This month we launch this new column in our journal giving voice to younger members of the profession. First up is Matthew Young FCG HKFCG(PE), Head of the Corporate Secretarial Department, Hong Kong Jockey Club.
What is your current role and what was your career path to this role?
‘I am currently the Head of the Corporate Secretarial Department of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. I studied law for my undergraduate degree and after initially working as a barrister pupil, I realised that the contentious nature of that profession was not suitable for me. Subsequently, I was introduced to David Fu FCG HKFCG(PE), the then Company Secretary of the Swire Group. Mentorship and guidance from a senior person is important for young people and Mr Fu gave me a lot of advice, which led me to develop my career in this field. I worked in various divisions as Assistant Company Secretary with the Swire Group, such as properties, aviation and marine. I was also seconded to the UK Headquarters for two years. After working at Swire for 11 years, I joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club to lead its Corporate Secretarial Department.’
When did you first hear the terms ‘company secretary’ and ‘governance’? What was your impression of these terms?
‘My father obtained the Chartered Secretary qualification in the 1980s because it was useful for his career as his role involved many administrative and board approval functions. When I was young, my father told me not to regard company secretaries as having a junior role. This is a high-level position and the company secretary is one of the most important officers of the company after the directors and the CEO. Company secretaries serve as one of the main sources of information and advice for directors.’
What qualities do you think are needed to be a successful governance professional?
‘The most fundamental qualities are having a good understanding of the industry and strong writing skills. For example, when I first joined the Hong Kong Jockey Club, I had no knowledge of horses, jockeys or wagering business, so I had to quickly gain an understanding, and ensure I had the necessary knowledge and awareness, of the industry. I have a habit of reading news to keep myself informed of current affairs. Company secretaries need to understand the overall operations of the company, so having an interest in learning new things and having a curious mindset is very helpful. The more you listen and know, the easier your work will become.’
What was your chosen route to complete the Institute’s qualifying programme and what advice would you give to people considering qualifying as a Chartered Secretary and Chartered Governance Professional?
‘Due to time constraints, I chose the exam route instead of pursuing further studies. My advice is to develop strong writing skills – this is crucial for a company secretary because you will handle numerous documents and the drafting of important notices, announcements and reports. Companies entrust important documents to company secretaries. Therefore, having good language skills is highly beneficial for your career. My advice is simple – read and listen broadly in both Chinese and English.’
As a member of the younger generation, how do you think ‘governance’ will evolve in the future and would you recommend a career in governance to others?
‘In recent years, companies have shown an increasing focus on environmental, social and governance standards, which in turn has increased the demand for capable company secretaries. This profession will need talent in the long term. I am a co-convener of the Institute’s NextGen Group and I also participate as a mentor in the mentorship programme. I hope to cultivate the next generation of company secretaries and fundamentally change the external perception of the role.’
“I hope to cultivate the next generation of company secretaries and fundamentally change the external perception of the role”
FCG HKFCG(PE), Head of the Corporate Secretarial Department, Hong Kong Jockey Club
本月我们推出了新专栏，令我们的年轻成员有机会发声。首先登场的是赛马会公司秘书处总监杨位恒先生 FCG HKFCG(PE)
‘我目前是香港赛马会的公司秘书处执行经理。我本科学的是法律，成为实习大律师后，发觉大律师要与人针锋相对，工作性质不适合我。后来，有人介绍我认识太古集团的时任公司秘书傅溢鸿先生 FCG HKFCG(PE)。对年轻人来说，资深人士的指引是非常重要的；傅先生给我很多建议，启发我在公司秘书行业发展。我在太古集团担任了多个不同领域的公司秘书助理，涉及地产、航空和航运等领域，还去英国总部工作了两年。在太古集团工作11年后，我加入了赛马会，主管公司秘书处。’
‘近年来，企业对环境、社会和治理（ESG）水平越来越关注，需要更多能力强的公司秘书。这个行业是长期需要人才的。我是公会NextGen Group的共同召集人，也加入了导师计划担任导师，希望培养下一代的公司秘书，并从根本上改变外界对公司秘书的象。 ’
FCG HKFCG(PE), 香港赛马会公司 秘书处执行经理