Our range of board evaluations and assessments are designed to better understand and achieve the right mix of skills, backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives in the boardroom. The goal? To eliminate potential blind spots and, in so doing, build stronger boards
vision & Mission
Providing the metrics for good governance
According to a survey by KPMG, only 4% of boards have term limits for independent directors, and although 73% of boards have a mandatory retirement age although many have raised it and expressly permit exceptions to the policy. At the same time, investor frustration at the pace of change in boardrooms is on the up and points to the central challenge of board composition: a changing business and risk landscape marked by business model disruption, technological innovations and global volatility.
As investor and regulator expectations for board oversight and engagement increase, board composition, conduct and functioning are increasingly critical to help position companies for the future. But what are the key elements for success and what potential challenges do directors have to address? What are the best governance best practices? What is the board culture and composition best suited to your business? What is the plan to ensure board serves as a strategic asset to the company?
Our board assessments & reviews were developed by global governance leaders and academics to help your organisation answer these questions by providing you with valuable board assessment data. Our unique approach combines bespoke online questionnaires and individual interviews to ensure both a robust and time-efficient process. This modern method yields detailed results tailored to your organisation. And provides a range of both quantitative and qualitative data to get an in-depth understanding of the board functioning and individual feedback free of blame or bias.
“Focusing on long term value creation for the company and its stakeholders is the
primary role of the Board.”
A Modern Governance Framework
Next level, innovative board solutions
Our audits, reviews and assessments can enable organisations to understand whether existing governance reflects good practice. All our assessments are designed to encourage candid communication and include detailed and insightful benchmarking against a database of peers. The resulting report will allow you to see the identify areas that require improvement and see how your organisation compares to others.
The reviews spot future opportunities for development, reinforce the value of good governance in your organisation and provide a strong mandate for ongoing improvement.
Board effectiveness reviews are seen by regulators, shareholders and independent directors to be a critical element of global best practices in corporate governance. In addition, the UK Corporate Governance Codes call for Boards of Directors to conduct self-assessments annually and to arrange independent reviews every three years.
To fulfil its duties effectively, an effective board needs a balance and diversity of skills, experiences, characters, backgrounds, perspectives, attributes and abilities. Without this diversity of thought, boards are at risk of suffering from groupthink. In other words, if the people around the table come from similar backgrounds and think similar things, there is a keenness to reach a consensus, and the discussions they have and the decisions they make are less effective.
Our 8 elements of effective governanceOur review focuses on building a board that is fit for purpose, forward looking, recognising that diversity and healthy turnover are key. Being fully engaged in the business requires the board to plan for its own evolution by recruiting the mix of skills, perspectives, and backgrounds that align with the company’s future needs. We have identified eight elements which, research and practice tell us, are essential for effective governance. These apply to whatever type of organisation being governed. These eight elements are a requirement to transform a team of diverse people with a range of skills, experiences and knowledge into a highly effective governing board.
We provide assistance in both facilitating self-assessments and in conducting independent Board Reviews. As we are independent from your organisation and your Board, our assessment not only increases the objectivity and the quality of the results. We provide external assurance that boards and board members are fully aligned with strategic objectives, regulatory requires and focused on improving performance and governance practices.
A skills audit is all about getting the right people around the table.
A key element of board effectiveness is ensuring all have the relevant skills and experiences to contribute to the work of the board along with the necessary commitment of time and energy. Collectively, the board need to have a range of backgrounds and competencies appropriate to the board’s responsibilities and to develop the right strategy for the business.
Our skills audit tool is based on 6 Skills Areas and 12 Core Competencies. We compare results between different types of respondents to understand where people are most and least aligned, and why. The result report includes a skills matrix which enables you to assess the strengths of your board, based on the overall results, and highlights where your board needs to develop to deliver its functions effectively. Many board members will have more than one of these skills or skills required based on your strategy, but if there is a shortage in one area across the whole board, this may need to be rectified either by training or by recruiting someone to the board with the necessary experience, or both.
Professional skills which boards may find valuable, depending on their strategy, priorities or upcoming projects, include financial management and accountancy; organisational change management; legal; human resources; property and estates management; procurement and contracting services; project management; equal opportunities; risk management; health and safety; marketing and public relations; technology and many more.
The journey of the skills audit should not start when your governing board finds itself with a vacancy. It is an ongoing cycle that begins with evaluating what knowledge and skills you already have and then making a decision about who you need now and in the future. Time spent getting the right person is time well spent. Building a successful board team is about achieving balance and diversity in skills and experiences and then investing in the development of the board members.
When you get the right person, it will have a positive impact not only on the rest of the board but also on the organisation and the wider community in which the business operates.
Best practise dictates that an effective board should carry out a skills audit annually. This can be done internally, but it’s always best to have it done by an independent third party for an impartial view and greater transparency.
Minimising Conduct Risk, especially in the financial sector is a pivotal role of the work of the board. The lack of a solid cultural foundation and failure to maintain an appropriate risk culture has long been considered a major contributor to the failure of financial institutions. A Board Conduct Risk Assessment (BCRA) teaches financial institution employees how to recognise the common, pervasive influences, pressures and biases that can lead to unethical behaviour and provides guidance on how to overcome them.
The assessment begins by defining conduct risk and identifying its consequences for stakeholders -clients, the institutions, shareholders, the employee and the wider community. It then explores using case studies and examples from different areas of the institution or sector – the critical factors that contribute to suboptimal behaviour that can lead to unethical practices. These factors include internal and external influences, job requirements and peer pressures, conflicts of interest, heuristics and biases.
Finally, the assessment provides tips and techniques for mitigating, overcoming or altogether avoiding these influences to minimise conduct risk and its negative impact.
Such assessments can strengthen a boards ability to act in ways that are ethical, honest and compliant and that are in the best interests of the organisations stakeholders and ensure board members:
- understand their fiduciary responsibility and what it means to properly care for stakeholder resources
- Appreciate the sometimes-stressful nature of working in a financial institution and the inherent risk
- are aware of decision points and able to treat all decisions fairly and recognise the implications of not doing so
- recognise influences, pressures and biases to which they are frequently subjected, and understand how these factors can make it difficult to behave ethically, even when they are trying to do the right thing
- are equipped with the tools and techniques that give them greater control over their own actions and decrease the likelihood of personal misconduct
“Good boards are created by good chairs”
The role of chair in leading the organisation is crucial and extends well beyond legal and regulatory bounds.The chair creates the conditions for overall board and individual director effectiveness. The chair should demonstrate the highest standards of integrity and probity, and set clear expectations concerning the company’s culture, values and behaviours, and the style and tone of board discussions. The chair, with the help of the executive directors and the company secretary, sets the agenda for the board’s deliberations.
No individual board member therefore has more influence on board culture and performance than the board chair. Yet, most boards do not conduct formal performance evaluations of their chairs. Effective boards strive to oversee their chairs; while ineffective boards are controlled by them. Periodically assessing board chair performance can help board’s oversee their chairs and make a good chair even better. Board chair performance evaluation is a governance best practice.
The chairs role include building and maintaining the dynamics of the board and leading the ongoing development of its members, good governance, ensuring good working relations with the executive team, appraising each board member, and acting as an ambassador for the organisation. It is now good practice for governing bodies to have a role description and person specification for the chair. This is also a requirement of Regulators and Governance codes around the world.
Our governance expert helps organisation understand the rationale for board chair performance evaluation, and conducts a step by step board chair performance evaluation process that continue the development of the Chair, to more effectively conduct his or her role, be more productive and meet its duty to effectively lead the organisation
End-to-end, Bespoke, Governance Services
Our governance team can put together and expertly deliver a bespoke governance programme based on your governance action plan. Our broad range of services include governance development programmes, organisational health checks, strategy away days and leadership development & training amongst others.
We have the knowledge and experience to ensure your leadership and governance structure complies to the UK Governance Code and supports your long-term goals.
Boards and management teams can help foster long-term shareholder value by forging a culture that is aligned with the business strategy.
We provide the metrics that empower senior leaders to get the most out of their team, reduce politics and confusion, and boost productivity by boosting morale.