HONG KONG – (ACN Newswire) – New global research taking the “pulse” of board directors around the world shows directors are most concerned about the “poverty or income inequality” facing their countries.
The findings from the inaugural Global Director Survey 2018 conducted by the Global Network of Director Institutes (“GNDI”) are released by The Hong Kong Institute of Directors (“HKIoD”) at its annual Directors’ Symposium on Thursday 20 September 2018, with an attendance of over 200 directors and leaders of companies at the HKEX Connect Hall.
On the same date, GNDI releases the survey findings around the world. Established in 2012, GNDI is a worldwide alliance of premier bodies of directors in various jurisdictions working together to promote good corporate governance and director professionalism. Currently, GNDI has 21 member institutes, including HKIoD, representing 130,000 directors globally. These figures are increasing as GNDI continually expands.
“This international survey is significant, and the first time the Global Network of Director Institutes has taken the pulse of directors worldwide,” said GNDI Chair Angela Cherrington, who is also chief executive of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. “We are pleased to have had a massive response to the survey – 2,159 directors from 17 countries participated. Most of them sit on multiple boards, which means they have wide experience and broad insights.”
Chairman of HKIoD Henry Lai, noted, “The 2018 GNDI Global Director Survey provides snapshots on the global landscape of corporate governance and director practices. It is timely for directors’ reference, reflection and action, particularly when we are living in a rapidly changing world.” HKIoD has adopted the theme of “Leadership in Times of Changes” for its major annual projects this year, including Directors Of The Year Awards, in its 18th annual run, and Directors’ Symposium.
In the global findings of the survey, social and economic concerns of “poverty or income inequality” were important for 45% of directors. Within the global picture, regional findings showed “poverty or income inequality” were most concerning for respondents in Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Taxation was the biggest concern for directors in the Americas. Directors in Europe were most concerned about the cost of healthcare.
CEO of HKIoD Dr Carlye Tsui, who is also a member of the GNDI Executive Committee, revealed that Hong Kong directors also responded to the survey, “From the Hong Kong subset of the survey findings, the concerns of directors ranked housing as the highest social and economic problem, followed by “poverty or income inequality” and cost of healthcare. This is reflecting the realistic picture.”
Directors largely confident about business
In spite of the above concerns, the survey found directors in general confident about business prospects, with 45% of directors “mostly” or “very confident” about prospects for growth over the coming year. Another 36% were “moderately confident”. Private and listed companies were more confident than non-profit-distributing and government organisations.
Carlye Tsui said, “Within the global picture, subset findings show that Hong Kong directors are more conservative in their business confidence than the global aggregate views, with 33% ‘mostly’ or ‘very confident’ and 49% ‘moderately confident’.”
Big Data as top disruptor
On board focus, this first Global Director Survey found that 63% of directors from around the world regarded Big Data as the top technological disruptor to their companies. The survey found that although Big Data is regarded very important on the governance radar, many boards are not taking advantage of Big Data to improve effectiveness, boost performance, mitigate risks and improve data privacy.
Henry Lai noted, “There is large amount of data with potentials to be mined for information and analysed to aid decision making, thus yielding immense benefit. Companies should make good use of BIG DATA. At the same time, they should manage data properly, eg building cyber security and respecting data privacy. Boards of directors have a leadership and oversight role in data governance.”
According to the survey, 61% of directors had good or excellent understanding of their organisation’s data privacy practices, 37% felt they had limited or no understanding. Just over half (53%) of directors surveyed believed their boards understood cybersecurity and cyber-risks to their companies.
Carlye Tsui sees the need to enhance directors’ knowledge, skills and commitment in data governance: “A crucial factor in director competence is the pursuit of continuing professional development. At HKIoD, we continually update our education and training programmes to help directors keep up with the pace of the business world, particularly in this age of digital disruption.”
On disruption, Carlye Tsui has some positive views and said, “Disruption is sometimes looked upon negatively. In reflection, the new digital order calls for timely re-evaluation of business models and transformation. Today, we see many disruptions and hence different big challenges, such as a trade war, nature’s climate warning, upsurge of innovation and technology. Directors’ leadership in enterprise and governance is the key driver for companies to face challenges and take advantage of opportunities.”
The Global Director Survey ran over six weeks from mid-May to end of June 2018. It provides wide-ranging insights and perceptions by directors on the topics of social and economic issues, business confidence, areas of focus by boards, environmental, social and governance issues and technology and information governance. It was carried out by the Institute of Directors in New Zealand on behalf of GNDI.
A full version of the report is available here:
GNDI Global Director Survey 2018 (http://www.hkiod.com/GNDI_Survey_2018.pdf)
Released by The Hong Kong Institute of Directors
About The Hong Kong Institute of Directors
The Hong Kong Institute of Directors is Hong Kong’s premier body representing directors to foster the long-term success of companies through advocacy and standards-setting in corporate governance and professional development for directors. A non-profit-distributing organisation with membership consisting of directors from listed and non-listed companies, HKIoD is committed to providing directors with educational programmes and information service and establishing an influential voice in representing directors. With international perspectives and a multi-cultural environment, HKIoD conducts business in biliteracy and trilingualism. Website: http://www.hkiod.com.
About the Global Network of Directors Institutes (“GNDI”)
Established in 2012, the Global Network of Director Institutes is an international network of director institutes to foster closer cooperation between its members, who are each recognised as the primary institute for directors and governance in their respective country or jurisdiction. Currently, GNDI has 21 member institutes, including HKIoD, representing 130,000 directors globally. These figures are increasing as GNDI continually expands. Website: http://www.gndi.org
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