Sara Bourne, FCG
Sara Bourne, FCG is a chartered governance professional from Guernsey and is Deputy Managing Director and Head of Risk and Compliance at Carey – a financial services provider with expertise in corporate services, fund services and private wealth.
What is governance?
A typical day in the life of a governance professional
To start with, Sara shares that there is no typical day in the profession of governance because of the wide variety of activities and responsibilities that are involved.
For example, when working as a company secretary on listed funds, Sara describes how every day was different and involved managing the administration of board, committee and shareholder meetings; advising the board on corporate governance, company law and listing rules; assisting in board evaluations; reporting; liaising with a number of stakeholders. In her current role, Sara gets involved with the overall business at Carey as deputy managing director on a variety of different levels. This includes as a Director on group boards, as Chair of the Operations and High-Risk Business Committees, as well as in shaping governance and in strategy and risk appetite. As Head of Risk and Compliance, she drives the strategy and plan in relation to risk and compliance delivery - supporting the team and working towards achieving outcomes that meet regulation and align with the commercial side of the business.
As a governance professional, no day is ‘normal’.
Being proactive, organised and assertive are essential skills for success in governance.
The route to a career in governance
Sara started out in the finance industry in Guernsey, having completed some secretarial work at a bank prior to having children. Having decided to re-join financial services, Sara accepted a role as a Corporate Assistant for a fund services company, and this is where she began her journey in governance. Learning a great amount from the company secretary; within six months, Sara believes she had a good understanding of her governance role before starting her exams at The Chartered Governance Institute, which enhanced her understanding of a wide range of topics.
Sara then moved roles to RBSI Fund Services where she was Head of Company Secretariat. Sara also completed an MSc in corporate governance, which also meant she became a GradCG with the Institute. Following a takeover of RBSI Fund Services by BNP Paribas, the role developed, and in addition, Sara took on the role of Head of Outsourcing.
Seven years ago, Sara joined Carey as a Corporate Director and went on to become Head of the Corporate team. She also led the funds team during a restructure. Sara became deputy managing director in 2017. Ongoing professional development is important to Sara. She recently completed the International Compliance Association’s postgraduate diploma in governance, risk and compliance to support the compliance and risk aspects of her current role.
The essential skill for success in governance
Sara believes that being proactive, organised and assertive are essential skills for success in governance. This is because governance professionals have an important role in establishing and retaining the culture of governance in any organisation. For Sara, the governance professional offers wide knowledge across a range of topics, and boards and organisations rely on this full skill sets.
- Gaining a Masters in corporate governance
- The opportunity to travel to some amazing places as part of the role
- Winning the first governance, risk and compliance award in Guernsey
- The opportunities I have had for career progression
How did the Institute support your career as a governance professional?
Sara was recommended to the Institute by a colleague in a previous role. Sara has an MSc in corporate governance and is a Fellow of The Chartered Governance Institute UK & Ireland, Sara is also a past Chairman of the Guernsey Branch of the Institute.
Words of wisdom for your governance career
When asked for some words of wisdom for a governance professional starting out, Sara believes completing the Institute’s exams is essential to provide the underpinning knowledge you need. Sara says that although it seems like a long road, it is worth it, as you learn so much along the way and meet some amazing people.