Mon 9 Oct 2017
News - The Essentials-Luxembourg - Read the interview of Anthony Smith-Meyer - course moderator
The Essentials-Luxembourg has become a must in the Education Program for Directors. This year, based on the comments of previous participants, the program has been reshaped to better match with the expectations. Mr Anthony Smith-Meyer, our moderator, is sharing his views with us:

Anthony, you are the moderator for “The Essentials Luxembourg” training seminars organised by ILA. Can you explain what this seminar is about?
The ILA Essentials course is, in my experience, somewhat unique. Designed to fit in with the overall ILA Directorship Certification programme, the intention is to enable participants to take the global learnings gained from our programme partners at INSEAD, the Institute of Directors in London, Guberna in Brussels and IFA in Paris and consider these in the context of the Grand Duchy. To know the general principles and demands of fulfilling the duties of a company director is a demanding and necessary achievement if we are to professionalise this role – Our partner learning institutions do a fantastic job in getting this message across. However, we must also get practical. What does it mean to be a director in Luxembourg? What are the laws we must ensure our companies adhere to? What are the legal requirements and regulatory expectations placed on directors in Luxembourg?
This course is intended to provide prospective and current directors with the opportunity to engage with colleagues, and interact with both academic experts and experienced business men and women to explore, discover and find answers to the many-varied challenges that face our directors in the field, every day.

What are the main contents and the highlights of those two-and-a-half days trainings?
We work together with the University of Luxembourg, and have contributions from professional firms, accounting and tax experts, our financial sector regulator, the CSSF, and experienced, independent professionals like Raymond Schadeck and myself. This is all about rolling up our sleeves and evaluating the real world - Luxembourg - application of what we do. In doing so, we have to have a fair introduction to the law as it impacts the companies for which we are responsible, as well as our own actions and duties. We need to understand the views of our regulators, the intended outcome of their initiatives if we are to satisfactorily meet their expectations – in short, we need to understand their expectations – all these issues pertain to the local jurisdiction in which you operate; in our case, the Grand Duchy.

Which are the lectures that raise questions? What are the main concerns that these questions reveal?
Is there any lecture that does not raise questions? We have worked hard over recent months to re-vitalise both context and conduct of our modules. We have sought to lean ever closer to a practical treatment of our various topics and to increase the interactivity of our sessions. If you allow me, I would like to tip my hat in recognition of the willingness and cooperation of our various lecturers in this exercise. In our last course we noted a substantial increase in interactivity with our participants in every session – with a noticeable increase in the enthusiasm of immediate feedback.
The execution of director duties is not straightforward; anyone who thinks it might be a box-ticking, no-risk enterprise really needs to think again. It is full of dilemmas and hard choices – that is what we try to emphasise to our participants. If it is a matter of right or wrong, it is not really a matter for the board – our subject matter is the exercise of good judgement, and reaching good decisions from confused or insufficient information.

Did you get some feedback on some new trainings that directors would like ILA to develop?
The Essentials course whets the appetite! There are always post-lecture questions relating to a particular situation or dilemma confronting participants, or issues raised by the various topics that participants would love to explore a little further. I think ILA has developed a pretty good array of course and sessions that enable a more detailed look each of the topics covered in these two and a half days – notably my own course on the Role of the Non-Executive Director, which we introduced in 2015, where we take many of the issue we start to discuss in two hours in Essentials and expand this to a one day course and a half day workshop. Whether you want to explore what is expected, or what the potential contribution of a NED might be, or if you want to explore the value of introducing an independent director on the a given board – we try to look at all the angles and answer the questions.
Many in Luxembourg are involved in the funds industry. The Essentials course is a universal course. ILA provides further guidance and courses that delve deeper into the particularities of this sector and are always open to enquiries and suggestions. The Education Committee is very active and dynamic.

“The Essentials Luxembourg” is a prerequisite for directors who apply to the ILA Certification for Directors, do all participants attend this seminar in the framework of their certification process?
Many do – obviously. But there are also a number of participants who take this course as an introduction to what is meant by “professionalization of the role” as director. It isn’t immediately obvious to many what it meant, and to attend this course – especially experienced directors without formal training in the role – can be something of an eye-opener. We certainly try to make sure that those who come on the course come away with something to think about. I have yet to have the feedback that any topic lectured on is “too easy”, unless the topic relates to one’s professional specialisation, such as a company lawyer on company law, or a chartered accountant on Accountancy. I honestly feel that everyone who exercises the role of a director in Luxembourg should attend this course as a minimum.

More information on the upcoming session are available here

About Anthony Smith-Meyer: Anthony is a specialist within Governance and Compliance matters relating to organisational behaviour. He is founder and Editor-in-Chief of the new Journal of Business Compliance together with Baltzer Science Publishers. Anthony holds the Institute of Directors Diploma in Corporate Direction, is an ILA Certified Director and is a independent lecturer, trainer, coach and advisor in matters relating to Corporate Governance and Compliance.