Thought Leadership Articles

Published 30 September 2022

Louise Broekman

Founder & CEO, Advisory Board Centre

Turning a Trend into a Movement

When global players Korn Ferry and the Financial Times recognise and reference the deep research on advisory boards, dubbing them as the “hot new governance trend” – we know the sector has carved its place in the market, not just as a fad – but for good. ‘For good’ as in they are here to stay, and ‘for good’ as in the impact the Advisory Board Centre has made in global best practice with quality advisory boards – one organisation at a time.

In the past, it has been viewed as an optional decision between a governance or an advisory board. Today, the reality is that it is a complementary relationship in governance systems, where governance and advisory work side by side. Within the ecosystem of governance, it is important to understand the difference, the best practice and ethical frameworks that drive impact and mitigate confusion, duplication and conflicts of interest.

Sounds complicated? It doesn’t need to be if there is clarity of purpose and simplicity in structures and the system of how decisions are made. We all know that advisory boards are not new, they have existed for thousands of years. The evolution of the advisory board has occurred due to many factors happening at the same time including self-formation, market forces, and stakeholder engagement.

Self Formation

The advisory board profession has formed itself through the development of the professional body for the sector. And just in time. As per the Advisory Board Centre’s State of the Market Report, with 52% growth globally in less than two years between 2019 – 2021, ‘advisory board professional’ is a fast-growing choice of occupation. The professional body, the Advisory Board Centre, now across more than twenty countries, continues to progress with the development of best practice frameworks, credentials for advisory board professionals, and self-regulation. It has, for the first time, a foundation for the sector to thrive.

Market Forces

The business sector is the heartland for advisory boards where supporting growth, commercial, and transformational strategies are at its core. The new market developments in the business sector have evolved through agile project advisory boards responding to the market need for fast innovation and navigating volatile opportunities.

The corporatised market is demanding advisory boards more than ever before to support the constrained governance boards in gaining confidence in their decision-making. The Financial Times rated this as the 5th key trend for governance boards. There is a deep responsibility for advisory boards to support directors in the important role they play.

Stakeholder Engagement

Corporate Social Responsibility, ESG, and the United Nations Sustainability Goals have forced the agenda of stakeholder engagement in a positive way. Driving the new stakeholder economy is engagement. There can be no better example than sectors with vulnerable customers. Leading the way is the Federal Government in Australia with requiring and regulating advisory boards for the aged care sector, giving the most vulnerable customers a voice in the market.

Asia in the Spotlight

Since the pandemic, the economic and business landscape globally has changed, none moreso than in Asia. The Advisory Board Centre has been deeply committed to the region with advisory board professional hubs in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Pre-pandemic, the staging of two trade missions to the region fostered the connectedness of trade and industry in the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2021, Louise Broekman had the opportunity to meet with Steve Stine, head of Korn Ferry in Asia-Pacific, to discuss the emerging role advisory boards play in the region.

Singapore has become the business hub of choice for companies, multinationals, and investments. In October this year, Singapore will again be in the spotlight. The Advisory Board Centre will be hosting a Forum with members of the advisory board community in the city, and I am very excited to be attending in person! There’s no better time than now to reflect on how the region has transformed due to the pandemic and what’s next with the role advisory boards play.

I am looking forward to being on the ground in Singapore and connecting with our members and the wider advisory community, please join us if you can.