Crowleys DFK was awarded the DFK UK & Ireland Firm of the Year 2018 at the recent DFK UK & Ireland Annual Conference in Glasgow.

DFK International is a major international association of independent firms and business advisors that has been meeting the needs of clients with interests in more than one country for over 50 years.  The association has over 400 offices in over 90 countries. The firm has been a committed member of the association since 1992.

Crowleys DFK was recognised for its positive contribution to DFK UK & Ireland over the past year.

Managing Partner James O’Connor commented, “We are delighted that Crowleys DFK have been recognised by our colleagues for our commitment to servicing our clients’ needs internationally.”

Crowleys DFK is a seven partner firm with offices in Cork and Dublin and has grown significantly in recent years.

James stated, “Our international affiliation is a distinctive feature of the firm and provides our clients with an integrated and robust global delivery mechanism across the world.”

 

 

Credit unions have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years with more attention than ever focused on the duties of directors and the board. At a time of rapid change both within the credit union sector, and in the wider economy, keeping up to date is critical, explains Fiona O’Sullivan, Director, Audit & Assurance.

A Central Bank report published earlier this year shows that governance and risk management continue to challenge credit unions. The board of each credit union is responsible for its control, direction and management and must ensure that directors have the skills and expertise to adequately oversee operations — this includes being aware of the rules and regulations governing who can serve on the board, in what capacity, and for how long. Individual directors must be able to devote sufficient time to their roles and responsibilities and must keep up to date with their legal and regulatory obligations.

Improving standards

While governance standards are generally improving, the Central Bank report shows that 60 percent of risks identified in credit unions relate to governance and operational issues. Typically, these include failure to challenge internal audit, failure to adequately monitor the quality of risk management and compliance, and failure to adequately review the performance of individual directors, management and key staff. These problems occur in credit unions of all sizes, not just in smaller entities.

The report provides a useful summary of supervisory expectations:

  • An effective and comprehensive governance framework should be evident in the credit union, including clear accountabilities and an appropriate performance management framework for relevant officers and staff.
  • Effective engagement with internal audit, risk management and compliance functions should be evident. Boards should have an awareness, challenge and undertake action in relation to findings and issues identified by these functions.
  • Clear separation between the roles of the board (non-executive) and management (executive). This separation should be underpinned by clear roles, responsibilities, reporting lines and accountabilities.
  • A strategic, forward-looking focus at board level, with quality discussion and challenge of strategic plans and associated targets evident at board meetings. The ongoing monitoring and tracking of metrics to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the strategic plan is key to effective governance and driving the future direction of the credit union.
  • Appropriate and timely reporting to the board in order to support decision-making on key strategic issues. Such reports should be well understood at board level and there should be evidence of discussion, challenge and follow-up from the board in relation to such reports.

Risk governance

The report highlights the importance of internal audit, risk management and compliance, stating:

“Those credit unions demonstrating stronger governance have typically moved beyond a mere ‘tick-box’ compliance attitude to exhibiting a more integrated risk governance culture, with a strong awareness and understanding of the impact of unmanaged risk. Such credit unions are more likely to leverage appropriately the important supports to the board provided for in the 2012 enhanced governance framework of internal audit, risk management and compliance in order to provide them with an improved understanding of the risk profile of their credit unions so that they can drive the necessary changes and improvements.”

Directors should keep in mind that, as in other sectors, the risks that credit unions face continue to evolve as circumstances change.  Risk registers and policies must be regularly reviewed and updated to take account of regulatory, sectoral, economic and technology-related developments. Recent regulatory developments include the changes to the investment and liquidity framework being implemented in 2018. Emerging economic risks include Brexit while cyber risks include vulnerabilities in areas such as fintech, cloud computing, mobile technologies, the Internet of Things and ‘big data’. Directors are responsible for ensuring that these, and other existing and emerging risks are identified and documented and that appropriate plans are devised and implemented to mitigate them.

How we can help

Understandably, with the regulatory and compliance burden increasing and new and complex challenges emerging, credit unions and their directors need help to keep pace with developments. Crowleys DFK has more than 25 years’ experience advising clients in this sector and offers a broad range of specialist services, including governance support, to assist boards and directors to meet their legal and regulatory obligations.

For more information and to find out how we can help, please get in touch.

Talk to us

 

Fiona O’Sullivan
Director, Audit & Assurance Services
fiona.osullivan@blacknighthosting.com

Crowleys DFK Partner and Chairman of the Ireland Malaysia Business Association, Vincent Teo, had the pleasure of meeting Minister Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills, and Ambassador Eamon Hickey, Irish Ambassador to Malaysia, at Enterprise Ireland’s business breakfast in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, 20th September.

Minister Bruton addressed the local network of business and education leaders for Enterprise Ireland’s business breakfast as part of his five day education and trade mission to Malaysia and Indonesia.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to greet an Irish Minister in my home country,” Vincent commented, “Congratulations to Ambassador Hickey and Enterprise Ireland on hosting a successful business breakfast.”

Crowleys DFK Partner and Chairman of the Ireland Malaysia Business Association, Vincent Teo, met with Ambassador Eamon Hickey, Irish Ambassador to Malaysia at the Embassy of Ireland in Kuala Lampur last week.

Vincent commented, “I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Ambassador Eamon Hickey in the Embassy and for his continued support to our efforts in promoting bilateral trade relations between Ireland and Malaysia.”

“We plan to reach out to the relevant Ministries in Malaysia in the hope of hosting a ministerial visit to Ireland in the near future,” stated Vincent.

The objective of the Irish Malaysia Association is to support bilateral business links between Ireland and Malaysia. Crowleys DFK is a patron member of the IMA and is dedicated to supporting its development.