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Managing MAR-requirements: The benefits of automation

Why company secretaries benefit from software to deal with MAR-requirements and how to get buy-in from senior managers

by Adam Kulesza 2 min

    Board reports, minute taking, share plans and insider lists are just some of the administrative tasks that fall under the remit of the company secretary. Not only do these tasks take up valuable time, but they also come with significant levels of responsibility and, ultimately, compliance. Failure to comply with regulations like the Market Abuse Regulation can incur sanctions and unlimited fines.

    Help is at hand. When talking to company secretaries and compliance professionals they are often aware of software solution that can help them save time and comply with regulation however there are often questions around the ROI for the solutions and getting buy-in from senior management.


    This article focuses on insider lists and compliance with the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR). Insider lists is an area that has been one of the most affected in terms of an increase in administration since MAR came into force almost 4 years ago. We’ll look at how you can create a strong business case for implementing technology to help you in your role.

    Benefits of using a software to manage MAR-requirements

    The key advantages of using specialised software are saving time, reducing risk and, as a by-product, elevating the role of the company secretary:

    • Save time: Having all MAR-related information in one place and optimising your processes, for example by collecting personal information from insiders via an online form and automating reminders saves a significant amount of time and effort compared to manual processes using different systems. Finding and downloading relevant information can be done at the click of a button.
    • Risk mitigation: Software can do the compliance for you, providing peace of mind. For example, automated versioning with every change to an insider list as required by MAR (when using a spreadsheet it can be easy to forget to save a new version following a change).
    • Elevate the role of the company secretary: The company secretary role has historically suffered from the perception of being more of an administrative position. This is of course changing. Be a change maker. Think about the knock-on effects of automation and what you’ll be able to focus on with the time saved. What are your KPIs? What are you assessed on at your performance reviews?

    How can you get buy-in from senior management for a software solution?

    What’s important to your CFO (or equivalent decision maker)? How do they want to be seen in the company? What are their KPIs? What drives them – pure financials or do they also look at increasing efficiency and reducing risk across the organisation? Think about your relationship with them and see if you can find a ‘way in’.

    CFO’s are numbers people so talk in their language. Have a think about how much time is spent on putting project lists together, informing insiders of their obligations, tracking who has/hasn’t confirmed, chasing those who haven’t, version control and any other aspects of managing your lists that take up your time. Saving this time would allow you to focus more time and energy on more strategic aspects of your role for example improving the way board packs are put together or putting together a strategic report.

    The literal time spent is one thing but also risk reduction. That nagging feeling in the back of your mind wondering if you clicked ‘save’ instead of ‘save as’. Carry out a stress test. If the FCA came calling for your insider list on any date, would you be able to provide the data, would it be accurate and how long would it take to pull together the information?

    Ultimately, you will need to put together a strong business case. This should include: the benefits of the system, the risk (and potential cost) of not having it, what your peers are doing and the cost. Finding the time to do this isn’t always easy which leads to delays in implementing a system that can help you.

    At this stage there are two ways you can ask a provider to help. The first is asking one of them to pull a business case together for you, we often do this for clients. They will have all of the relevant information. You’ll then have a draft that you can work on, saving you a significant amount of time.

    The second is asking them for a free trial of the software to see how it would fit into your organisation. You can then take the results in terms of time-saving and risk reduction and integrate them into your business case as proof to your CFO that it would improve your performance.

    Conclusion

    Elevating the role of the company secretary by creating positive change within your organisation will not only benefit you, but will pave the way for the next generation. Just because a process has always been done in a certain way or a lot of time and effort has been spent creating a (sub-optimal) internal system or process, doesn’t mean it should continue to be done like that.

    Make the company secretariat a well-oiled machine that brings positive change through the use of technology.

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    Adam Kulesza
    Adam Kulesza

    Business Development Manager – EQS Group | Adam is working as Business Development Manager in our London office.

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