An Inside Perspective with Julie WalshSenior Vice President, Corporate Secretary and Chief Corporate Governance Officer
Can you please explain your role as Chief Corporate Governance Officer at Scotiabank, and what you do at the Bank?
In this role, I'm responsible for overseeing the creation and implementation of corporate governance policies, processes and practices across the Bank and our subsidiaries globally. I work to ensure that they align with the Bank’s corporate strategies and regulatory requirements, working with our board of directors and the chairman directly, our management team and subsidiary boards on all matters related to corporate governance.
What is unique about Scotiabank’s corporate governance practices?
We were the first financial institution in Canada — and one of the first public companies in Canada — to establish a Corporate Governance Office. Scotiabank takes corporate governance very seriously. We address the corporate governance practices of not only the parent board, but of our subsidiaries around the world, and I deal directly with our global boards. As Canada’s most international bank, I think that is unique. I also report directly to the Chairman of the Board and the General Counsel. This structure plays a key role in the relationships between the board, management and the greater stakeholder community, and speaks to the view of our board on the importance of corporate governance.
Why is Scotiabank's commitment to corporate governance important to those outside of the Bank?
When you go back in time and you look at many of the crises that have happened as a result of poor governance, it becomes clear that robust and substantive corporate governance practices contribute to the long-term success of a company. Effective corporate governance can greatly influence the direction and culture of an organization, so it can have a tremendous effect on the communities where a company operates and even the economy as a whole.
How does corporate governance ensure the Bank will be a viable, sustainable business for years to come?
Corporate governance at Scotiabank is always forward-looking. We think beyond just meeting the requirements or expectations of regulators or shareholders and always look for ways to improve how we do things at the Bank. For example, we look closely at how the board is steering the company, but we also consider how the board is managing itself. By continually working with management, the Board and the boards of our global subsidiaries, corporate governance helps move the bank in a sound, strategic direction.