This year, your Corporate Finance Faculty celebrates its 25th anniversary. This certainly is a cause to celebrate. In that quarter century, the faculty has grown into the largest network of corporate finance professionals: more than 7,000 members; more than 80 member organisations; and more than 40% of its membership beyond ICAEW, which increases its influence – as well as by extension the reach of the ICAEW – in what is a hugely significant area of advisory fee income for member firms.
The faculty’s relevance to advisers and investors has grown hand in hand with our influence in shaping regulation and policy. And that would not be the case were it not for the fact that we have such a broad membership, open to dialogue around key issues facing corporate financiers. We serve an active and engaged membership. Senior professionals at our member firms are giving of their time and help, be it for publications, consultations or our programme of events.
In the 12 years that I have been head of corporate finance at ICAEW, the faculty has published guidelines on Cyber Security in Corporate Finance; three editions of Private Equity Demystified; and, with the British Business Bank, the Business Finance Guide, which has been distributed in either hard copy or electronic form to more than one million UK businesses. We have published guidance on completion mechanisms, artificial intelligence in corporate advisory, intellectual property in M&A, financial due diligence, financial modelling and on valuation issues in deals. Just last month, with the specialist team in Deloitte we published our guideline ESG in Deals and Investment. And of course Corporate Financier magazine, now approaching its 250th edition, holds a unique market position as the only dedicated publication on corporate finance, keeping our members up to date on commercial and regulatory developments and issues facing corporate financiers.
The faculty’s board and technical committee set the strategic direction of the faculty and provide expert insight to inform our views on consultations, be they from government, the Takeover Panel, the Financial Reporting Council or other bodies. ICAEW capital markets policy senior manager Katerina Joannou’s work with the technical committee and the board, who I thank for giving their time freely, has been a credit to the faculty throughout my time here. Their help in our long consultation on the National Security and Investment Act 2021 was invaluable, and particularly so in helping me prepare for giving evidence before the parliamentary committee. It is something we will keep a close eye on. And it has cemented the importance of the faculty when it comes to formulating ‘good’ legislation.
Corporate finance is evolving in how it delivers advice using technology. No doubt regulation will influence how it is delivered in the future and that is where our influence has proved so important in the careful shaping of regulation. Our ability to garner the views of the wide range of member firms and present them as a thought-through whole has ensured that our voice has been relevant and will remain so. I am a member of the government’s Business Finance Council, representing members’ views, and ICAEW. Having that position is in no small part thanks to the strength of the faculty, which comes from its membership.
The doing of deals relies on a network and your faculty seeks to nurture that network for you. I’d like to thank members and the staff of the faculty who have helped us achieve what we have done.
I am looking forward to your faculty remaining as relevant as ever, where we work with you and for you to ensure we face up to any economic headwinds and market or regulatory challenges, and prosper together.
First published in Corporate Financier, Issue 247, November 2022