Business
Three ICASL Presidents at Global Corporate Governance Forumís
leadership program

Three eminent Sri Lankan corporate sector Chartered Accountants considered to be thought leaders in the area of corporate governance have been tasked by the Global Corporate Governance Forum (www.gcgf.org) with developing a curriculum for corporate governance education in the region.

Indrajith Fernando, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) and two of the instituteís past presidents Asite Talwatte and Nivard Cabraal were invited to Washington DC last month for a six-day Corporate Governance Leadership Program organized under the aegis of the World Bank.

The intensive corporate governance education programme conducted by the Global Corporate Governance Forum (GCGF) in partnership with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) focused on substantive corporate governance understanding and elements of internationally recognized private sector best practice centered on capital market expectations.

Corporate governance promoters from more than 10 countries who participated in the program were provided with the knowledge and skills needed to lead director education programs that reflect international best practice adapted to regional needs in their respective countries.

Commenting on the program, ICASL President Indrajith Fernando said: "It is particularly noteworthy that all three individuals selected as corporate governance leaders from Sri Lanka were from the ICASL. This recognition at the highest level of the role played by the Institute and its presidents past and present to promote good corporate governance, is gratifying and a great source of encouragement."

Mr. Cabraal added that the key to good governance is the implementation of Codes of Best Practice and expressed satisfaction that this aspect is receiving the attention of Global Corporate Governance activists today. He stated that this development is an extremely welcome trend and expressed the hope that it would result in the overall levels of governance being raised all over the world. Capital Markets are fuelled by good governance practices and in that context, all measures to improve the levels of governance internationally would have a beneficial impact on global and regional capital markets, he added.

The Sri Lankans invited to the Corporate Governance Leadership Program have individually and through the ICASL driven efforts to advance corporate governance standards in Sri Lanka. Nivard Cabraal, Past President of the ICASL and the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) was Chairman of the committee that released the first corporate governance code in Sri Lanka. Nivard Cabraal was also recently engaged by the GCGF to draft the GCGFís Toolkit for the Crafting, Implementation and Monitoring of Codes of Best Practice on Corporate Governance. In addition, Asite Talwatte, Past President of the ICASL launched the Corporate Governance Disclosures Award in Sri Lanka, and Indrajith Fernando, current President of ICASL and Chairman of the SAFA Centre for Excellence in Corporate Reports was instrumental in the launch of the Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosures Award in Sri Lanka.

Elaborating on the focus and scope of the Washington program, Mr. Fernando said: "Corporate governance improvement requires building private institutional capacity to promote good practices especially at board level. Director professionalism has become an important issue in every region, as good corporate governance requires directors who are cognizant of their responsibilities. However, few individuals in developing and emerging economies have the experience, training or curriculum to educate directors."

"The goals of the program were to provide selected persons who provide director education programs from all regions with a uniformly high quality education on board roles and responsibilities and to assist leaders from director institutes and other interested organizations to build capacity for director professionalism in their regions through the development of a curriculum and teaching methods."

The Faculty that conducted the Corporate Governance Leadership Program was led by Ira M. Millstein, Chairman of the Global Corporate Governance Forumís Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) and Chris Pierce, former Director of Professional Development for the UKís Institute of Directors (UKIoD).

The program covered topics such as what capital markets expect of boards of directors, directorsí legal obligations to shareholders, other expectations that should impact on decision making, the processes involved in satisfying capital market and societal expectations, how directors can fulfill their obligations in different institutional environments and varying patterns of ownership, the financial tools that exist to help directors meet their obligations, the legal constraints they face, the consequences of director failure and how this risk can be lowered and how improved corporate governance by the board may add value to the corporation. The three delegates who attended the program from Sri Lanka are expected to play a leading role in developing training programs for Directors in Sri Lanka and such efforts are intended to have a very favourable impact in raising the level of Corporate Governance in Sri Lanka.

The Global Corporate Governance Forum was set up in 2002 to support corporate governance efforts in developing and emerging markets. The Forumís founders and donors include the governments of India, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland and USA and the World Bank Group and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

 

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