Most of us have been back at work for several weeks and the first reporting season for the year is almost over. While there have been some mixed results, it is gratifying to see that the market has held up well despite the periodic lockdowns, particularly in Melbourne.
The G100 is already working on issues and events for the year, focussing on our three areas of focus – a vibrant CFO network, shaping business outcomes, and fostering the CFOs of tomorrow. This year, emails to members and newsletters will follow each of the five scheduled Board meetings. Additional emails/eDMs will be sent to members drawing attention to important emerging issues and special events as required. In this newsletter there are a number of issues and functions to note.
- The Payment Times Reporting Framework (PTR scheme) is now in place. Members will remember that the PTR scheme requires large businesses with an annual total income of over $100 million to report their payment terms and practices for their small business suppliers on a biannual basis. The G100 held a second information session on this with the CAANZ on 18 February. For more information, please click here.
- Inquiry into Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.1) Bill 2021. On 18 February 2021 the Senate referred the Treasury Laws Amendment (2021 Measures No.1) Bill 2021 to the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 12 March 2021.
The Bill amends the Corporations Act 2001and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001seeking to extend the temporary relief allowing companies to use electronic means to execute documents, hold meetings, provide notices relating to meetings and keep minutes until 16 September 2021. It also seeks to amend the continuous disclosure and misleading and deceptive conduct provisions so that civil penalty proceedings commenced under those provisions must prove that an entity or officer acted with ‘knowledge, recklessness or negligence’ in respect of an alleged contravention.
The G100 has been invited to make a submission to this inquiry. This ties in very well with the work we have been doing with the Government on online AGMs and Proxy Holders, and the submission we have already made on disclosure.
- Disclosure Laws. On the disclosure laws specifically, members will have read recently that the Federal Government announced it plans to have stock market disclosure laws permanently relaxed for listed companies and their directors. You will also remember the Senate held an inquiry into this following concerted lobbying by the G100, BCA, AICD and others. We are very pleased that much of the submission we put to the Senate Inquiry have been adopted by the Government. Should the proposed legislation be passed by the Senate, it will be much harder for frivolous class actions to go ahead.
We will of course keep you informed. If you have any issues you think pertinent, please don’t hesitate to contact our CEO Stephen Woodhill on [email protected].
February Board Meeting
The G100 Board met mid-February. The advocacy program was discussed, and it was noted that several opportunities to participate in Government reform initiatives would present themselves in coming months.
Quarterly meetings with ASIC will get underway in March. Ongoing issues around proxy advisers, actions by proxy holders at AGMs, class actions will continue to be discussed.
While the nature of meetings and events for 2021 was discussed, it was decided that the G100 would begin in-person events and functions from April. I am very pleased to announce that the first of these will be one of our traditional dinner functions in Sydney on 14 April after the G100 Board meeting. The Board agreed that some online events should be continued due to their popularity last year.
The Board received papers from several G100 working groups and discussed issues arising from the Taxation Reform working group, focussing on the importance of tax expertise for companies. The Future of the Profession working group outlined their approach to bring members up to speed on technological and other developments impacting the finance function. The working group will hold a series of online webinars discussing and debating options. The Sustainability working group plans a series of four webinars for members on non-financial reporting including reporting on social performance and sustainable financing.
Working Groups – members needed:
It was noted that both the new Capital Markets, and the Diversity & Inclusion working groups are looking for additional members. If you have senior staff interested in either of these working groups, please contact the Secretariat on [email protected]. As with the other working groups, these are designed to enable CFOs’ senior managers to examine industry-wide issues of importance and widen their peer networks.
- PTR Scheme. Last week we held the first event for the year, 650 people attended an online session on the Payment Times Reporting Framework (PTR scheme) in association with CA ANZ. CFOs and their teams heard how the PTR scheme, which began on 1 January this year, is working. A panel chaired by Martyn Roberts, Deputy Chair of the G100, heard from Tegan Johnson from the Department of Industry Science, Energy and Resources, Vince Dimasi, a Partner from KPMG, and Karen McWilliams, from CA ANZ. Attendees received an update on the PTR scheme, looked at some early lessons, as well as hearing tips for businesses before the question-and-answer session.
- Future of the Profession. The next event is being held on 16 March, hosted for the G100 by the Future of the Profession working group and PwC. This session is the second in a series specifically looking at the future, how we can keep pace with changing business needs, introduction of technology, increasing importance of data and how the finance function ‘partners’ with its business. Matt Young, CFO of Treasury Wine Estates, and Sushma Segal, Group Finance COO at QBE, will share their finance transformation journeys. They will be joined by Mathea Beck, the Finance Transformation Lead at PwC. This will also be an online event open to member CFOs and their teams, already 173 people have signed up.
- Bi-monthly dinner functions. These popular functions will begin again from mid-April allowing CFOs ample time for networking before hearing from guest speakers from industry and government on breaking issues of concern to members.
- The Parliamentary Engagement Day. The annual trip to Canberra will be held on Wednesday 23 June. The program of meetings is being locked in now. As we focussed on the Opposition last year, this year we will be focussing on Government Ministers and key MPs. Again, we will meet with MPs in blocks of 20 minutes in Parliament House before a light lunch, we will then take in Question Time and finish the day with dinner, a Government Minister will be our guest speaker at the dinner. These events are a highlight of the year and I encourage members to consider attending.
- CFO Live. The last event I would like to highlight is CFO Live which the G100 runs in association with the Australian Financial Review. Despite the pandemic in 2020, and having half the attendees online, 300 people attended the all-day event held. This year the event has now been confirmed for 28 October in Sydney.
Current list of events:
- 18 February – Payment Times Rep Framework (Zoom) HELD
- 16 March – Finance Function Transformation (Zoom)
- 14 April – G100 Dinner Function (Sydney)
- 15 April – G100 Alumni luncheon (Melbourne)
- 12 May – Post Budget with Dept (TBC)
- 23 June – Political Engagement Day (Canberra)
- 23 June – G100 Dinner Function (Canberra)
- 2 September – G100 Dinner Function (Brisbane)
- 28 October – CFO Live (Sydney)
- 24 November – G100 Dinner Function (Melbourne)
- TBA – subject specific webinars hosted by the G100 working groups:
- External Reporting
- Capital Markets
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Future of the Profession (plans already in place)
- Breakfast meetings are also be locked in for Adelaide and Perth