Tue 10 Nov 2015
News - ILA examines new realities for company directors
On November 10th, ILA, the Luxembourg Institute of Directors, held at the Chamber of Commerce its fourth Directors' Day: one day of conferences and meetings dedicated to directors who gathered more than 200 professionals. No less than 20 sponsors also joined the event to present and give demos of the services they provide to company directors. The common theme of the day was “evolving realities facing directors”, regardless of the specific industry they serve.

Tax changes force businesses to reassess:“Boards of directors need to predict what will be acceptable in five years time” noted Georges Bock of KPMG, speaking about international tax rules. Not only must companies conform to current laws, but they should also be ready for more swift rule changes. “Now that the BEPS project is finalized, the implementation phase will start and is likely to change the tax landscape in most countries.” said Mr. Bock.

Boards of directors are under pressure to make sure their businesses are doing the right thing, and that they can prove that they are doing so. In addition, they must be prepared to react to new circumstances. Mr. Bock said firms need sufficient business activity in Luxembourg, and that the way multinationals trade internally must be demonstrably fair: "Companies need to have easily understandable and thorough documentation in place when it comes to substance and transfer pricing.

The conference featured other presentations on a range of topics: There were insights of the latest regulatory thinking of the local supervisory authority, the CSSF, by Nadia Manzari. She advised all boards to adopt best practice even if there was no legal requirement to do so. She suggested this made good business sense as well as helping to reduce the pressure on politicians to regulate.

Increased threats of cyber-attack are real issues for directors: businesses rely increasingly on the cloud and cyber criminals are becoming more professional, explained Laurent de la Vaissière and Guilhem Ros of Deloitte. For example, sophisticated crooks are also using social media to collect key personal details which are then used to trick unwary directors into revealing highly sensitive information.

Another presentation discussed how non-profit organisations also need solid governance structures. A recently created ILA working group has established best practice rules to make sure charities, foundations and associations act as they should, explained Diane Wolter of the Banque de Luxembourg and Marjolijne Frieden-Droogleever Fortuyn, chair of SOS Villages d’Enfants Monde, Luxembourg.

This varied range of topics highlights the increasing demands on corporate governance, a fact reflected in the ILA's booming popularity: chairman Raymond Schadeck announced that there are now more than 1,000 members, establishing that ILA is achieving its ambition to become “the premier interlocutor in Luxembourg on all matters related to governance”.

According to its now well-established tradition, the day closed with the award ceremony to 14 new ILA Certified Directors and a celebration cocktail in a friendly atmosphere.