The 2nd Corporate Governance Conference, which will take place on Friday, May 4, at the Hilton Cyprus in Nicosia, is organised by Infocredit Group (exclusive partner of ICSA in Cyprus), powered by ICSA. Simon Osborne, Chief Executive of ICSA: The Governance Institute, spoke ahead of the conference about the importance of Good Governance and the necessary good practices around it.
You will be speaking at The 2nd Corporate Governance Conference, in Nicosia on May 4. What is the importance of this conference and what will the professionals attending gain from it?
Good corporate governance is as important in Cyprus as it is anywhere else in the world. Countries need good governance to ensure that they have companies that people want to invest in and their citizens want to work for or buy products or services from. It leads to long-term company success and economic stability. In short, you could say that corporate governance is essential.
Good corporate governance does not just appear or happen overnight; it needs to be developed, maintained and embedded; hence the reason for this conference. It is crucial that professionally qualified people are employed to implement the processes and frameworks that keep companies on track to achieve their purpose, values and goals.
Professionals attending this conference will learn about some of the key issues facing the world of governance and take away tips to help them respond to these challenges in their workplace.
What does the term ‘good governance’ entail? What are the essential elements that comprise it?
Good governance is based around organisational purpose, leadership, integrity, decision making, risk and control, board effectiveness, diversity, openness and accountability. The Top Ten things to look out for are:
• Clarity of purpose - a clear, consistent strategy which meets objectives
• Clear values for the organisation set and adhered to by the board
• A focus on positive organisational culture
• Good, open relationships with stakeholders that are meaningful
• A board with a good mix of skills, experience, diversity and backgrounds
• Sufficiently independent non-executive directors who ask the right questions
• Accountability and transparency, including transparent appointments processes
• Effective succession planning, aligned to good induction and ongoing training
• Robust and proportionate processes and controls, including explicit delegations of authority
• Clear distinction between roles.
What exactly is the difference between governance and compliance?
Compliance is about adhering strictly to legal and regulatory requirements. Governance is about having the processes in place to ensure that you address the principles. While governance involves a measure of compliance, it is a much broader concept. Governance ensures that decisions are taken by the right people according to appropriate principles and procedures; it is not simply a box-ticking exercise.
What are the main issues facing companies in relation to corporate governance?
Increased regulation has been challenging in terms of the sheer volume of changes that we have seen in recent years, but the main issues facing companies in relation to corporate governance are to ensure that people have a proper understanding of the importance of it, to ensure that it is genuinely embedded in the company from the top to the bottom and that strategy and values are linked to culture.
How is a company’s culture related to its approach to governance?
Good governance and culture are very much intertwined. Good governance is about doing the right thing, not just doing things with which one can that can get away with legally. Culture is of paramount importance. If a company’s culture is rotten then its governance procedures will falter with potentially dire consequences. Companies fail, people lose their jobs and entire industries can be plunged into reputational crises from which it can decades to recover. In the UK the focus is very much on corporate culture, with proposed revisions to the UK Corporate Governance Code putting a genuine emphasis on the importance of culture. To my mind, good governance is about having an ethical approach and ethics all comes down to culture.
For further details about the conference, click here
Organizer: Infocredit Group, Powered by: ICSA: The Governance Institute, Silver Sponsors: Hellenic Bank, Emilianides Katsaros LLC, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, VinciWorks, Supporters: Association of Cyprus Banks, Cyprus Stock Exchange, Cyprus Bar Association, Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission, ICPAC, Software Sponsor: Powersoft, Coordinator: IMH