All publicly listed organisations (PLC) are legally required to have a designated company secretary and most often the size of these organisation dictates that a team of company secretaries are in place. Listed organisations face extra regulations and scrutiny such as Market Abuse Regulations, Insider Lists, Listing Regulations and Disclosure and Transparency statements.
PLC and designated company secretaries
Many company secretaries have worked in PLC environments and are well versed in the needs of such organisations. At the most senior level it is vital that your company secretary has extensive knowledge of PLC requirements and has a demonstrable track-record in catering to those needs.
At a more junior level, especially if a team is in place, it can be beneficial to look to those with the correct skill set without PLC experience who can be trained and developed. Many company secretaries seek this experience.
On occasion, some company secretaries in the listed environment will administrate the share scheme or more commonly, liaise with external providers who undertake this work.
The role of the company secretary in AIM listed companies
AIM is the London Stock Exchange’s international market for smaller growing companies. A wide range of businesses including early stage, venture capital backed as well as more established companies join AIM seeking access to growth capital.
Unlike companies with premium and standard listings, AIM companies are not required to comply with the UK Corporate Governance Code, however many AIM companies choose to apply as much of the code as practicable.
The most recent update from the London Stock Exchange now requires AIM listed companies to follow a recognised corporate governance code and to disclose on their website details of the corporate governance code that has been applied.
Depending on the size of the company and its structure, team sizes vary hugely. Some large PLCs will have Co-Sec teams of 20+ members, others may have just 3 or 4. Often, this will be made up of a Co-Sec (sometimes a dual role as General Counsel), Deputy Co-Sec, Assistant Co-Sec and Co-Sec Assistant.
In some cases, there may be more than one of these roles, most often at Assistant Co-Sec and Co-Sec Assistant level in order to cover different areas of need. This is very much dependant on the number of subsidiary companies and sector of the organisation. For example, a FTSE 100 company within the financial sector may have a more complex structure and therefore require a larger Co-Sec provision in order to cater for that.