Finance

Three important issues for a financial control officer

November 7, 2014

Performance-related fees, risk management and issuing rules and regulations are the three most important issues that financial control officers have been focusing on in recent years.

In the TIAS Executive Master of Finance and Control / Register Controller (EMFC), these issues were examined in all of the 24 classes. “Both in terms of content (what do the regulations imply?) as well as critically (do the regulations lead to the desired effect?)”, says professor Michael Corbey, Academic Director of the training program.

Has a lot changed in the 24 preceding years?

“Certainly, but do note we are not talking about 24 years, because two classes start per year, one in Tilburg (September) and one in Utrecht (February). The Utrecht course is not as well known, by the way. I have been involved in the training program since the beginning of 2001. So that adds up to 13 years.”

That is a long time.

“Yes it is. I almost find it shocking myself. If you consider important issues during that period, then I see at least three. My inaugural lecture was on performance-related fees, which was still a reasonably innocent subject at the beginning of 2000, but it was my opinion that our views (and those of society) on this complex issue were too simplified. Unfortunately, I was proven right in the years that followed. “

You can say that again. And the second issue?

“Risk management in a broad sense. Even before the crisis began in 2008, there were financial scandals (sometimes caused in part by performance-related fees) that led to a huge wave of efforts and regulations that aimed to mitigate all kinds of commercial risks. Let alone after 2008. The costs involved are huge. You can ask yourself whether society would not be better off on the macro level to simply accept a disaster like Enron every once in a while (with all the costs involved) rather than incurring even more expenses for risk management while not knowing if you will ultimately be able to avert the disaster. An example is the discussion surrounding the regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley. Do note: I am referring to the macro level. “

And so issuing rules and regulations is your third issue?

“Yes. What concerns me right now, is the paradoxical impasse at which we have arrived through an abundance of rules and regulations that has come about as a result of things like performance-related fees and risk management. It is a known fact that issuing rules and regulations is an extrinsic motivator. However, more and more sectors in society (consider banks, for example) now seek intrinsically motivated employees who want to contribute to a goal that is higher than their personal goals. Rules and regulations stand in the way of this, as does performance-related fees. The answer should be: more trust and fewer rules. But, is society ready for this? For example, is society willing to impose fewer rules and regulations on bankers and trust that they will contribute more to stable and instrumental banking? I am inclined to say: asking the question is answering the question.”

These subjects are examined during the training program for Financial Control Officer?

“Yes, both in terms of content (what do the regulations imply?) as well as critically (do the regulations lead to the desired effect?). And so the training program is a stiff two-year part-time course for university graduates with practical experience. Despite the difficulty, the participants find the training program to be extremely informative, worthwhile and fun.”

Fun?!?

“Yes! I recently received a beautiful, professionally designed booklet from a class of graduates in which they describe all of the comical moments and comments of the participants and instructors that they had collected in the course of two years. If that isn't proof …”

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