In the ACT we have a wide range of stakeholders and we try to ensure their interests always have a major influence on our actions and our priorities. Our stakeholders are diverse, ranging from new candidates for our qualifications through to members who remain with us well into portfolio careers or full retirement; but there are many other stakeholder groups, a key one of which includes the large number of members who are mid-career and have expectations of the ACT that go beyond what may have begun with a relatively narrow view of the treasury profession.
What follows is about some but not all of our stakeholders. In no particular order I want to share thoughts about what focus groups have been telling us, the upcoming elections for Council, the external financial environment and the ACT’s retired members.
I mentioned last month that we have run a series of focus group discussions with members and non-members. We are still analysing the valuable discussion, with all the brickbats and the praise. There are however some clear messages, which I would loosely characterise as concern over the effectiveness of the ACT’s profile. This is expressed in terms such as awareness of the ACT, the visibility of our influencing activity and the seriousness of our international footprint. We take this feedback seriously: even if we may feel that some of the points are fully embraced within the strategy we are implementing, the nature of the feedback tells us that we still have an issue over how we communicate.
Our members overall – a key stakeholder group – have the opportunity through the Council elections to decide the composition of our Council. This year there are five outstanding candidates for the three vacancies – a healthily democratic position even if it means that I will be disappointed not to have two of the five join the existing group of our ‘non-executive directors’. Council plays a real role in shaping the ACT’s direction and strategy and I encourage all members to vote – you can do so by returning the ballot paper (which will reach you shortly) through Freepost or go online.
One wider view of our stakeholders includes those working in the financial sector; our qualifications contribute extensively to the professional education of bankers and our members in the corporate sector have complex relationships with financial institutions across a range of markets and products. An interesting ‘Ask the Experts’ piece in the March edition of The Treasurer makes some challenging observations on how current market conditions may be changing treasurer/banker relationships. At the ACT our Policy and Technical team of John Grout, Martin O’Donovan and Peter Matza are following how borrowers are being affected by the changing market and welcome input (even if anecdotal) on conditions; they can be reached on email@example.com
Whilst our members who are either fully retired or easing themselves into retirement through a portfolio existence are small in number relative to the total membership, I consider it important that we retain their interest in what we do. In late February we held the second of our lunches for retired members and it was over-subscribed. Our current President Malcolm Cooper gave a brief overview of what the ACT is up to and shared some of his current experience in debt markets; I think many of those listening were relieved that in their professional careers they had not had to face such volatile conditions. We will continue to arrange such lunches periodically and remain keen to hear the views of retired members on what else the ACT can do to reinforce the value of their membership.
The ACT’s Annual Conference (28 – 30 April) is attracting strong support and in closing I encourage you to consider joining us in Edinburgh – we have excellent speakers participating in the panels and delivering the keynote addresses. You can book online | here.