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More company secretaries, fewer lawyers?

  • August 25th, 2014

A well written UK promotion of the role of a company secretary reminds me that in our 1993 company law reformulation we lost the compulsion to have someone nominated to do the necessary.

The article summarises the contribution good company secretaries make. Experienced ones become the indispensable spider in the centre of the communication web within a company, holding corporate memory through successive CEO regimes.

I was convenor of the NZ Law Society Commercial and Business Law Committee around that time. I tried unsuccessfully to persuade my colleagues to urge retention of both company secretaries and the (non compulsory) standard form constitution examples that were then a feature of our company law.

I argued that they were both pragmaticly inspired reflections of experience. Assigning responsibilities to a Board is assigning it to a collective. Collectives are commonly problematic owners of property.  What is everybodies' business becomes nobody's business.

Few duties get performed unless someone specific is tasked with them, and it is often efficient to have a standing delegation of a range of recurring tasks to professional 'sweeper upper' with substantial clout in a company.

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