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CEO's message | From the Technical Advisers Desk | Students in the spotlight | Member profiles | CSSA Events | Important dates in 2015

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CEO's message

Stephen Sadie
CEO, CSSA

Introduction by CEO
Corporate governance continues to feature prominently in the news daily. It makes for depressing viewing and reading. However Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa (CSSA) is making a huge effort to lift the levels of corporate governance in Southern Africa. The next few months will see some exciting corporate governance events.

CSIA Council
CSSA will host the Corporate Secretaries International Association (CSIA) Council meeting on 29 – 30 October 2015. The Council is the supreme decision-making body for CSIA. We look forward to welcoming the 11 member countries to Johannesburg. CSIA has 70 000 governance professionals worldwide. CSSA is pleased to be welcoming Corporate Secretary Associations from the following countries:

• Governance Institute of Australia Ltd (GIA)
• Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (SAICSA)
• Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (MAICSA)
• Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS)
• Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Zimbabwe (ICSAZ)
• Society of Corporate Secretaries & Governance Professionals (SCSGP) (USA)
• Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya (ICPSK)
• Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI)
• Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) (UKRIAT)
• Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN)
• Indonesian Corporate Secretary Association (ICSA)

Premier Corporate Governance Conference
The premier corporate governance conference will be held on 27 – 28 October 2015 at the Wanderers Country Club. As a bonus, six CSIA honorary officers will be speaking at the premier corporate governance conference. This is a great opportunity to hear about corporate governance in other parts of the world. Another very interesting session will be the Governance in Sport session. Here we have the likes of Dr Ali Bacher (cricket), Dr Robin Petersen (soccer), Dr Ismail Jakoet (rugby) and Barry Mocke (cycling) exploring the fascinating world of governance in sport. The conference promises to be an excellent event. If you haven’t booked yet, please do so before the early bird offer expires on 31 August 2015.

Awards Ceremony
The Awards Ceremony for passed finalists will be held on 30 September at the Linder Auditorium, Wits School of Education. We look forward to another batch of passed finalists. Please read the student and member profiles below to get an idea of how you can also improve your qualifications and become an asset to your organisation.

Integrated Reporting Awards
The final major event of the year will be the Integrated Reporting Awards, which will be held on 11 November 2015 at the Montecasino Ballroom, Fourways. We continue to assist companies both big and small to improve their levels of corporate reporting. The deadline for entries closes on 30 September 2015.

I do hope you enjoy reading this edition of the eZine.

 

From the Technical Advisers Desk

Joanne Matisonn,
Technical Adviser, CSSA

The benefits of integrated reporting

With the deadline for the integrated reporting awards set at 30 September, 2015, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on the journey companies have embarked on from producing an annual report to a sustainability report, separate or part of the annual report, to an integrated annual report.

The journey started with a change in mindset from focusing mainly or exclusively on historical financial information to including additional reports on environmental, social and governance to focusing on the company's impact on all six capital outputs, namely financial, human, intellectual, social, manufactured and environmental. The final outcome, an integrated report, should be a holistic report which provides both the historical position of the company and a forward-looking picture as well.

Integrated reporting starts with integrated thinking. This means that at the strategic stage, thought must be given to the impact of strategic decisions on all six capitals.

Black Sun plc in association with The International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) produced a research report, reflecting the benefits of integrated reporting. The report concluded that, inter alia, an integrated report improved:

  • users' understanding of both value creation and value destruction
  • management information and decision making
  • collaborative thinking within the company
  • the understanding of risks and benefits of the company's activities
  • engagement with external stakeholders, including investors

Setting up the framework for integrated reporting provides the company with an opportunity to review all its internal processes, including performance management systems and the most appropriate assurance metrics to ensure credibility of the process.

From the above, it is clear that integrated reporting, if done with thoughtfulness, can result in better internal processes, quality of data, decision-making processes and accountability. A balance needs to be struck between providing sufficient, user friendly information and also being mindful of not disclosing commercially sensitive information.

Students in the spotlight

Bonani Ndlovu

Background and studies

I studied at Walter Sisulu University in the Eastern Cape, where I graduated with an LLB Degree in 2012, and thereafter obtained a Post Graduate Certificate in Mining Law with the University of Witswatersrand. I am also an Accredited Member of the Compliance Institute of Southern Africa. During my undergraduate studies, I was involved in various co-curricular activities so as to supplement and complement what I was studying. The activities included being actively involved in Moot Court and also serving as a tutor. I was also actively involved in a Non-Profit Organisation on campus as an Organising Committee Member. This is where I developed a keen interest in governance and compliance management as my duties were along those lines. I currently work for Lace Diamond Mines (Pty) as the company's Legal and Compliance Officer.

Can you describe briefly what your current job entails?

My current job entails providing in-house compliance services that effectively support the company in its duty of complying with the relevant laws, regulations and internal procedures. This is achieved through working with the management and various departments in ensuring that the company has systems of internal controls that adequately measure and manage the risks that may be faced by the company.

What do enjoy about your career? What are your greatest challenges from day to day?

Governance, risk and compliance is more than a career to me, it is more of a calling. I am passionate about doing things as required by law and this blends in well with the role I play in my current job. Like any other career, this one too has its own challenges. Dealing with the ever- changing and complex laws and regulations in the mining industry, which is one of the most heavily-regulated industries, is a great challenge

Why did you choose the CSSA qualification/how has the course contributed to your career?

Because I am also involved in some 'boardroom duties', it became essential for me to familiarise myself with corporate governance practices and CSSA was the right institution to provide me with such knowledge. The course has made a huge positive impact in the day-to-day discharge of my duties. This includes making well informed decisions that are in line with the prescribed generally accepted corporate governance practices.

The organisation's corporate governance framework unifies all the complexities of the organisation's strategic and operational processes. I would recommend the qualification to others as I have seen this happening in my current organisation, because of the knowledge I acquired from the qualification.

What is your view on the role of the Chartered Secretary in the work place of today?

It is very relevant and crucial. Company secretaries are the primary source of advice on the conduct of business and this can span everything from legal advice on conflicts of interest, through accounting advice on financial reports, to the development of strategy, regulatory compliance plans and corporate planning.

Any inspirational anecdotes for fellow members and students?

When I knew I was to brace the cold winter and drive almost 200km for my Corporate Governance exam from the Northern Free State to the nearest exam centre in Gauteng, I was not concerned about the distance but rather the fact that I had to pass the exam, thereby adding weight to my day-to-day discharge of duties. I had spent sleepless nights in preparation for the exam and it was time to go and do justice to the paper. The hard work paid off when I received my results two months later

How do you enjoy spending your leisure time?

I spend my leisure time watching soccer. I enjoy it more when Manchester United disciplines the other teams, though we have not been lucky this season. I also enjoy reading books and writing articles on regulatory compliance as well as playing 'Monopoly' with my family. I keep going for more as my wife seems to be the defending Monopoly Champ of all time.

Member profiles

Juanita Prinsloo
GradICSA
Compliance Officer, Johannesburg Housing Company NPC (JHC)

Background and studies
Like most children, I wanted to be many things – detective, teacher, writer, actress among others – little did I know that my career and academic endeavours would give me a taste of many of those childhood dreams.

My career officially commenced on Valentine’s Day 1994. An 18 year old Juanita Prinsloo entered Vanderbiljpark Public Library as Library Assistant, ready to introduce youngsters to the magic of books and mesmerise them with storytelling. Thereafter my career would take a few more interesting turns which included a stint as a journalist at a Media24 publication, managing numerous information centres and providing training and research services to clients of one of the largest online database providers in the world, the Dialog Corporation. In 2004 I joined Johannesburg Housing Company NPC (JHC), a leading non-profit and social housing company which provides homes to more than 12 400 women, men and children in the inner city of Johannesburg. I started as Corporate Affairs Officer, but was appointed as Compliance Officer six years later.

I have studied part-time since leaving high school, completing a Bachelor of Library Science Degree (UNISA), Honours Degrees in Psychology and Information Science (UNISA), a Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing Management (UNISA), a Masters Degree in Journalism (University of Stellenbosch), a Diploma in Criminal Justice and Forensic Investigations (University of Johannesburg) and a Masters Degree in Intelligence Analysis (Charles Sturt University, Australia).

Can you describe briefly what current job entails?

As Compliance Officer of JHC my days are more or less equally split between company secretarial, compliance monitoring, internal audit and risk management activities.

What you enjoy about your career and challenges?

I enjoy the diversity of my current position, but this variety is curiously also my greatest challenge. I have to continuously and consciously strive to ensure that each of the four focus areas receives adequate attention.

Why did you choose the CSSA qualification/how has the course contributed to your career?

I did not have any background in company secretarial practice when I joined JHC. I therefore literally read everything I could find about company secretarial practice and governance and definitely became knowledgeable over time. Completing the International Qualifying Board Examinations has, however, enhanced my confidence in my own abilities and I believe it has also given JHC’s leadership further assurance of my skills and knowledge. I completed the Board Examinations in 2013/2014.

Why would you recommend the qualification to others?

The subject matter of the International Qualifying Board Examinations provides the perfect academic foundation for any aspiring company secretary. The student who combines the learnings from the examinations with a good dose of professionalism, courage and tenacity is ready to make a significant contribution as governance professional!

What is your view on the role of the Chartered Secretary in the work place of today?

The Chartered Secretary plays a key role in the long-term sustainability of the organisation which he/she serves by ensuring that the company’s leadership do the right things, at the right times and for the right reasons. The former CEO of JHC used to say that JHC is a ‘not-for-profit company, but also not-for-loss’. I strongly believe that the continued success of the JHC can be contributed to the company’s adherence to sound business principles and a commitment to good governance practices. I feel proud to be part of a profession which has the ability to fundamentally influence the manner in which companies are governed.

Any inspirational anecdotes for fellow members and students?

Considering that I was born at a time when the South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) launched its fulltime television broadcasts, I shall leave my fellow members and students with a quote inspired by a television character: ‘Live your life under the assumption that every day is like an episode of MacGyver, where all problems can be solved by some absurd, creative amalgamation of the resources available to you at any given moment.’ Source: Stolen from the Internet.

How do you enjoy spending your leisure time?

I usually spend my leisure time with heroes and hoodlums in pursuit of happy endings. I am an avid supporter of the performing arts and therefore always have a set of theatre tickets on standby. I just can’t resist an opportunity to join fascinating characters on their adventures to strange places and periods…all from the safety of an upholstered seat.

Member profiles

Waheda Khan
ACIBM, GradICSA
Risk and Performance Manager, Council for Medical Schemes (CMS)

Background and studies

I started off at the Council for Medical Schemes as an Executive Assistant, where part of my key performance indicators was to be secretary to the Audit and Risk, and Finance Committee.

The task at that time was quite daunting for me as I had never done minutes or knew anything about being a secretary to a committee of that stature. I was introduced to CSSA by our HR Manager who advised me that studying chartered secretaryship would give me the skills and knowledge to carry out my duties. Little did I know that it would totally change the course of my career, and propel it into something that was beyond my initial expectations. I give credit to my former and current manager for supporting and encouraging me in completing this qualification and for further developing my career path as I was advancing with my studies.

Can you describe briefly what your current job entails?

I am responsible for Enterprise Risk Management and performance management at CMS. As enterprise risk management was not a formalised process when I took on the role at CMS. I was tasked with designing and implementing an enterprise risk management framework for the organization which I had completed successfully. I manage the risks for the organization with the help of risk champions appointed in all departments. I ensure risks are continuously monitored and are managed effectively.

I also assist in the development of strategic, annual performance and operational plans. I ensure that there is integration of risk with the strategy development process and that the strategic plan complies with the internal performance framework and external regulatory requirements. I monitor the performance of the organization and report on a quarterly and annual basis to the relevant authorities.

My job further entails the overseeing of the work of internal auditors and ensuring that they function according to their audit plan and that any findings from audit reports are actioned by the responsible persons in the departments.

What do enjoy about your career? What are your greatest challenges from day to day?

My position allows me to have a bird’s eye view of the organisation and allows me to give input into strategy of the organisation, improving processes to enable the organisation to become more efficient.

A recent challenge for me was getting everyone in the organisation thinking about risk in everything that they did. To achieve this I would converse about it wherever I went, casually explaining to my colleagues how important it was to identify risks and the effects of risks on different aspects of the organisation. I used this strategy whenever the opportunity arose, in corridors, kitchens, and during coffee breaks and in meetings. Because my colleagues did not feel that risk management was imposed upon them, their adoption of some of the suggestions following our risk meetings has been positive. I am happy to report that risk is taken quite seriously at our organisation now. Communication was key!

Why did you choose the CSSA qualification/how has the course contributed to your career?

The CSSA qualification is all encompassing: it covers financial accounting, management, strategy, risk, information technology, law and governance. This mix of subjects allows room for a career path into the fields of compliance, risk, finance and governance.

Why would you recommend the qualification to others?

I would definitely recommend this qualification to others. Through my studies with CSSA, I was able to enhance my skills and knowledge which allowed me to advance my career drastically. It has been so rewarding that I have had a number of colleagues in my organisation ask about CSSA and some of them have now registered for the CSSA qualification.

What is your view on the role of the Chartered Secretary in the work place of today?

Organisations have now come to understand the importance of having a company secretary and defining the roles and responsibilities of such a person. This role is so important as it can either influence the success or failure of the company just through compliance or lack thereof.

Any inspirational anecdotes for fellow members and students?

My mantra: Always a lesson, never a failure. Always take responsibility for your mistakes and learn from them. Strive to improve on everything you do and take from your failures lessons and move on. Only by doing this can you be truly successful.

How do you enjoy spending your leisure time?

I love travelling but it’s been awhile since I’ve done that, I have added this to my goal list to be accomplished in the next year. I am usually busy on the weekends reviving old or trying new crafts.

 

CSSA Events

Upcoming CSSA CPDs

Region

Date

Topic area

Topic

Speaker

Time

CPD hours

Johannesburg

28 August

Governance

Understanding the solvency and liquidity regime

Natasha Bouwman

08h00 – 10h30

2.5

8 September

Governance

Share dealings – market abuse

Peter Redman

08h00 – 10h30

2.5

16 September

Governance

Business Rescue and the implications for the board

Keith Fairhurst

08h00 – 10h30

2.5

Durban


8 September

Tax

Taxation of trusts

Carmen Westermeyer

08h00 – 10h30

2.5

Integrated Reporting Awards

Premier Corporate Governance conference 2015

Students

Important dates in 2015

Awards ceremony for past finalists

30 September

Premier corporate governance conference

27 & 28 October

Integrated Reporting Awards

11 November

This is the second edition of the Chartered Secretaries Southern Africa eZine 2015. Should you have any suggestions or specific information you would like included in future editions, please revert to the membership and marketing department, membership@chartsec.co.za.