Corporate Governance Awards | Access Bank STRATEGIC VISION Maintaining a robust corporate governance system is a crucial target for Access Bank
AWARDS WINNER AFRICA 2019 FINANCIAL SERVICES
Most successful institutions globally depend on corporate governance – a framework that speciﬁes rules and practices through directors to ensure accountability, fairness and transparency in a company’s relationship with all stakeholders. Consequently, there is a distribution of responsibilities, rights and rewards, including procedures that would reconcile possible conflicting interests of stakeholders, especially in relation to duties, privileges, roles and information flow, to serve as a system of checks and balances. Currently, Access Bank Plc operates as a full service commercial banking group, with a network over 600 branches and service outlets located in major centres across Nigeria and subsidiaries in seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, with representative offices in China, Lebanon, India and the UAE. Access Bank’s corporate governance is founded on key pillars of accountability, responsibility, transparency, independence, fairness and discipline. Our corporate governance framework is designed to deliver good corporate governance, aligning management’s actions with the interests of shareholders while ensuring appropriate balance with the interests of other stakeholders. 88 Ethical Boardroom | Spring 2019
Practising good corporate governance for building sustainable, responsible businesses Sunday Ekwochi
Company Secretary at Access Bank With the board recognising that effective governance is a key to superior performance and sustainable prosperity, the system ensures on-going compliance with the Bank’s governance charter and relevant codes of corporate governance, including the post listing requirements of the stock exchanges where the Bank’s securities are listed.
Our building blocks
Today’s boards are required to be actively engaged, more knowledgeable and more effective than in the past as they confront myriad risks and challenges. Even with previous challenges in Nigeria, such as prevalent corrupt practices, unregulated ownership structure, non-compliance with stipulated codes and others, the need for an acceptable and relatable public reputation has led to the emergence of codes and ethical practices that have boosted investors’ confidence.
Increasingly, stakeholders’ expectations from the board are rising and the board must set its strategic priorities across diverse business segments and monitor the group’s risk profi le. The board ensures that corporate governance is not a mere box-ticking exercise by setting the right ethical tone from the top. Th is is achieved through composition, continuous training and a rigorous evaluation process, facilitated by an external and independent consultant. In the discharge of its oversight functions, the board continuously engages management in the planning, definition and execution of the group’s strategy. The board, in line with the Access Bank’s strategic planning process, holds an annual board retreat where the strategy for the upcoming year is rigorously debated and agreed between management and the board. Management provides the board with a quarterly update on implementation of the strategy, affording the board the opportunity to critique the management’s performance and access significant risk issues as well as mitigating controls implemented. The roles of the chairman and chief executive officer are performed by different individuals to ensure the balance of power and authority and to uphold the principles of good governance. The composition of the board is sufficiently diversified to optimise its performance and deliver sustainable value to www.ethicalboardroom.com