Two years of promoting good governance

Two years ago, in June 2020, NOUV launched GETGOVERNANZ, an initiative that promotes good and sound corporate governance among the private and public sectors. Two years down the line, Andrew Naudi explains how what started as a CSR initiative, today has evolved into a veritable business operation.

What triggered NOUV to launch GetGovernanz?

As a catalyst for change and a young firm that always wanted to do things differently, we always sought to operate properly and above board. We believe that good corporate governance is a key principle that should be embraced by all organisations and institutions, private or public. Upon setting up GetGovernanz, we based the initiative on the three main pillars of accountability, transparency, and the rule of law.

Given that your role at NOUV is of Technology Partner, how did you get involved in the running of GetGovernanz?

After starting off as a software developer, I became a business analyst, and project manager and eventually served as Chief for Programme Management and Information Systems at the Malta Gaming Authority where I delivered the Authority’s strategy and IT implementation where I also oversaw the redrafting and enactment of the new Gaming Act and all subsidiary legislation including AML and Compliance related guidelines for the local iGaming industry.

Today I specialise in IT, Project Management, IT Service Delivery and Regulatory matters. I have developed an affinity with the latter theme and experience taught me how good corporate governance instils proper ethics within organisations, by ensuring all matters are effectively managed and brought to fruition. My passion for governance kept growing especially after watching failures in organisations where governance was not given priority.

They say there is a cost to corruption…

Most definitely. The American Anti-Corruption Institute (AACI) with whom we have set up GetGovernanz stated that there are many countries without formal corruption prevention policies and that the average annual corruption costs as a percentage of gross revenues stand in the region of 15 per cent in developing countries and 7 per cent in developed countries. But beyond the cost of corruption, GetGovernanz seeks to stimulate cultural change by providing private and public institutions with the necessary tools to implement a good governance framework to mitigate corruption.

How has GetGovernanz been seeking to ‘instil recognition that good governance, transparency, accountability and rule of law are necessary values for a better economy and a fairer society’ over the past two years?

Over the past couple of years, we have enhanced our training offering in these areas and also strengthened the team with seasoned and experienced consultants that can provide invaluable expertise to organisations by implementing good corporate governance through governance assessments, participation in boards and assurance services in the sphere of corporate governance.

GetGovernanz was set up in collaboration with the American Anti-Corruption Institute (AACI) and the International Due Diligence Organisation (IDDO). Is this collaboration still ongoing and how did this contribute to GG’s success?

The collaboration is indeed still ongoing, primarily with our academy where we have run a number of courses in Anti-Corruption, Due Diligence, and corporate governance. We have recently also partnered with the Corporate Governance Institute from Ireland to offer training services in corporate governance, ESG for Directors and how to be an effective company secretary. Having said that, our services arm in governance, risk and compliance has grown considerably over the past two years having implemented governance assessments, risk audits, internal audits and AML/CFT audit for a number of large and smaller organisations.

What was the outcome of GetGovernanz’s collaboration with Malta Chamber?

Today we sit on the Corporate Governance Committee of the Malta Chamber, a horizontal policy committee set up to draw on the work of the Chamber’s Economic Groups to develop policy in key areas relating to corporate governance, integrity, and ethical business. These opinions are objective, research-based and in conformity with the principles of the wider interests of the business community in general.

For the past two years, you have been offering training programmes on internal audit, good corporate governance, anti-corruption, fraud awareness, due diligence, and anti-money laundering. Who were the typical attendees to these courses and what were the main outcomes?

We had a vast range of attendees for these courses, ranging from regulators to board members and directors who wanted to learn more about governance and how good corporate governance can be implemented in their respective organisations. The feedback received was extremely positive. While good corporate governance may be taken for granted in certain instances, the main outcome of such courses is to identify the current commitment one has to governance and therefore identify potential gaps in their current setup.

Today, GetGovernanz has evolved into a fully-fledged Governance, Risk and Compliance firm. What does this mean?

GetGovernanz today is one of the three pillars on which NOUV is built. It offers advisory services that focus on assisting organisations as they establish governance policy, procedures, internal controls, monitoring, and reporting mechanisms – essential for any company that wants to embrace business ethics, comply with local and international laws and respect social norms. And as businesses face constant change and uncertainty, identifying and managing risk becomes more critical. But while managing risk should not be limited to risk management tools, our commitment remains to instil recognition that accountability, transparency and internal controls are essential for any effective corporate governance framework.

Malta has just been struck off the FATF grey list. How have you personally lived this past year, and do you really think the country has learned its lesson?

Malta being struck off the grey list was obviously welcoming news, but now, the country needs to rebuild and regain trust as a reputable financial services centre. We must not lower our guard but continue in our quest to be compliant to ensure the country maintains high levels of transparency, accountability, and rule of law. We need to focus on two key areas namely education that nurtures knowledge and appreciation for good governance and a relentless drive to adopt good governance principles.

Andrew Naudi, Technology Partner at NOUV and Director of GetGovernanz.