The Audit Committee News informs you about all of the latest trends in its core focus areas of corporate governance, risk management & compliance and corporate reporting. The ACNews features articles penned by experts from Switzerland and many other countries around the world.
Esteemed Board members,
The importance of a good corporate governance cannot be stressed enough. An aspect that is also involved (but not only) is the collaboration between audit committee and audit firm. Wanda Eriksen, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Audit Oversight Authority (FAOA), states that an active collaboration makes all the difference. Here, the dialog between the AC Head and the Leading Auditor is an extremely important aspect, especially as an independent view from the outside. On the other hand, the Audit Committee itself should regularly assess the performance and the fees of the audit firm. Empirical studies that I presented in workshops organized by the FAOA for members of the Board come to the same conclusion. For members of the Board, quality is the most important feature of a good audit firm. Their assessment by the Audit Committee should therefore be a matter of course.
Barbara Heller and Christoph Wenk (SWIPRA), Christophe Volonté (inrate) and Stefan Hostettler (HCM) also look at new developments in the area of corporate governance.
Investors want credible information from companies on such things as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), as the annual SWIPRA Corporate Governance study found out. Most institutional investors wish for a review of the CSR data, although it is not yet clear which aspects would need to be audited for this. Surveys going back several years made by inrate also show that Switzerland has come a long way in the area of corporate governance, also without regulation. Studies conducted by HCM show that sustainability is also gaining in importance when it comes to management compensation. The focus should no longer be on financial profit alone, but on the success of the company as a whole.
The European GDPR has already been highlighted in previous versions of this newsletter. The rules have been applicable since 25 May 2018, also for Swiss companies. Thomas Bolliger reminds us which aspects of this basic ordinance are of importance and informs us on the status quo in Switzerland (especially also at SMEs). Finally, Switzerland had to become active in this aspect and start drafting legislation. In his article on the Swiss data protection law, Jörg Kilchmann shows conclusively the content of the draft of the Swiss federal data protection act published in mid-September.
Wishing you a fascinating read and a happy and prosperous New Year!
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