ROLE OF A CHARTERED CORPORATE SECRETARY
Chartered Corporate Secretaries are high ranking professionals who are trained to uphold the highest standards of Corporate Governance, Effective Operations, Compliance and Management. They are employed as Chairpersons, Executive Directors aswell as Managers and Company Secretaries adding value to the Private aswell as Public Sectors of the Economy. In addition, the Chartered Corporate Secretary is well positioned to interact with a range of senior officials and other stakeholders including Board Directors, Customers, Financial Regulators, Brokers, Shareholders, Auditors, the Inland Revenue Department and State Officials.
The Corporate Secretary is the nexus between the Board of Management of Companies and the Regulators. The role of the Corporate Secretary is therefore very important, in reality as Chief Governance Officers as well.
The Corporate Secretary ensures that an organization complies with relevant legislation and regulations and keeps Board Members informed of their legal responsibilities. Being the Company’s named representatiive on legal documents, it is the responsibility of the Corporate Secretary to ensure that the Company and its Directors operate within regulations. The Corporate Secretary is the guardian and custodian of the statutory records of the Company and ensures that the Company discloses material information on a timely basis and in a transparent manner. The importance of the Corporate Secretary to the highest level of decision makers and governance shapers in the Company cannot be underestimated.
The Corporate Secreatry is the primary source of advice on corporate affairs, and this can span everything from advice on conflicts of interest, through accounting and financial reports, to the development of strategy and corporate planning. The Corporate Secretary has high level responsibilities in all sectors including governenace strucures and mechanisms, corporate conduct within an organization’s regulatory environment, reporting to Board, shareholders, trustee meetings, compliance with legal, regulatory and Stock Exchange Listing requirements and protection of shareholders’ rights, the training and induction of non-executive directors and trustees, channeling of information to and from the Board, contact with regulatory and external bodies, reports and circulars to shareholders and trustees, management of employees' benefits such as pensions and employee share schemes, insurance administration, the negotiation of contracts, property administration and the interpretation of financial accounts. In view of the important roles the Corporate Secretary plays in public companies (Listed or otherwise), it is required that the Corporate Secretary should be professionally qualified and suitably trained for these responsibilities.
Key personal attributes that a Chartered Corporate Secretary needs for success are summed up in the following diagram :
Qualified and experienced Chartered Corporate Secretaries are in very short supply. Chartered Corporate Secretaries in Sri Lanka command excellent salaries, but the key to getting the top jobs is appropriate work experience and the maintenance of records of personal integrity and ability through Membership of the Institute.
Membership is vital as it provides the proof of integrity and personal good standing that the modern employer demands – a portfolio of work evidence supported by a record of unbroken Membership of ICCS provides a job applicant with the edge that is needed in any competitive environment. Membership which provides a record of accountability is pricelesss if an individual is working in the modern Corporate Governance environment
The ICCS offers a professional qualification covering Business, Company Law, Corporate Governance, Management, Finance/Accounting, Company Secretarial Practice, which is a breadth of knowledge not offered by other professional bodies in the business arena.