The 5th Annual GECN Conference in Sydney – “MM&K continues to develop its global reach”
Between 4th and 7th January, Paul Norris and Nigel Mills attended the fifth Annual Conference of the Global Governance and Executive Compensation Group (“GECN”) in Sydney.
The GECN is a group of independent firms, whose logos appear below, specialising in advising corporate clients on executive compensation and good governance. GECN member firms have offices in London, Geneva, Zurich, Kiev, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, Los Angeles and New York. MM&K has been the UK member firm since 2015.
It is consistent with good corporate governance principles for remuneration committees to have access to high quality independent advice on executive pay. Increasingly, clients need advice which combines best in class local know-how and a deep understanding of policies and practice on a global scale, so a core theme of this year’s conference was how GECN member firms can work even more effectively together to serve this need.
A practical example of GECN’s ability to present a global perspective was the lunch organised by our Australian member, Guerdon Associates, with one of Australia’s largest investment banks, which also has a significant global presence. MM&K advises the bank’s alternative investment arm in London. The lunch was attended by the bank’s Chairman, CEO, Remuneration Committee Chair, Committee members and Global Head of HR. During lunch, GECN members (who, in addition to Guerdon and MM&K, included Farient Advisors, from the USA and HCM, from Switzerland) were able to recount their first-hand experiences of advising other global banking entities in the world’s financial centres on dealing with challenges similar to those confronting our hosts, whose feedback clearly indicates that they found the discussion stimulating and helpful.
Collectively, the GECN gathers and analyses a large amount of data. Swiss member firm, HCM, has established a data collection and analysis centre in Kiev. Recognising the importance of data and its role in providing clients with intelligence and independent advice, conference spent some time considering how best to harness GECN’s collective resources to provide clients with relevant data, intelligence derived from that data and sound, independent advice.
Conference also considered important external issues concerning executive pay and good governance. Ms Pru Bennet, who heads BlackRock’s governance and voting for all Asia Pacific, gave a presentation and answered questions on the challenges and potential in China. Ms Bennet’s colleague, Ms Flora Wang, who has specific responsibility for the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong, attended by phone to contribute some specific local knowledge. This was a most informative session, which added to our global font of knowledge.
Conference was not all work over a long weekend. It was summer in Sydney (a welcome change from winter in London!) and conference organiser, Guerdon Associates, made sure we had opportunities to enjoy both Sydney’s hospitality and its culture. Next year’s conference moves back to Europe, where it will be hosted by our Swiss member firm, HCM.