Monday, February 26, 2024

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NED programme to provide “fresh blood” to Guernsey boards

The Non-Executive Director (NED) Development Programme in Guernsey will help to offer “fresh blood” to the jurisdiction’s director community, including for captive boards, according to Nick Wild, founding member and honorary secretary of Sagacious Group.

“We always need to have some sort of fresh blood in the area,” Wild said.

The NED programme is an initiative from the GTA University Centre that introduces potential new non-executive directors to board environments, as a means of providing knowledge and experience as a non-executive director.

“It also lets them see whether this is actually something that they want to do in the future,” Wild said.

Wild, who has had long career in captive management in Guernsey with JLT and International Risk Management Group, highlighted how a lot of current board members in Guernsey are retired from banking, accounting, legal firms, or the insurance sector itself.

“There’s only so long they can continue to serve,” he added. “Some of them have substantial numbers of directorships, so they’re going to have to relinquish those at some point.”

In Guernsey, a captive insurer is required to have at least one independent non-executive director.

In December 2022, a GCP Short featuring Zurich’s Paul Wöhrmann, two captive owners and serving NEDs in Guernsey, Luxembourg and Switzerland outlined the value of outside board directors and what makes an effective one.

In that discussion Malcolm Cutts-Watson recognised that the appointments and recruitment of them is becoming more professional and thorough.

“What I’m seeing now is a move to a more professional way of recruiting outside directors and I would say it’s a transparent and objective process that is defensible so that if you are challenged you can demonstrate why you have appointed a particular candidate,” Cutts-Watson said.

Wild also noted the business environment is changing, and how some of the long-standing directors have found this difficult.

“With what’s happened with Covid in terms of changing the way businesses interact and boards work together, some of the longer standing directors have found that quite challenging,” he said.

Wild noted that he mentored two people through a full year of the process last year, and that he has another two in 2023.

The people Wild mentored last year were placed on two different insurance boards, resulting in “two very different outcomes”.

“One absolutely loved it, and indeed the client really liked them,” he said. “And we’ve now moved to appoint that individual as an alternate director on the board.”

Wild said the other candidate looked at the role for 12 months and decided that it wasn’t something they felt comfortable with and as a result, decided to take a different path with their career.

“I’m happy with both of those outcomes because the individual who was unsure about it all has not put themselves in a difficult position taking on a directorship role that they didn’t feel comfortable with,” Wild added.

For more information on the NED Development Programme, click here.