A few months ago this column focused on the importance of ongoing Board performance appraisals, the process which has been followed, and the use of external consultants to provide additional points of reference and assessment.
In continuing with that theme and in line with sound practice, it is appropriate that the Board maintains diversity in its representation (gender, age, and cultural background), diversity of thought, and a range of individual skills and expertise.
The Board is also conscious of the need for continuing professional development of directors. Professional development is seen as mandatory to keep abreast of ever changing economic conditions, legislation and of directors’ responsibilities and obligations. It is a requirement for each director to have successfully completed the Company Director’s Course. This involves attendance of about 35 hours duration facilitated by experts for units including Risk Management, Legal Environment, Strategy, Decision Making, Financial Literacy and Directors’ responsibilities. Successful completion requires passes for both the comprehensive written assignment and an on-line exam.
There are numerous other professional development activities for participation by directors. These include conferences organised by the World Council of Credit Unions and our Customer Owned Banking Association, briefings arranged by the Australasian Mutuals Institute and various specific purpose seminars and courses offered by associations such as the CPA, FINSIA and the Governance Institute. Each director must undertake an ongoing professional development program which forms part of their annual performance review.
The importance of effective governance cannot be overstated and increasingly attracts the attention of consumers, the market, government and regulators. The Board strongly supports professional development for directors to ensure that the skill sets of directors are diverse, complementary and appropriate to ensure the Mutual Bank’s ongoing success.