After the lockdown rules were lifted and with more in-person working and meetings happening, we have resumed our schedule of member dinners. This month we held two of these events, one for Audit Committee Chairs and the other for Chief Executive Officers.
Audit Committee Chairs Dinner
We held an Audit Co Chair Dinner sponsored by Mazars. The guest speaker was Paul George from Belvoir Group PLC.
Based on the discussion at the dinner, Anthony Carey , Senior Adviser, Board Practice and Public Policy at Mazars identifies 10 top tips for Audit Committees chairs:
- Ensure you are seen to be genuinely independent by auditors and others
- Consider whether the audit committee strikes the right balance between challenge and support of management
- Be willing to mentor the FD in areas where you have particular expertise
- Have a good insight on investors’ views of the company
- Make sure you have a good grip on the latest cybersecurity concerns/developments
- As well as mitigating risks, focus on coping with unexpected crises, a key learning from Covid-19
- Check the business is seizing the right opportunities as well as managing its risks effectively
- Respond to significantly increased importance of ESG issues and focus on the S-social as well as the E- environmental
- Seek to foster a policy of no surprises at committee with early warnings provided of challenges
- Be willing to explain complex financial concepts in understandable ways to committee members with different skillsets
- Our Audit Committee guide can be found here for further information.
Chief Executives Dinner
- The challenges of environmental reporting, including the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures;
- Making disclosures around emissions and collecting data;
- The importance of telling the company's story;
- The difficulties in knowing what investors and other stakeholders want companies to be addressing;
- How to improve diversity and inclusion in companies; and
- The use of external facilitators in board evaluations.
The QCA's Practical Guide to ESG outlines 5 key first steps:
1. Develop a clear purpose statement
2. Undertake an ESG materiality assessment
3. Be aware of what others are saying and be prepared to respond
4. Understand what data you have and what data you will need to gather
5. Take control: decide what to disclose and where; be proactive in your communication
The QCA is currently seeking to develop a directory of ESG service providers to help our companies as they progress their ESG-related initiatives and disclosures. This will contain information about service providers that could help QCA members find service providers that have been used by other QCA members. The directory will include a range of providers offering different services, including consultancy, data management, reporting, assurance, verification, research, and others and will be available exclusively to members.
We would be very interested in hearing from QCA members who have already utilised service providers and would recommend their services. If this is you, please get in touch with our Senior Policy Advisor, Jack Marshall.
​​Our directors' dinners are exclusive, themed dinners that provide the opportunity for QCA members with similar backgrounds to share experiences and discuss timely issues in a structured yet informal environment. We are continuing this schedule of members dinners with a Financial Directors' dinner on the 14th July, sponsored by Verlingue with Andrew Ninian from The Investment Association speaking. We also have another Chief Executives Dinner, this time sponsored by Haysmacintyre with Daemmon Reeve from Treatt PLC as the guest speaker. More information can be found on our website, or by contacting Lydia Uthayakumar.