In collaboration with the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa, the JSE has introduced training programmes on King IV for listed companies


According to Carol Crozier, Company Services Manager of the JSE, ‘the close working relationship and collaboration that the bourse shares with the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa [IoDSA] ensures the independent governance training offered by the JSE is on target and comprehensive, especially regarding the governance update that has morphed King III into King IV’. So much so, the collaboration has resulted in Ansie Ramalho, former King IV project lead, being appointed as facilitator of the training programme.

‘Ramalho brings with her a wealth of governance knowledge as well as in-depth thinking behind King IV. As such, we are providing not just a practical overview of the King IV Report but also the philosophical thinking behind it,’ says Parmi Natesan, executive director of the Centre for Corporate Governance at the IoDSA.

The collaboration between the JSE and the IoDSA in providing governance training is, however, not a new venture. Over the past years, they have undertaken training programmes for all new directors of companies listed on the exchange’s AltX. With the JSE recently adding to the IoDSA’s existing training programmes, Natesan says more than 1 000 delegates have already been given training on King IV.

‘This is in line with just how important it is to embrace the new governance thinking,’ she says. Crozier adds that the majority of attendees at the JSE venue have so far been from banks, and that the response has been very positive.

While many listed companies have adapted to integrated reporting (including the top five winners of the Nkonki Integrated Reporting Awards, namely ArcelorMittal, Barloworld, Nampak, Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Nedbank), the JSE and the IoDSA feel the focus on producing a quality integrated report is likely to be heightened with King IV – and this in turn highlights the importance of integrated thinking and reporting.

Crozier argues, however, that more can still be achieved in terms of innovative and creative reporting styles. EY, hosts of the EY Excellence in Integrated Reporting Awards, also suggests that there’s too much emphasis on financial performance and not enough on strategy and value creation.

‘They are saying that there is a lack of meaningful KPIs and a tendency to focus on compliance and positive issues, rather than more balanced reporting,’ says Corli le Roux, JSE Head of Sustainability.

The challenges most listed companies face include how to better reflect the way integrated thinking is practiced in the business; improvements to the value creation information in the governance section of the report; disclosure of strategic objectives and performance against them; and a better understanding of value creation.

‘However, what we are seeing is that the integrated reports of many listed companies are much better than their earlier counterparts – and this is a reflection of their commitment, experience, understanding and improved information systems,’ according to Le Roux.

The JSE/IoDSA partnership will also be training directors of listed companies under the facilitation of Leigh Roberts, a leading expert on integrated reporting in SA.

For companies that have yet to adapt to best practice, Crozier says the most valuable knowledge can be gained via the Companies Act, JSE listings requirements, King IV Report on Corporate Governance and ‘of course, our training programme’.

By Kerry Dimmer
Image: iStock