TIAS

Almost half of time of supervisory board member is devoted to monitoring, a third of time is spend as adviser

April 24, 2014

Supervisory board members devote most of their time to monitoring, while the role of adviser (namely with regard to strategy) - on which they spend a third of their time - is believed to be the most important. This was revealed by the annual National Supervisory Board Member Survey. Researchers Prof. Dr. Mijntje Lückerath-Rovers (TIAS School for Business and Society) and Prof. Dr. Auke de Bos RA (Erasmus University) published the seventh annual National Supervisory Board Member Survey.

This year, 338 supervisory board members and monitors participated from several sectors, making this survey the largest study in the Netherlands. The National Supervisory Board Member Survey 2013 focused specifically on the different roles of supervisory board members.

The study distinguishes between four supervisory board member roles : monitor, advisor, employer (appointing and compensating directors) and networker, or ambassador (contacts in and outside the company). Supervisory board members consider their most important role to be firstly the role of advisor regarding strategy, secondly the role of monitor with regard to risk management, and thirdly the role of employer, assessing and appointing directors. On average supervisory board members spend 45% of their time on their monitoring role, 32% on their advisory role, 13% on their role as employer and 10% on their networking role. Supervisory board members would like to spend a little less time on monitoring (42%) and more on networking (13%). Supervisory board members award themselves a satisfactory tick for the four roles. The role of monitor is most valued, scoring on average an 8.0, followed by the role of advisor, scoring on average a 7.7. The lower scoring roles were that of employer (7.2) and networker (6.4). There are obvious differences between sectors.

The amount of time invested continues to hover around 17%

In addition to this year's thematic research the 2013 Survey also revealed several trends. The average amount of time invested per supervisory board member continues to hover around 17 hours a month. 58% of supervisory board members earn less than EUR 10,000 for their board appointment, but there are major differences in compensation between the sectors. On average supervisory board members of stock listed companies earn EUR 38,000, in care institutions this amount is EUR 9,000 a year. The number of supervisory board members that are appointed via an intermediary appears to be increasing (from 12% to 18%), while the number appointed via their own networks is decreasing (from 50% to 47%).

The supervisory board members were presented with a dozen or so statements on topical themes. The most striking results were that half of the supervisory board members (48%) think it is a good idea to introduce a suitability test in their own sector as exists in the financial sector. 54% of supervisory board members in the healthcare sector agreed but this figure was just 20% among supervisory board members of stock listed companies. Also 87% of supervisory board members disagreed with the statement that the legal maximum number of monitoring roles has contributed to the quality of monitoring, slightly fewer, but still the majority, disagrees with the statement that the legal maximum has contributed to breaking down the 'old boy network'.

Lastly this year an additional survey was conducted in association with two psychologists, Prof. Dr. Marise Born (Erasmus) and Dr. Reinout de Vries (VU) to also obtain more of an insight into the personalities and motivations of supervisory board members. Almost 200 supervisory board members participated in this substudy. Compared with a highly educated reference group, the supervisory board members appeared to be less emotional, but more extrovert and more open to new experiences.

Reading tips

National Supervisory Board Member Survey 2013, Auke de Bos and Mijntje Luckerath (2014)

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