What is a Chartered Secretary or Governance Professional?
What is the International Qualification?
Chartered Secretaries and Governance Professionals are senior professionals trained in law, finance, governance and strategy. They principally work as company secretaries or in other similar roles. They are obliged to uphold the highest standards of governance practice and ethical behaviour.
Highly valued by employers for their training, Chartered Secretaries and Governance Professionals are the primary source of advice on governance to their board. Broadly, this can span everything from legal and accounting advice, to the development of strategy and corporate planning.
The Institute now has a worldwide membership of 45,000 plus 28,000 students in over 70 countries working to ensure the smooth functioning of their organisations. There are autonomous divisions in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and Zimbabwe; semi-autonomous associations in 20 other countries, and members linked directly with Great Britain in another 60 countries. Members are recognised internationally and are entitled to use the designation Chartered Secretary as well as internationally recognised post nominals (ACIS and FCIS).
With a network this vast, the ACIS and FCIS post nominals are your passport to the world and those who possess them can compete with confidence in the global job market. Dealing with governance issues in one jurisdiction is challenging - but in a global economy - organizations must understand the laws, procedures and business requirements of many different countries.
These affiliations and contacts provide an enhanced ability to navigate global markets. For our members, this means a transportable designation with a worldwide network of colleagues, available to advise and consult at the touch of a button. For prospective employers, they can be assured that when they hire an Chartered Governance Institute graduate, they've hired on of the best the world has to offer.
It's difficult to provide a clear-cut answer. Chartered secretaries occupy a unique position in the company's management team and their duties and responsibilities often cut across all departments. The image conjured up by the term "chartered secretary" is somewhat Dickensian. Think of poor Bob Crachit toiling away as a loyal scribe in Scrooge's business. Happily, this image of depressing servitude is a million miles away from the duties of today's chartered secretary.
It is important to keep in mind that the duties and responsibilities of chartered secretaries differ widely from organization to organization. However, certain key areas can be identified:
Roles and responsibilities:
Chartered Secretaries and Governance Professionals are not executive secretaries or administrative assistants, they are corporate professionals, hired by and reporting to the Board of Directors of their companies. While Boards of Directors are responsible for the overall operations and performance of companies, they rely on the company's officers to carry out Board policy and to provide them with competent advice and guidance to ensure the company meets its legal and regulatory obligations.
The Corporate Secretary's role requires a strong understanding of business in order to conduct the following:
CGI of Canada graduates are equipped for this list of projects.
In recognition of the increasing importance of governance in public life and the growing global demand for qualified professionals, the International Institute's Royal Charter was amended in May 2018 to provide a new designation, Chartered Governance Professional. It is with great pleasure that we confirm that members who have been Chartered Secretaries, Fellows (FCIS) and Associates (ACIS), for five years as of July 2018 and who remain in good standing may now use the new designation of Chartered Governance Professional. Those who have not yet been members for five years, will be eligible to use the new designation on their five-year anniversary or by December 31, 2020, whichever comes first. Finalized details for the formatting of the new post-nominals will follow. This new professional designation is elective. You remain a Chartered Secretary and may use either or both designations.
It's easy to forget (sometimes) that the CGI of Canada is really two professional groups in one. The "and Administrators" refers to those professionals who perform some of the chartered or corporate secretarial duties in non-corporate work environments such as non-profit organizations, accounting and legal firms, all levels of government and private corporations (i.e. companies not traded on the stock market).
In Canada, Administrators make up 45% of the Institute's membership. They receive the same training as their corporate secretary colleagues and receive the same ACIS or FCIS designations, denoting membership in the Institute.
Core areas of responsibility for Administrators (and to a certain degree, Chartered Secretaries) may include:
Here are some of the titles you can expect to see in the marketplace where our members will excel:
Certain criteria must be satisfied before you can qualify as a Chartered member of CGI of Canada.
Character and good standing
Please visit the Corporate Secretary Qualifying Scheme page here for a self-assessment.
Please visit the Chartered Secretaries Qualifying Scheme page for a self-assessment.
Please visit the membership renewal page here.
New to Canada? Chartered Institute Members (Graduates, Associates, Fellows) who wish to transfer their membership to the Canadian Division are advised to request that their existing Division to provide the necessary information to affect the transfer to the National Office by email to the National Office. There is a fee of $113.00 to cover the cost of record the transfer, we will provide you with an invoice when we confirm receipt of your file.
While no further examinations are necessary, in order to understand the Canadian system, you may find it useful to review our study guides in Corporate Secretaryship, Corporate Law, and Corporate Governance. Contact us for purchase details.
Leaving Canada? If you are leaving Canada, your Chartered Institute membership (Graduate, Associate or Fellow) may be transferred to an appropriate Division. On your instructions, the National Office would be happy to provide the necessary details to the Division to which you are transferring.
If you choose instead to leave your registration in Canada, your membership will remain administered by the CGI of Canada.
Logging into your account for the first time simply requires your email and membership number. Your email is your user name and your membership number is your password. Log in can be done at anytime by clicking here. Once logged in, you can change your password to something more personal or memorable.
Recently re-named the Chartered Governance Institute of Canada at the 2019 annual general meeting, "the Institute" was initially established in 1891 to promote and maintain professionalism in the fields of commerce and administration.
The Institute celebrated the Centenary of its Royal Charter in 2002, originally granted on November 4, 1902. Under its Charter, the Institute has as its objective "the promotion and advancement of the efficient administration of commerce, industry and public affairs" (Article 4). Efficient administration remains a fundamental bedrock of organisational success today. In 1964, to reflect the wide scope of the profession and more fully describe the status and capabilities of its members, its name was changed from the Institute of Secretaries to The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.
Now known as CGI in Canada, the Institute continues to serve in unique in the global business environment - it is the only organization to provide a professional program and designations for chartered secretaries and administrators recognized worldwide. All members join as students of the Institute and, after completing a program of study, become Associates of the Institute and receive the ACIS designation. More seasoned members may apply to become Fellows of the Institute, usually after 8 years of appropriate work experience, and receive the FCIS designation.
As the organization of professional administrators in Canada, CGI of Canada is committed to strengthening and advancing the efficient administration of every type of organization in business and government.
The secretary bird, a native of southern Africa, acquired its name by the supposed resemblance of its black feathery head plumes to a secretary with a quill pen behind its ear. Strange as it may be, the bird was aptly named as some of its characteristics are appropriate to the secretarial profession.
The Institute's Secretary Rusell Day must be given credit for adopting the secretary bird as its crest in 1896. Through a study of the bird, he discovered that its most prominent characteristics were alertness and its ability to successfully prey on snakes. This signified the vigilant character to be instilled in every chartered secretary. A creature of habit, the bird mates for life and is fiercely protective of its territory being a classic, portrayal of a Chartered Secretary's pursuit of high ethical standards.
Russell Day had also shipped from South Africa a specimen of the bird to present it to the Institute. The mascot was mounted in a glass case but unfortunately was destroyed when the Institute's premises were bombed on December 29, 1940. However, it was later replaced and resumed its duty as a symbol of high professionalism among chartered secretaries.
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