Getting to know better : Lorna Mackie
Lorna is Scottish and came to the continent after having obtained a Masters degree in French and German from the University of Glasgow. She has worked in the Luxembourg fund industry since 1996 and has spent most of her career in company secretarial and governance roles for both third party service providers and in-house fund managers. For the last 13 years her focus has been the governance of real estate vehicles with subsidiaries in both Luxembourg and abroad.
In your opinion, how has the Company Secretary role evolved in the last years?
The Company Secretarial role has always been an important one but it has been undervalued and has lacked visibility. Over the past years however, and for many reasons, there has been a huge focus on governance with agendas being expanded to cover wide-ranging issues such as sustainability, diversity, cybersecurity etc. The Company Secretary has become the holder of the key to steering good governance and is more than ever playing a strategic and influential role in the running of companies.
According to you, what are the benefits of being a Certified ILA Company Secretary?
As previously mentioned the role of the Company Secretary, although being important, has lacked recognition and in fact is generally misunderstood, something I have always found very frustrating. Having worked for more than 20 years in the company secretarial field I was delighted when ILA announced the launch of the certification programme. For me, the key benefits lie in the recognition of the role through certification as well as raising awareness of the depth and complexity of issues faced by Company Secretaries. Being able to share and debate common problems with the other professionals undertaking the programme was hugely beneficial.
How can a Company Secretary improve the effectiveness of Luxembourg Boards?
When my children were younger and asked me what my job was, I used to tell them that I was the parent of companies, that I was responsible for ensuring that the company was neat and tidy and in good order, that it wouldn’t get into trouble with anybody and it would always do its best. The role however has become much broader than just being a good housekeeper, especially in Luxembourg where substance and governance go hand-in-hand. I see it as the Company Secretary’s duty to act as a guide and counsellor for the board, to steer it in the right direction and ensure that it has everything required to enable it to make informed decisions and be aware of the consequences of such decisions. It’s not just about putting a set of papers on the table; it’s about adding value by playing an integral, strategic and influential role.
How can ILA contribute to the function of Company Secretary?
Through the launch of the certification programme, ILA has already taken a large step forward to increasing awareness of the Company Secretarial role. I would like to think that by maintaining the high quality and standards of the programme and through continued promotion, the role of the Company Secretary will finally be recognised in Luxembourg as a profession in its own right.