The monthly ILA Conducting Officer Forum is a key event for the 330 ILA members who perform that role. This is a chance to discuss best practice with peers, with regular input from senior members of the CSSF. We spoke to Revel Wood, chair of the Conducting Officers Committee about this, and also two other projects he is helping with.
From an informal discussion group back in the late 2000s, the ILA Conducting Officer Forum has grown to be the place to be for those with responsibility for reporting on risk to boards and the CSSF on behalf of their AIFMs and ManCos. Meetings are in person every quarter and online in the intervening months.
“This a forum where conducting officers can come together to discuss the challenges they face,” said Revel, who co-chairs this initiative. The focus is on processes, regulation and maybe even where lobbying of the CSSF or ESMA might be appropriate if an imbalance between jurisdictions (mainly Lux and Ireland) is apparent.
Revel noted that there is guest from the CSSF every six months, with Marco Zwick, Director, and Pascal Berchem Chef de Service recent invitees. “Marco used to be a conducting officer himself and participated in this forum, so is able to convey clearly the regulators’ concerns, ways of working and their expectations,” he said.
These discussions are fully off-the-record, following Chatham House rules. No documents or reports are produced, and nor is anything commercial discussed. “We allow an open and transparent forum to discuss industry issues,” said Revel. If they feel a paper does need to be produced, the forum works with ALFI to encourage them to produce a report under their banner.
The recognition of Corporate Governance Officer function
He was also keen to promote the work of Raphaël Docquier and the ILA Company Secretarial & Governance Officer Committee on their efforts to raise the profile and skill levels of corporate secretaries. “In other jurisdictions the corporate secretary is a well-regarded profession that requires studies in corporate law, strong understanding of good governance practice and more. In Luxembourg this is most often not the case, with these vital tasks often being performed to a non-expert,” Revel noted.
“Raphaël and his team are working to having the role of Corporate Governance Officer recçognise on the market place while not going as far as the formal qualifications that exist in other countries, it will set a benchmark of good practice which will help those who perform this role become more effective.” Revel is chair of the ALFI Governance Forum, and is working to support ILA in this work.
Funds Data Exchange: what do boards need?
The Funds Data Exchange is another project ILA is supporting. This is a pan-industry not-for-profit initiative working to achieve standardization in how data is processed and shared. This project, – which could be an efficiency boosting game-changer – was discussed at the ILA PwC Fund Day on 17 Jan. This work is led in ILA by Mark Philips. “The project needs to understand what data boards want to receive, and how this will be used and by whom,” said Revel. He encouraged boards to give this consideration and offer their feedback.