Chartered Corporate Secretaries are high ranking professionals who are trained to uphold the highest standards of Corporate Governance, Effective Operations, Compliance and Management. They are employed as Chairpersons, Executive Directors as well as Managers and Company Secretaries adding value to the Private as well as Public Sectors. In addition, the Chartered Corporate Secretary is well positioned to interact with a range of senior officials and other stakeholders including Board Directors, Customers, Financial Regulators, Brokers, Shareholders, Auditors, Statutory Bodies and State Officials. The Corporate Secretary is the nexus between the Board of Management of Companies and the Regulators. The role of the Corporate Secretary is therefore very important, in reality as Chief Governance Officers as well.
The Corporate Secretary ensures that an organization complies with relevant legislation and regulations and keeps Board Members informed of their legal responsibilities. Being the Company's named representative on legal documents, it is the responsibility of the Corporate Secretary to ensure that the Company and its Directors operate within regulations. The Corporate Secretary is the guardian and custodian of the statutory records of the Company and ensures that the Company discloses material information on a timely basis and in a transparent manner. The importance of the Corporate Secretary to the highest level of decision makers and governance shapers in the Company cannot be underestimated.
The Corporate Secretary is the primary source of advice on corporate affairs, and this can span everything from advice on conflicts of interest, through accounting and financial reports, to the development of strategy and corporate planning. The Corporate Secretary has high level responsibilities in all sectors including governance structures and mechanisms, corporate conduct within an organization's regulatory environment, reporting to Board, shareholders, trustee meetings, compliance with legal, regulatory and Stock Exchange Listing requirements and protection of shareholders' rights, the training and induction of non-executive directors and trustees, channeling of information to and from the Board, contact with regulatory and external bodies, reports and circulars to shareholders and trustees, management of employee's benefits such as pensions and employee share schemes, insurance administration, the negotiation of contracts, property administration and the interpretation of financial accounts. In view of the important roles the Corporate Secretary plays in public companies (Listed or otherwise), it is required that the Corporate Secretary should be professionally qualified and suitably trained for these responsibilities.
Qualified and experienced Chartered Corporate Secretaries are in very short supply. Chartered Corporate Secretaries in Sri Lanka command excellent salaries, but the key to getting these top jobs is appropriate work experience, the maintenance of record of personal integrity and excellence and through membership of the institute.
Membership is vital as it provides the proof of integrity and personal good standing that the modern employer demands - a portfolio of work evidence supported by a record of unbroken membership provides a job applicant with the edge that is needed in any competitive environment. Membership provides a record of accountability, which is priceless if they are working in the modern Corporate Governance environment.