QCA Annual Review - Chief Executive's Message 

18th October 2019

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We have developed over the last year into a stronger, more visible and more impactful organisation. At the end of the year our membership stood at 293 firms, of which 202 are quoted companies. This is a record number of members and, as a consequence our revenues have increased markedly. You will see in the Treasurer’s Report by Paul Watts that we have made a healthy surplus. This has not been a regular feature of our financial results over the last 10 years so we continue to be cautious in our outlook.
 
Corporate Governance remains high on our agenda and this year saw over 800 AIM listed companies adopting the QCA Code as a result of the AIM rule change. YouGov are conducting a study looking at the costs and benefits for companies that have adopted the QCA Code. The results will be published before the end of 2019.

Campaigning for proportionality in regulations that affects all public markets (not just the growth markets such as AIM) continues to be an important feature of the work that we do. The Prospectus Regulation, MiFID II, MAR, CSDR and the Short Selling Regulations are all issues that concern our members. Our Policy team have led campaigns and worked on all these subjects ably abetted by the Expert Groups.

An example of a recent success saw the FRC Review undertaken by Sir John Kingman recommending the setting up of a new regulator, ARGA. We are pleased that Sir John has adopted our recommendation to ensure that the objectives of the organisation require it to adopt a proportionate approach in its work, taking into account the resources available to issuers that can vary so much in size.

We commissioned Hardman & Co to work with us to build up a picture of the economic contribution that the small and mid-size quoted sector provides to the UK. Our research shows that about 3 million people are employed in the sector and that these companies contribute over £26bn in tax to the Exchequer. These impressive figures create a keener interest in our arguments from politicians and policymakers.

Our research shows that about 3 million people are employed in the sector and that these companies contribute over £26bn in tax to the Exchequer. These impressive figures create a keener interest in our arguments from politicians and policymakers.

We continue to work in Brussels on a regular basis both directly and through EuropeanIssuers. Legislation that is developing or about to be delivered in the EU is going to affect us in at least the medium term. It is essential that, as far as we can, we influence the outcome of legislation that will affect small and mid-size quoted companies on the Main Market, AIM and NEX Exchange.

For a second year, we have conducted research – through YouGov in conjunction with Peel Hunt – into the impact of MiFID II on the small and midcap market. This has provided us with evidence of decline and fundamental change in the market for issuers, brokers and investors. We have set this before regulators such as ESMA and the FCA as well as the European Commission and HM Treasury.

With Downing LLP, we have commissioned Henley Business School to look at the role of non-executive directors in growth companies and to look at how this differs within that segment as well as in comparison to the FTSE100.

Our longstanding fund manager and market maker events continue to be very well received. Over the years we have added a wide variety of events such as dinners for Chairs, CEOs and Chairs of Audit and Remuneration Committees so that each function can hear from an expert and share experiences. 

Our Annual Forum took place in June and was attended by over 60 companies with Andrew Kakabadse from Henley Business School as our keynote speaker and two panels of distinguished speakers. The theme was ‘Building Better Boards’ and drew a lively debate across a range of subjects including board evaluation and remuneration. The Forum was followed by a well-attended Members’ Reception. I’d like to thank Allenby Capital, Winterfloods, Link Asset Services and Mazars for their sponsorship.

Our Annual Dinner, sponsored again by the London Stock Exchange for which we are hugely grateful, was very well attended and we appreciate the support of BoardEx/The Deal, and Winterfloods in making this event such a success.

Finally, I‘d like to thank Gervais for his outstanding service as Chair of the QCA over the last 3 years. He is a very good Chair and a great person to work with. He has played an active part in leading the QCA to become a larger, more impactful organisation and I thank him for the support and encouragement he has given me.

I take this opportunity to welcome Adam McConkey as the new Chair. Adam has a hard act to follow and I know that he will bring his own successful approach to getting the best out of me, the team and the QCA over the next few years!

Tim Ward

Chief Executive, QCA

To read more about what we have been working on this year download a copy of our 2019 Annual Review.

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