Here’s what you missed on Day One of NSW’S Governance and Risk Management Forum

What a start! Day One of NSW’s Governance and Risk Management Forum kicked off with a keynote address by Dr John Laker AO, where he highlighted failures in Australia’s bank culture and the importance of customer-centric culture and the need to build trust in the financial sector – The Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald wrote articles on his address:

Paul Bloxham, Chief Economist, HSBC Bank Australia provided us with an economic update. There’s huge uncertainty on global trade policy, with Paul predicting a slowing global growth at 2.4% for 2019 and 2020.

Ken Weldin FGIA, Partner and Governance Leader, PKF reinforced the importance of culture with a video of Boy George (Culture Club) and challenged the audience on their definition of ethics both personally and as a governance professional. He urged everyone to consider governance values and ethics – do peoples conduct inspire confidence or fear? Integrity was a key theme, with Ken advising everyone that integrity and trust should be something people associate you with. The top ethics for governance professionals are:

  • Integrity
  • Objectivity
  • Professional competence and due care
  • Confidentiality
  • Professional behaviour


Marcin Firek FGIA FCIS, Company Secretary at Woolworths Group joined Emma Lawler FGIA FCIS, Company Secretary, Link Group for a panel discussion on the challenges company secretaries are facing. Emma reinforced the board's need to understand the current culture, the key drivers, whether the organisation needs to change anything and the importance of verifying the organisations culture.

Marcin explained the responsibility of the company secretary to ensure the flow of information to the board, as well as the unique perspective of the company secretary, board and management. And perhaps his most basic and practical advice for those with company secretary responsibilities for driving good culture, “Listen to people in the business, be humble, be collaborative and bring people together”.

Our highly anticipated session on regulatory engagement in a post-royal commission world was led by Kevin Lewis FGIA, Chief Compliance Officer, ASX and John Price, Commissioner, ASIC. John and Kevin explained that the first port of call for any company is dispute resolution – you can stop little issues growing into big issues if you have a good internal dispute resolution system. John and Kevin also emphasised The importance of setting the culture from the top – making sure the board is keeping up with what’s happening on the ground. You can read the Financial Review article covering Kevin Lewis' statement sby clicking the link below. 


Anne Carroll, Director, Uniting, Tracey Burton, Executive Director, Uniting and Yvonne Butler FGIA, Managing Director, The Information Source, discussed building new frameworks for accountability. Anne gave advice on how to fix accountability frameworks and evaluate your culture.

Jana Jevcakova, Director, Corporate Governance, Morrow Sodali and David Akers, Head of Investor Relations, The a2 Milk Company took the stage to talk about the growing importance of investor relations. Jana offered the advice, “Know who to communicate with, know who is responsible for voting, engagement and investment decisions”.
Jana and David also stressed the importance of communicating with stakeholders and ensuring that, all functions of the business talk to each other and have a common language.

We closed Day One with a spotlight on remuneration featuring Jairus Ashworth, Partner — Talent, Rewards & Performance, Aon, Benjamin Morris, Co-Head of HR and General Manager Performance, Reward & HR Operations and Kate Spargo, Non-executive Director, Sonic Healthcare. Kate left the room with a great insight - you can easily gauge the culture of a company by how they answer questions to remuneration and incentives.  

Day two focused on risk management and resilience focus, featuring speakers including Stacey Copas, CEO, Academy of Resilience, Todd Williams, Director, NSW Cyber Security Network. Subscribe for updates in your inbox!


Missed out on #GRMF2019? Don’t worry – our National Conference 2019 is being held in Sydney, featuring speakers such as Diane Smith-Gander AO and Alison Watkins. Early bird ends June 30 – reserve your seat.

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