A career as a Company Secretary is financially rewarding and prestigious. The Institute of Company Secretary of India (ICSI) is the only recognized professional body in India to develop and regulate the profession of Company Secretary. If a person has good judgemental quality, legal aptitude, interest in current affairs and good administrative policy, then company secretary is an ideal career for such person.
1. Opportunities in Employment
A qualified company secretary can find good positions in the private sector as well as in public sector, banks and financial institutions. There is also opportunity in stock exchanges, the Department of Company Affairs, Company Law Board and various government departments. There is a statutory requirement for appointment of company secretaries in listed companies.
Membership of ICSI is recognized for appointment to superior posts and services under Central Government. It is also recognized for recruitment from Grade I and Grade IV in the Accounts branch of the Indian Company Law Service. Almost every kind of organization whose affairs are conducted by Board, Councils or other association, federation, authority, commission etc. appoint Company Secretary in a Key Administrative Position.
2. Role in the Company
The company secretary is an in-house legal expert and a compliance officer of the Company. He/she is an expert in corporate laws, securities laws and capital market and corporate governance. He is the chief advisor to the Board of Director on best practices in corporate governance and is responsible for all regulatory compliances of company. He/she is known as a corporate planner and strategic manager. He has direct access to the top management and the board room.
They have to manage all aspects of corporate meeting be it Board Meeting, Annual General Meeting, interaction with important clients and vendors, meetings with government and private delegations. They may also have to take up the responsibility to manage corporate events and manage clients.
As an additional responsibility, company secretary also have to keep a discerning eye on the expansion opportunities of the company. Further, they have to take care of collaborations, joint- ventures, mergers, takeovers within the country and outside.
Under the newly passed Companies Act, 2013, the Company Secretary has been aptly bracketed in the Company’s ‘Key Managerial Personnel’.
3. Option of Going Into Practice
After obtaining a ‘Certificate of Practice from the Institute, Members of the Institute can opt for independent practice. Right from the incorporation of a company till the time it is wound-up, a company will require the services of a practicing company secretary at some stage or the other. Pursuant to Clause 49 of the Listing Agreement of stock ex- changes, Practicing Company secretary has also been authorized to issue certificate regarding compliance of conditions of Corporate Governance as stipulated in the Clause.
Practitioners have also been recognized to appear before various tribunals such as Company Law Board, the Securities Appellate Tribunal, Consumer Forum, Tax Tribunals etc. The Reserve Bank of India has also recognized the Practicing Company Secretaries to undertake Diligence Report for Banks.
A practicing company secretary is an independent profes- sional and is recognized to issue certificates and attend documents inter alia under the Companies Act, the SEBI Act, Securities Contracts and Regulation Act (SCRA), and Regulations made there un- der, the Depositories Act, the EXIM Policy etc.
4. Opportunities Abroad for CS
Many company Secretaries are already working in various countries like the US, Canada, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Middle-East, Africa etc. With their research and legal bent of mind, their employers have recognized their professional skill sets. They also possess managerial capabilities and analytical skills.
After the globalization of services through WTO and GATS, the field is opening in various countries for practicing company sec- retaries as well. India is entering into bilateral Agreements with countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Mauritius etc. These agreements recognize Company Secretary for free move- ment of professional across borders.
ICSI has entered into a MoU with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, UK. This MoU recognizes Company Secretaries of both the countries on certain conditions. The process of globalization and the process of comprehensive economic cooperation that India is initiating has also set in motion mutual recognition agreements between the ICSI and Institutes governing the profession in various other countries. This is opening up the world to Company Secretaries.