Nick Lindsay ACG
Meet Nick Lindsay ACG as he tells us what its like to be a Director at Elemental CoSec
Nick is the founder of Elemental, the CGIUKI’s service provider of the year 2021, and leads the Governance and Corporate Services team. He originally practiced corporate law for a large London firm before going on to qualify as a Chartered Company Secretary.
Nowadays Nick most enjoys the variety of working hands-on with a breadth of clients and the diverse team of professionals at Elemental including company secretaries, lawyers and tax experts to offer clients something unique in the governance industry.
Attention to detail is essential and everything else builds on that.
If governance is working well and smoothly, then it can often not be noticed by those who benefit from it.
What is Governance?
Governance to me is an enabling function. Good governance should allow decisions to be made and for the organisation to operate smoothly and efficiently.All too often, governance is seen as a roadblock; steps that have to be taken to ‘paper’ a decision that has already been made. Balancing these two competing areas is one of the most difficult but important aspects of governance in my view.
What is a governance professional?
Anybody involved in the decision-making process at an organisation has to be aware of governance and the best leaders have good governance at the heart of how they work. However, I would say that a governance professional is anybody who supports and facilitates the decision-making process, whilst being independent from the decision-making process.
The route to a career in governance
I originally trained as a lawyer at a firm called Olswang (now part of CMS), before going on to practice as a corporate lawyer both in private practice and in-house. As a corporate lawyer, you always have to be alive to the governance aspects around the transaction, but it isn’t at the heart of the advice you give.However, whilst at Visa Europe I worked closely with the company secretarial team and found that I had a real interest in the governance aspects. I was fortunate enough that they supported my training as a chartered secretary (via the professional fast track route), and everything progressed from there.
The essential skills for success in governance
I’ve met and worked with great governance professionals with all sorts of different skills, personalities and approaches. I don’t think there is one type of person that excels in governance.However, all the best people I’ve worked with have a great understanding and grasp of the detail. Attention to detail is essential and everything else builds on that.
Without a doubt, Elemental winning the CGIUKI award for Service Provider of the Year 2021.I started Elemental over 10 years ago, with the aim of providing flexible and expert company secretarial services. I never planned for Elemental to grow as it has, but it has proved hugely successful, allowing us to grow both in size and areas of expertise very naturally.The downside of natural growth is that there aren’t always obvious moments to take stock and reflect on what has been achieved. The award from the CGI was a great opportunity for this and made me feel very proud of the entire team.
How did the Institute support your career as a governance professional?
In the early days of my career in governance, the CGI was my main source of knowledge of the wider industry. From the professional training to the Annual Conference and the online resources, it was a great way to learn about the industry and meet other governance professionals.Even now it is always helpful to know the CGI is there to support, but it is in those early stages of your career that I believe the Institute is invaluable.
Words of wisdom for the next generation of governance professionals?
If governance is working well and smoothly, then it can often not be noticed by those who benefit from it. However, if something goes wrong, it will always be noticed.So, make sure you (and your stakeholders) appreciate and understand when things are going well.
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