval and surprise, and therefore the role of the company secretary has never been so important. That’s something eShare would concur with, and we published our own whitepaper on this very topic earlier in 2017, ‘Under pressure: the company secretary and the growing need for effective governance’.
What with the results of the general election, Brexit uncertainty from many angles, and the administration change in the US, it adds up a complex and uncertain business environment, with company secretaries expected to play a prominent role in navigating that uncertainty.
Topics under discussion and keynote topics at the Thomson Reuters event include: Board composition; Diversity and evaluation; Directors’ duties and stakeholder engagement; MAR: a practical perspective one year on; Corporate crime and director liability; and GDPR.
Research-based insight, smart technology solutions
These are all issues with which we are hugely familiar. In addition to our industry insight gleaned from speaking with customers and prospects, and attending events such as this one, we have conducted several research studies in 2017 that highlight just what a challenging role the company secretary is.
Statistical highlights include:
- 37% of UK employees say there is not a woman on the board at their organisation, 58% say there is no-one under the age of 40 and 55% say there is no ethnic diversity.
- 53% of governance professionals say that they face greater complexity in their work. 61% say they are faced with an increased workload.
- Three-quarters of governance professionals say that the mark of an effective board is transparency into decision making.
- Just 15% of UK business executives know who the corporate secretary is in their firm
The last figure highlights the changing nature of the company secretary – once an anonymous figure, the company secretary is now a pivotal figure in an organisation, with overall responsibility for that organisation’s corporate governance.
Using technology for a brighter future
What is clear in these challenging times for company secretaries, is that help is at hand. There is pressure to do more with less, but there are solutions that can take up some of the strain.
Whether it’s an online board portal that improves governance and board transparency, meeting management software that addresses inefficient preparation, scheduling and management of meetings or an entity management platform that allows a company secretary to keep track of their entities in countries all around the globe, there are many options available.
These are all technologies that eShare is using to help company secretaries in a variety of industries around the world. If you are attending the Thomson Reuters event on 23 November, we’d love to talk and better understand your needs.
Please come and see us at stand #14, or if you can’t be there but would like to hear more about how we can help company secretaries, do get in touch here.