Isle of Man: DQ’s Sinead O’Connor Speaks At ICSA Conference
Last Updated: 24 July 2014

DQ's Head of Regulatory & Compliance services, Sinead O'Connor, was one of the three Isle of Man speakers chosen by ICSA to address their first Corporate Governance conference on the Isle of Man (15 July 2014).

Sinead joined a panel chaired by Simon Osborne, the Chief Executive of ICSA, to address the question of whether the Isle of Man is at the top of the governance league. Simon posed the initial question to panel members as to what the Isle of Man did well in terms of corporate governance and what it might need to improve on.

In response, Sinead drew attention to the high calibre of Non-Executive Directors ("NEDs") which the Isle of Man enjoys. She also pointed out the fact that the overwhelming majority of NEDs understand their role and furthermore that a regulatory regime applies to them where they provide services to a number of boards. She also commented on the accessibility of the Regulators to licence holders to discuss corporate governance issues as well as the willingness of the Island's professionals to attend events in which to increase their knowledge and skills.

In respect of what the Island might improve on, Sinead suggested that corporate governance is not something which can be achieved merely by meeting the expectations of the Regulators. She cited an example of a small licence holder being able to demonstrate that it had held the requisite four board meetings a year but the essence of good corporate governance being absent from what was discussed and decided at those meetings.

Sinead went on to say that corporate governance, like compliance, is the responsibility of all in a business and not just the Board. To explain her point, she said that staff in a business will often know that something has gone wrong before the directors and so staff should be encouraged and have the willingness to speak up.

The final question posed by the panel chair was the one thing that each panel member would change in terms of adherence to corporate governance standards. Sinead said that in view of the expanding Regulatory powers and the anticipated increase in requests for access to information due to data protection and tax information exchange agreement requests, businesses should be thinking now of how they can demonstrate good corporate governance to prepare their files for scrutiny in the future.

If you would like to discuss your corporate governance arrangements or any other regulatory or compliance matter, please contact Sinead O'Connor or Tom Maher.

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