The role has often been misunderstood, but new research shines a light on its emerging strategic importance within Iberian companies
Secretaries of the Board have often been perceived as a senior administration business function, ensuring a company meets its statutory and regulatory obligations. This perception is more a misconception, however, as new research from Iberian Lawyer’s In-House Club and ICH Legal exposes a much more strategic remit for Secretaries within the IBEX 35 and Spain’s listed companies.
While it is true that the majority of Secretaries are still charged with company issues related to market regulator, CNMV, their role within businesses covers a wide variety of other responsibilities. Secretaries now have expanded their remit and regularly contribute to financial statements, annual reports and general meetings, remuneration, drafting and even speech-writing.
“This is a job with many pressures and the findings of the survey will provide a fascinating snapshot into the structure and evolution of this strategic role,” says Iñigo Cisneros, Managing Partner of ICH Legal. “There remains a certain mystery over the extent of the Secretary of the Board’s role but, in reality, it is very diverse.”
The larger role is reflected in the fact that few Secretaries are lone operators. Almost all head-up a team of three or more and also have a great deal of power over budgets; around 80 percent of Secretaries have managed a budget of around €750,000 last financial year.
Secretaries also have to manage an increasingly complicated and assorted portfolio of matters for different business units. The bulk of respondents to the research said that they are expected to multi-task their duties across numerous businesses within a group. Only 38 percent said they perform their duties within a single company.
There is also a great deal of divergence and diversity within the job, for example, when it comes to pay and remit between internal and external Secretaries. The majority of Secretaries are employees and their salary is, on average, more than a quarter higher than external Secretaries. And despite the expanded workload, the average Iberian Secretaries earn less than their Anglo-Saxon peers. More than half of those questioned said they earn below €200,000, which is the UK and US average.
“A Secretary has to manage people, budgets and companies bringing new demands on the job,” Cisneros adds. “The research has found that they often remain totally separate from their in-house legal department. So, it is important for law firms to understand the main priorities that a Secretary is dealing with because of their increasingly important role within businesses.”
The full research will be published later this year. If you are interested in receiving the complete research findings, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org