Press Release 3 minute read

Compliance professionals move centre stage and face growing workload - report

06 November 2019

As compliance demands grow, the role of the company secretary is becoming increasingly crucial, according to a new report by TMF Group, a leading global provider of administrative support services.

Conquering The Complexity Of Local And Global Compliance’ is part of the 2019 Global Business Complexity Index which analysed 76 different jurisdictions worldwide in terms of ease of doing business. The report found that while only a quarter of jurisdictions worldwide require a company secretary by law, an increasing amount of companies choose to fill the role due to high compliance workloads. In a clear majority of jurisdictions (69%) company secretaries’ responsibilities are predicted to grow within the next five years.

The report’s key findings include:

  • The most difficult places to incorporate a company are often in Asia. 36% of Asia-Pacific jurisdictions do not have straightforward incorporation procedures, compared to a figure of 24% in EMEA and 21% in the Americas. Jurisdictions where it takes more than four full months to incorporate a business include Bolivia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Jamaica, The Philippines, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
  • Opening a bank account can be a surprisingly lengthy process for overseas firms. 95% of jurisdictions report the task has become a long drawn-out process, with just Chile, the Dominican Republic, The Netherlands and Nicaragua allowing a swift set-up. 
  • Many countries are speeding up the incorporation process by digitising it. In EMEA, 84% of jurisdictions surveyed permit or require electronic document submission, compared to 61% in the Americas and 50% in APAC.
  • There has been a spate of supranational compliance initiatives designed to increase transparency, and these are fast becoming globally accepted. For instance, the Common Reporting Standard – where participating jurisdictions agree to share information about foreign nationals residing in their territory in exchange for information on their own citizens residing abroad – has been taken up by 83% of jurisdictions surveyed. Ultimate Beneficial Owner, a register which complements these initiatives, operates in 64% of global jurisdictions.

Leila Szwarc, TMF Group’s Global Head of Compliance & Strategic Regulatory Services, said: "Compliance is an important strategic consideration for multinationals. Failure to comply can result in regulatory ‘bite’ as both national and international regulators enforce greater penalties. Compliance has become a financial and reputational exercise.

“The role of the company secretary is changing as part of this greater emphasis and complexity. Beyond this, companies must take a holistic approach and recognise that compliance demands both a global strategy and local knowledge. More and more companies are seeking assistance in developing such frameworks, particularly in jurisdictions where amassing the required knowledge and expertise is particularly challenging. Companies that recognise where they need support and address what is involved, are best placed to thrive in this increasingly complex world of rules, regulations and penalties.”

Download the Report

For more information, please contact:

Damian Kerr, Director of Corporate Communications
+44 7587 212 926

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