NedSense enterprises n.v. attaches great importance to corporate governance. In recent years, we have discussed in detail the Dutch Code on Corporate Governance. The Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board of NedSense endorse the Code. Within the framework of this Code, the company’s stakeholders include staff members, shareholders and other providers of capital, financiers, suppliers, customers, as well as government authorities, social groups and factions. The Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board of NedSense are responsible for striking a balance between the interests of these stakeholders, while taking into account the continuity of the company. Therefore, best practice principles with regard to corporate governance are reflected in the management structure and the company’s Articles of Association, as far as these are deemed applicable and are in the interest of all stakeholders.
The NedSense enterprises’ ordinary shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam by NYSE Euronext. Accordingly, the company complies with all applicable listing rules of Euronext Amsterdam.
In accordance with the recommendation of the Dutch Corporate Governance Code Monitoring Committee to ‘comply or explain’, NedSense’s corporate governance practice was placed on the agenda of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in prior years, in order to give shareholders the opportunity to voice their opinion on the way the company interprets compliance with the Code. A description of NedSense’s corporate governance policy, including the relevant regulations and reports, can be found on the website. For the application of the NedSense Code, we follow to the greatest extent possible the guidance provisions provided by the Dutch Corporate Governance Code Monitoring Committee in its reports on compliance with the Dutch Corporate Governance Code. The Corporate Governance Code is posted on our website at www.nedsense.com.
Corporate Governance Structure
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Company, and is accountable to the Supervisory Board and to the shareholders of the Company. It is responsible for ensuring that NedSense is achieving its operational, strategic and financial goals, for overseeing our compliance with all applicable rules and regulations that govern the Company, for managing the risks associated with our business activities, and for ensuring that the Company is properly capitalized. The Board of Directors informs the Supervisory Board of internal risk management and control systems, and any updates or developments related thereto. Any conflicts of interest or apparent conflicts of interest between the Company and members of the Board of Directors shall be avoided. Any transaction that would give rise to a conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest requires the approval of the Supervisory Board.
The Board of Directors takes into account the interests of the Company and its affiliated enterprises as well as the interests of NedSense’s shareholders and other stakeholders when taking decisions about the operation of the business. Members of the Board of Directors are required to put the interests of the Company ahead of their own interests and to act critically and independently when carrying out their responsibilities. The Board of Directors is also charged with providing the Supervisory Board all material information required to permit the Supervisory Board to exercise its duties. The NedSense Articles of Association provide that certain resolutions of the Board of Directors require prior approval of the Supervisory Board. Pursuant to Dutch law and the Articles of Association, decisions taken by the Board of Directors involving a major change in the Company‘s identity or character are subject to the approval of the General Meeting of Shareholders.
The role of the Supervisory Board is to supervise the Board of Directors and oversee the general affairs of the Company and its affiliated enterprises. The Supervisory Board annually evaluates its own performance. Supervisory Board members are required to put the best interests of NedSense enterprises n.v. ahead of their own interests and to act critically and independently when carrying out their responsibilities as Supervisory Board members. The NedSense Corporate Governance Code exempts no more than one Supervisory Board member from being independent. Each Supervisory Board member has the expertise required to fulfill the duties assigned to the role designated to him within the framework of the Supervisory Board profile, and the composition of the Supervisory Board shall be such that it is able to carry out its duties properly. A Supervisory Board member shall be reappointed only after careful consideration. The profile criteria referred to above shall also be fulfilled in the event of a reappointment. The Supervisory Board regulations are posted on our website at www.nedsense.com.
Any conflicts of interest or apparent conflicts of interest between the Company and Supervisory Board members shall be avoided. The Supervisory Board must approve any arrangement that would give rise to a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, provided that a member of the Supervisory Board with an interest in such matter shall not participate in determining or granting such approval. The Supervisory Board is responsible for deciding how conflicts of interest are resolved between members of the Board of Directors, members of the Supervisory Board, major shareholders or the external auditor on the one hand, and the Company on the other hand.
Shareholders and the General Meeting of Shareholders
Good corporate governance requires the full participation of shareholders. It is in the interest of the Company that as many shareholders as possible participate in the Company’s decision-making at the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders or at any Extraordinary General Meeting of Shareholders.
Pursuant to Dutch law, any decisions taken by the Board of Directors on a major change in the identity or character of the Company or its enterprise shall be subject to the approval of the General Meeting of Shareholders. The Board of Directors or the Supervisory Board provides shareholders and other parties in the financial markets with equal and simultaneous information about matters that may influence the company’s share price. Contacts between the Board of Directors on the one hand and the press and analysts on the other hand are carefully handled and structured, and the Company is prohibited from engaging in any acts that compromise the independence of analysts in relation to the Company and vice versa. The Board of Directors and the Supervisory Board shall provide the General Meeting of Shareholders with the information that it requires for the exercise of its powers, subject to such limitations as are allowed under Dutch law. If price sensitive information is provided during a General Meeting of Shareholders or if a response to a shareholder’s question results in the disclosure of price-sensitive information, then such information will be made public without delay.
External Audit and Internal Control
The Board of Directors is primarily responsible for the quality and completeness of publicly disclosed financial reports. The Supervisory Board oversees the Board of Directors as it fulfills this responsibility. The General Meeting of Shareholders appoints the external auditor after recommendation for appointment by the Supervisory Board and nomination of the Supervisory Board to the shareholders.
The Supervisory Board also approves the remuneration of the external auditor and instructions to the external auditor with respect to non-audit services.
The Company’s internal control function plays an important role in assessing and testing our internal risk management and control systems. This function operates under the responsibility of the Board of Directors, and consists of a formal framework defining key risks and key controls over financial reporting.
We are responsible for the development, implementation and operating effectiveness of the risk management and control systems aligned to our business activities. These systems are designed with a view to identifying significant risks in a timely manner and managing them as adequately as possible. They provide insight with reasonable assurance of the extent to which strategic, operational and financial objectives will be attained, financial reporting is reliable, and relevant statutory and regulatory requirements are complied with. These systems have been developed on the basis of the COSO framework.
For a description of our risk management and risk profile we refer to the section ‘Risk & Control’. The periodic risk assessments and the discussions with the management are an integral part of our risk management approach. Once a year, we discuss the overall design and operating effectiveness of our risk management and control systems as well as any significant shortcomings identified and improvement measures already implemented or intended.
We believe that our risk management and control systems provide reasonable assurance that the financial reporting does not contain any errors of material importance, and that the risk management and control systems relating to financial reporting risks operated properly in the year under review.
The external auditor attends meetings of the Supervisory Board, at which the annual accounts results are reviewed for subsequent approval by the Supervisory Board. The external auditor reports its findings from the audit of the financial statements and issues management letters if required.
Deviations from the Dutch Corporate Governance Code NedSense enterprises n.v. complies with the majority of the main recommendations and provisions of the Code. The main deviations from best practice provisions are listed below.
- Provision III.4.3: company secretary The Supervisory Board believes such organizational and administrative support of its work is currently unnecessary.
- Provision IV.3.1: advance announcements of Investor Relations Meetings The NedSense Investor Relations policy is aimed at complying with the best practice provisions in the code. However, the cost associated with the use of the infrastructure required for this are deemed to be disproportionate in view of the size of the company and the limited number of investors who are expected to actually use these facilities.