Les devoirs des administrateurs selon la règlementation du Royaume-Uni (UK)


Aujourd’hui, je prends l’initiative de vous présenter un résumé de la règlementation UK eu égard aux devoirs des administrateurs de sociétés, accompagnée d’une explication de David Doughty*, expert en gouvernance, sur les sept (7) principaux devoirs de ceux-ci.

Il n’y a rien de bien nouveau quant aux responsabilités qui incombent aux administrateurs en Grande-Bretagne. En fait, le UK Company Act date de 2006 et on y trouve une description claire, et toujours d’actualité, des fonctions d’administrateurs qui s’appliquent autant aux indépendants qu’aux non-indépendants (plus particulièrement, les membres de la hautes direction qui siègent au conseil).

Ce texte est tiré d’un récent billet paru sur le blogue de David Doughty. Bonne lecture !

Les devoirs des administrateurs selon la description de la règlementation UK

The 2006 Companies Act, which set out to streamline and simplify UK Company law, ended up being one of the largest pieces of legislation ever written!

However, it did, for the first time, specify exactly what a Company Director’s duties are (which apply equally to both Executive and Non-Executive Directors), as follows:

  1. To act within powers
  2. To promote the success of the company
  3. To exercise independent judgement
  4. To exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
  5. To avoid conflicts of interest
  6. Not to accept benefits from third parties
  7. To declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement with the company

To take them one by one – To act within powers – how does a director know what powers he or she is required to act within?

A good place to start is the Articles of Association (previously known as the Memorandum and Articles or ‘Mem and Arts’) – when was the last time you looked at these? When did your board last review them to make sure that they are still appropriate? These, together with any shareholder agreements, contracts, covenants and other items form the company’s constitutional documents which define your powers as a director.

P1020182If you haven’t looked at these for a while, or worse still, have never looked at them, then ask your Company Secretary for copies as soon as possible.

Next – To promote the success of the company – prior to the 2006 Act it used to be the case that company directors were responsible to shareholders and providing they endeavoured to ensure a decent return on the shareholders investment then they were complying with their duties.

Following the ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’ scandals of Lonrho and Slater Walker in the 1970s and the corporate failures of the ’80s leading to the Cadbury Report and the UK Corporate Governance Code it became clear that company directors had much wider duties which are now enshrined in the 2006 Companies Act, especially in respect of promoting the success of the company.

To promote the success of the company – having regard (amongst other matters) to:

The likely consequences of any decision in the long term;

The interests of the company’s employees;

The need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers and others;

The impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment;

The desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct; and

The need to act fairly as between the members of the company

Clearly, the new act, which applies equally to Executive and Non-Executive company directors in the UK, establishes a legal duty for directors to avoid short-termism in their strategic decision making and take into account the legitimate interests of their staff, suppliers, customers, the community and the environment as well as their shareholders.

With regard to the need To exercise independent judgement – it is important that, regardless of job title or board role or independence, all directors come to the boardroom table as equals, with joint and several liability for the decisions that they make and that they are not unduly swayed or influenced in making those decisions.

All directors are expected To exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence – which means that they should devote sufficient time to their role (which limits the number of directorships any individual may hold) and come to every board meeting well prepared, having read all the board papers and where possible, having had off-line conversations with fellow directors about key strategic matters.

Turning up to board meetings late and trying to read the papers during the meeting for the first time is unlikely to lead to an effective contribution to decision making or a satisfactory discharge of your duties as a company director.

Holding more than one board position or running your own business whilst serving on the board of another company are likely to compromise your legal duty To avoid conflicts of interest – whilst it is not always possible to avoid conflicts of interest, you should be aware of the possibility and alert the board when conflicts are likely to occur.

A well run board will have a Register of Interests, which will be reviewed annually, containing a list of all directors’ outside interests. The standing agenda for each board meeting should include an item for Declarations of Interests, at which point directors should declare if they have an interest in an agenda item. Often, if this is the case, the director will formally leave the meeting whilst the matter is being discussed and will only re-join once a decision has been made.

All directors should be aware of the requirement Not to accept benefits from third parties – compliance with this aspect of the act can be demonstrated by maintaining a Gifts and Hospitality register and ensuring that there is a company-wide policy on entertainment paid for by third parties.

Finally, directors need to comply with the requirement To declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement with the company – most commonly this covers property transactions or contracts with businesses that a director has an interest in. The sphere of interests that need to be declared also usually includes the director’s spouse, children and immediate family.

If you are a company director and you have been aware of your duties under the 2006 Companies Act and you have been complying with them then you can be satisfied that you are acting within the law – if not, then you should review how you and your board operates to make sure that you are discharging your director’s duties correctly.


*David Doughty, Corporate Governance Expert, Chartered Director, Chairman, Non-Executive Director, Entrepreneur. He works with company directors to help them and their boards to be more effective. He provides Investment Due-dilligence, Board Evaluation, Director Development and facilitated Board Strategic Away-days.

Dix (10) des plus importantes activités pour une gouvernance efficace*


Vous trouverez ci-dessous un checklist qui vous sera utile pour effectuer une révision de vos processus de gouvernance.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

Top Ten Steps to Improving Corporate Governance

1.      Recognise that good governance is not just about compliance

Boards need to balance conformance (i.e. compliance with legislation, regulation and codes of practice) with performance aspects of the board’s work (i.e. improving the performance of the organisation through strategy formulation and policy making). As a part of this process, a board needs to elaborate its position and understanding of the major functions it performs as opposed to those performed by management. These specifics will vary from board to board. Knowing the role of the board and who does what in relation to governance goes a long way towards maintaining a good relationship between the board and management.

2.      Clarify the board’s role in strategy

It is generally accepted today that the board has a significant role to play in the formulation and adoption of the organisation’s strategic direction. The extent of the board’s contribution to strategy will range from approval at one end to development at the other. Each board must determine what role is appropriate for it to undertake and clarify this understanding with management.

3.      Monitor organisational performance

Monitoring organisational performance is an essential board function and ensuring legal compliance is a major aspect of the board’s monitoring role. It ensures that corporate decision making is consistent with the strategy of the organisation and with owners’ expectations. This is best done by identifying the organisation’s key performance drivers and establishing appropriate measures for determining success. As a board, the directors should establish an agreed format for the reports they monitor to ensure that all matters that should be reported are in fact reported.

4.      Understand that the board employs the CEO

In most cases, one of the major functions of the board is to appoint, review, work through, and replace (when necessary), the CEO. The board/CEO relationship is crucial to effective corporate governance because it is the link between the board’s role in determining the organisation’s strategic direction and management’s role in achieving corporate objectives.

5.      Recognise that the governance of risk is a board responsibility

Establishing a sound system of risk oversight and management and internal control is another fundamental role of the board. Effective risk management supports better decision making because it develops a deeper insight into the risk-reward trade-offs that all organisations face.

6.      Ensure the directors have the information they need

Better information means better decisions. Regular board papers will provide directors with information that the CEO or management team has decided they need. But directors do not all have the same informational requirements, since they differ in their knowledge, skills, and experience. Briefings, presentations, site visits, individual director development programs, and so on can all provide directors with additional information. Above all, directors need to be able to find answers to the questions they have, so an access to independent professional advice policy is recommended.

7.      Build and maintain an effective governance infrastructure

Since the board is ultimately responsible for all the actions and decisions of an organisation, it will need to have in place specific policies to guide organisational behaviour. To ensure that the line of responsibility between board and management is clearly delineated, it is particularly important for the board to develop policies in relation to delegations. Also, under this topic are processes and procedures. Poor internal processes and procedures can lead to inadequate access to information, poor communication and uninformed decision making, resulting in a high level of dissatisfaction among directors. Enhancements to board meeting processes, meeting agendas, board papers and the board’s committee structure can often make the difference between a mediocre board and a high performing board.

8.      Appoint a competent chairperson

Research has shown that board structure and formal governance regulations are less important in preventing governance breaches and corporate wrongdoing than the culture and trust created by the chairperson. As the “leader” of the board, the chairperson should demonstrate strong and acknowledged leadership ability, the ability to establish a sound relationship with the CEO, and have the capacity to conduct meetings and lead group decision-making processes.

9.      Build a skills-based board

What is important for a board is that it has a good understanding of what skills it has and those skills it requires. Where possible, a board should seek to ensure that its members represent an appropriate balance between directors with experience and knowledge of the organisation and directors with specialist expertise or fresh perspective. Directors should also be considered on the additional qualities they possess, their “behavioural competencies”, as these qualities will influence the relationships around the boardroom table, between the board and management, and between directors and key stakeholders.

10.     Evaluate board and director performance and pursue opportunities for improvement

Boards must be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, if they are to govern effectively. Board effectiveness can only be gauged if the board regularly assesses its own performance and that of individual directors. Improvements to come from a board and director evaluation can include areas as diverse as board processes, director skills, competencies and motivation, or even boardroom relationships. It is critical that any agreed actions that come out of an evaluation are implemented and monitored. Boards should consider addressing weaknesses uncovered in board evaluations through director development programs and enhancing their governance processes.

_________________________________________

* En reprise

Voir le site www.effectivegovernance.com.au

Enhanced by Zemanta

Les devoirs des administrateurs selon la description de la règlementation UK


Aujourd’hui, je prends l’initiative de vous présenter un résumé de la règlementation UK eu égard aux devoirs des administrateurs de sociétés, accompagnée d’une explication de David Doughty*, expert en gouvernance, sur les sept (7) principaux devoirs principaux de ceux-ci.

Il n’y a rien de bien nouveau quant aux responsabilités qui incombent aux administrateurs en Grande-Bretagne. En fait, le UK Company Act date de 2006 et on y trouve une description claire, et toujours d’actualité, des fonctions d’administrateurs qui s’appliquent autant aux indépendants qu’aux non-indépendants (plus particulièrement, les membres de la hautes direction qui siègent au conseil).

Ce texte est tiré d’un récent billet paru sur le blogue de David Doughty. Bonne lecture !

Les devoirs des administrateurs selon la description de la règlementation UK

 

« The 2006 Companies Act, which set out to streamline and simplify UK Company law, ended up being one of the largest pieces of legislation ever written!

However, it did, for the first time, specify exactly what a Company Director’s duties are (which apply equally to both Executive and Non-Executive Directors), as follows:

  1. To act within powers
  2. To promote the success of the company
  3. To exercise independent judgement
  4. To exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence
  5. To avoid conflicts of interest
  6. Not to accept benefits from third parties
  7. To declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement with the company

To take them one by one – To act within powers – how does a director know what powers he or she is required to act within?

A good place to start is the Articles of Association (previously known as the Memorandum and Articles or ‘Mem and Arts’) – when was the last time you looked at these? When did your board last review them to make sure that they are still appropriate? These, together with any shareholder agreements, contracts, covenants and other items form the company’s constitutional documents which define your powers as a director.

P1020182

If you haven’t looked at these for a while, or worse still, have never looked at them, then ask your Company Secretary for copies as soon as possible.

Next – To promote the success of the company – prior to the 2006 Act it used to be the case that company directors were responsible to shareholders and providing they endeavoured to ensure a decent return on the shareholders investment then they were complying with their duties.

Following the ‘unacceptable face of capitalism’ scandals of Lonrho and Slater Walker in the 1970s and the corporate failures of the ’80s leading to the Cadbury Report and the UK Corporate Governance Code it became clear that company directors had much wider duties which are now enshrined in the 2006 Companies Act, especially in respect of promoting the success of the company.

To promote the success of the company – having regard (amongst other matters) to:

The likely consequences of any decision in the long term;

The interests of the company’s employees;

The need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers and others;

The impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment;

The desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct; and

The need to act fairly as between the members of the company

Clearly, the new act, which applies equally to Executive and Non-Executive company directors in the UK, establishes a legal duty for directors to avoid short-termism in their strategic decision making and take into account the legitimate interests of their staff, suppliers, customers, the community and the environment as well as their shareholders.

With regard to the need To exercise independent judgement – it is important that, regardless of job title or board role or independence, all directors come to the boardroom table as equals, with joint and several liability for the decisions that they make and that they are not unduly swayed or influenced in making those decisions.

All directors are expected To exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence – which means that they should devote sufficient time to their role (which limits the number of directorships any individual may hold) and come to every board meeting well prepared, having read all the board papers and where possible, having had off-line conversations with fellow directors about key strategic matters.

Turning up to board meetings late and trying to read the papers during the meeting for the first time is unlikely to lead to an effective contribution to decision making or a satisfactory discharge of your duties as a company director.

Holding more than one board position or running your own business whilst serving on the board of another company are likely to compromise your legal duty To avoid conflicts of interest – whilst it is not always possible to avoid conflicts of interest, you should be aware of the possibility and alert the board when conflicts are likely to occur.

A well run board will have a Register of Interests, which will be reviewed annually, containing a list of all directors’ outside interests. The standing agenda for each board meeting should include an item for Declarations of Interests, at which point directors should declare if they have an interest in an agenda item. Often, if this is the case, the director will formally leave the meeting whilst the matter is being discussed and will only re-join once a decision has been made.

All directors should be aware of the requirement Not to accept benefits from third parties – compliance with this aspect of the act can be demonstrated by maintaining a Gifts and Hospitality register and ensuring that there is a company-wide policy on entertainment paid for by third parties.

Finally, directors need to comply with the requirement To declare interest in proposed transaction or arrangement with the company – most commonly this covers property transactions or contracts with businesses that a director has an interest in. The sphere of interests that need to be declared also usually includes the director’s spouse, children and immediate family.

If you are a company director and you have been aware of your duties under the 2006 Companies Act and you have been complying with them then you can be satisfied that you are acting within the law – if not, then you should review how you and your board operates to make sure that you are discharging your director’s duties correctly ».

__________________________________

*David Doughty, Corporate Governance Expert, Chartered Director, Chairman, Non-Executive Director, Entrepreneur. He works with company directors to help them and their boards to be more effective. He provides Investment Due-dilligence, Board Evaluation, Director Development and facilitated Board Strategic Away-days.

Les dix (10) plus importantes activités pour une gouvernance efficace *


Vous trouverez ci-dessous un checklist qui vous sera utile pour effectuer une révision de vos processus de gouvernance.

Bonne lecture. Vos commentaires sont les bienvenus.

 

Top Ten Steps to Improving Corporate Governance :

1.      Recognise that good governance is not just about compliance

Boards need to balance conformance (i.e. compliance with legislation, regulation and codes of practice) with performance aspects of the board’s work (i.e. improving the performance of the organisation through strategy formulation and policy making). As a part of this process, a board needs to elaborate its position and understanding of the major functions it performs as opposed to those performed by management. These specifics will vary from board to board. Knowing the role of the board and who does what in relation to governance goes a long way towards maintaining a good relationship between the board and management.

2.      Clarify the board’s role in strategy

It is generally accepted today that the board has a significant role to play in the formulation and adoption of the organisation’s strategic direction. The extent of the board’s contribution to strategy will range from approval at one end to development at the other. Each board must determine what role is appropriate for it to undertake and clarify this understanding with management.

3.      Monitor organisational performance

Monitoring organisational performance is an essential board function and ensuring legal compliance is a major aspect of the board’s monitoring role. It ensures that corporate decision making is consistent with the strategy of the organisation and with owners’ expectations. This is best done by identifying the organisation’s key performance drivers and establishing appropriate measures for determining success. As a board, the directors should establish an agreed format for the reports they monitor to ensure that all matters that should be reported are in fact reported.

4.      Understand that the board employs the CEO

In most cases, one of the major functions of the board is to appoint, review, work through, and replace (when necessary), the CEO. The board/CEO relationship is crucial to effective corporate governance because it is the link between the board’s role in determining the organisation’s strategic direction and management’s role in achieving corporate objectives.

5.      Recognise that the governance of risk is a board responsibility

Establishing a sound system of risk oversight and management and internal control is another fundamental role of the board. Effective risk management supports better decision making because it develops a deeper insight into the risk-reward trade-offs that all organisations face.

6.      Ensure the directors have the information they need

Better information means better decisions. Regular board papers will provide directors with information that the CEO or management team has decided they need. But directors do not all have the same informational requirements, since they differ in their knowledge, skills, and experience. Briefings, presentations, site visits, individual director development programs, and so on can all provide directors with additional information. Above all, directors need to be able to find answers to the questions they have, so an access to independent professional advice policy is recommended.

7.      Build and maintain an effective governance infrastructure

Since the board is ultimately responsible for all the actions and decisions of an organisation, it will need to have in place specific policies to guide organisational behaviour. To ensure that the line of responsibility between board and management is clearly delineated, it is particularly important for the board to develop policies in relation to delegations. Also, under this topic are processes and procedures. Poor internal processes and procedures can lead to inadequate access to information, poor communication and uninformed decision making, resulting in a high level of dissatisfaction among directors. Enhancements to board meeting processes, meeting agendas, board papers and the board’s committee structure can often make the difference between a mediocre board and a high performing board.

8.      Appoint a competent chairperson

Research has shown that board structure and formal governance regulations are less important in preventing governance breaches and corporate wrongdoing than the culture and trust created by the chairperson. As the “leader” of the board, the chairperson should demonstrate strong and acknowledged leadership ability, the ability to establish a sound relationship with the CEO, and have the capacity to conduct meetings and lead group decision-making processes.

9.      Build a skills-based board

What is important for a board is that it has a good understanding of what skills it has and those skills it requires. Where possible, a board should seek to ensure that its members represent an appropriate balance between directors with experience and knowledge of the organisation and directors with specialist expertise or fresh perspective. Directors should also be considered on the additional qualities they possess, their “behavioural competencies”, as these qualities will influence the relationships around the boardroom table, between the board and management, and between directors and key stakeholders.

10.     Evaluate board and director performance and pursue opportunities for improvement

Boards must be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, if they are to govern effectively. Board effectiveness can only be gauged if the board regularly assesses its own performance and that of individual directors. Improvements to come from a board and director evaluation can include areas as diverse as board processes, director skills, competencies and motivation, or even boardroom relationships. It is critical that any agreed actions that come out of an evaluation are implemented and monitored. Boards should consider addressing weaknesses uncovered in board evaluations through director development programs and enhancing their governance processes.

Voir le site www.effectivegovernance.com.au

________________________________________

* En reprise

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Les dix (10) plus importantes activités pour une gouvernance efficace


To ensure that your board is continually reviewing and enhancing its governance processes, this checklist will provide a good starting point.

Top Ten Steps to Improving Corporate Governance :

1.      Recognise that good governance is not just about compliance

Boards need to balance conformance (i.e. compliance with legislation, regulation and codes of practice) with performance aspects of the board’s work (i.e. improving the performance of the organisation through strategy formulation and policy making). As a part of this process, a board needs to elaborate its position and understanding of the major functions it performs as opposed to those performed by management. These specifics will vary from board to board. Knowing the role of the board and who does what in relation to governance goes a long way towards maintaining a good relationship between the board and management.

2.      Clarify the board’s role in strategy

It is generally accepted today that the board has a significant role to play in the formulation and adoption of the organisation’s strategic direction. The extent of the board’s contribution to strategy will range from approval at one end to development at the other. Each board must determine what role is appropriate for it to undertake and clarify this understanding with management.

3.      Monitor organisational performance

Monitoring organisational performance is an essential board function and ensuring legal compliance is a major aspect of the board’s monitoring role. It ensures that corporate decision making is consistent with the strategy of the organisation and with owners’ expectations. This is best done by identifying the organisation’s key performance drivers and establishing appropriate measures for determining success. As a board, the directors should establish an agreed format for the reports they monitor to ensure that all matters that should be reported are in fact reported.

4.      Understand that the board employs the CEO

In most cases, one of the major functions of the board is to appoint, review, work through, and replace (when necessary), the CEO. The board/CEO relationship is crucial to effective corporate governance because it is the link between the board’s role in determining the organisation’s strategic direction and management’s role in achieving corporate objectives.

5.      Recognise that the governance of risk is a board responsibility

Establishing a sound system of risk oversight and management and internal control is another fundamental role of the board. Effective risk management supports better decision making because it develops a deeper insight into the risk-reward trade-offs that all organisations face.

6.      Ensure the directors have the information they need

Better information means better decisions. Regular board papers will provide directors with information that the CEO or management team has decided they need. But directors do not all have the same informational requirements, since they differ in their knowledge, skills, and experience. Briefings, presentations, site visits, individual director development programs, and so on can all provide directors with additional information. Above all, directors need to be able to find answers to the questions they have, so an access to independent professional advice policy is recommended.

7.      Build and maintain an effective governance infrastructure

Since the board is ultimately responsible for all the actions and decisions of an organisation, it will need to have in place specific policies to guide organisational behaviour. To ensure that the line of responsibility between board and management is clearly delineated, it is particularly important for the board to develop policies in relation to delegations. Also, under this topic are processes and procedures. Poor internal processes and procedures can lead to inadequate access to information, poor communication and uninformed decision making, resulting in a high level of dissatisfaction among directors. Enhancements to board meeting processes, meeting agendas, board papers and the board’s committee structure can often make the difference between a mediocre board and a high performing board.

8.      Appoint a competent chairperson

Research has shown that board structure and formal governance regulations are less important in preventing governance breaches and corporate wrongdoing than the culture and trust created by the chairperson. As the “leader” of the board, the chairperson should demonstrate strong and acknowledged leadership ability, the ability to establish a sound relationship with the CEO, and have the capacity to conduct meetings and lead group decision-making processes.

9.      Build a skills-based board

What is important for a board is that it has a good understanding of what skills it has and those skills it requires. Where possible, a board should seek to ensure that its members represent an appropriate balance between directors with experience and knowledge of the organisation and directors with specialist expertise or fresh perspective. Directors should also be considered on the additional qualities they possess, their “behavioural competencies”, as these qualities will influence the relationships around the boardroom table, between the board and management, and between directors and key stakeholders.

10.     Evaluate board and director performance and pursue opportunities for improvement

Boards must be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, if they are to govern effectively. Board effectiveness can only be gauged if the board regularly assesses its own performance and that of individual directors. Improvements to come from a board and director evaluation can include areas as diverse as board processes, director skills, competencies and motivation, or even boardroom relationships. It is critical that any agreed actions that come out of an evaluation are implemented and monitored. Boards should consider addressing weaknesses uncovered in board evaluations through director development programs and enhancing their governance processes.

See on www.effectivegovernance.com.au