CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT

Dear Shareholder,

The Board is responsible for ensuring the long-term success of the Group and is committed to delivering leadership through good governance and accountability for the benefit and protection of our shareholders and other stakeholders. In this Corporate Governance section, we outline how we have complied with the latest governance code as published by the Quoted Company Alliance (the “Code”) and explain where our policies vary from the Code.

As the Chairman of the Group, I am responsible for ensuring that the Board outlines and delivers against its strategy. To this end the full Board meets regularly throughout the year and is available for short notice meetings as required from time to time. The Board consists of three executive directors each with their own areas of expertise, together with three non-executive directors, including myself.

In accordance with the Code, the Board has a list of matters that are reserved for its authority. It delegates certain roles and responsibilities to Committees, whilst retaining overall responsibility for the decisions recommended and made. As a Board, we have decided that a Nominations Committee is not required at this time, and any future nominations will be decided by the full Board.

The Audit Committee has responsibility to monitor the overall integrity of the Financial Statements, and taken as a whole, ensure that they are fair, balanced, and understandable. It also has responsibility for monitoring the effectiveness of the Group’s management of risk, the external audit, internal controls, and the need for an internal audit. The Committee is also responsible for ensuring that the Group plans for, and adopts, the latest accounting standards. The Committee is informed by the work of the external auditors, BDO, who were appointed to the position this financial year, and considers recommendations from our Chief Financial Officer.

Our Remuneration Committee has overall responsibility for policy, basis and any changes made to the Executive Directors remuneration. It is also responsible for the approval and operation of the Group’s various share options schemes. In considering its responsibilities and to follow best practices it also takes input from the Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, third party remuneration data sources, and outside advisors where appropriate.

We are confident that the Board has adopted an appropriate corporate governance strategy that will allow us to deliver on our strategic goals.

Simon Wilson
Chairman and Non-Executive Director
3 September 2021

 

STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

The Directors recognise the importance of sound corporate governance. In accordance with the London Stock Exchange amended AIM Rules for Companies (‘AIM Rules’) the Board has chosen to apply the Quoted Companies Alliance’s (QCA) Corporate Governance Code (the ‘QCA Code’). The Board chose to apply this code as it believes that it is more suitable for small and mid-size companies.

The QCA Code includes ten governance principles and a set of disclosures. The Board has considered how we apply each principle to the extent appropriate. An explanation of the approach taken in relation to each of these principles, and any areas where we do not comply with the QCA code, is set out below.

The Board considers that it has complied with the provisions of the QCA Code, except for the following areas:

  1. The Group does not have a formal system of training for the Directors for their on-going roles, instead they are expected to keep up-to-date personally with matters relevant to their own positions through memberships of relevant professional societies, regular briefings and webinars from lawyers and accountants as well as other professional advisers and industry specialists. In addition, the Board now receives regular presentations by senior management and/or outside advisors on operational and strategic matters with high relevance to the Company. The goal of these presentations and associated discussions is to enhance and build a deeper knowledge, and understanding of, the business in particular for the non-executive directors. The recently formed Advisory Committee will provide a rich source of additional information and knowledge from which the Board intends to continue to build the Board’s knowledge of the Group’s business and its risks and opportunities into the future;
  2. The Board has not established a Nominations Committee at this time, given the current early stage and size of the Group’s business and its board. Accordingly, all matters relating to the appointment of directors are reserved for the full Board.
  3. The Company Secretary, William Good, is also the Chief Financial Officer of the Group.  Given the current early stage and size of the Group’s business and its board, separation of these two roles is not considered economically necessary at this time.

 Information on significant shareholders in the Company has been included in the Directors’ Report. 

QCA Corporate Governance Principles

The ten QCA governance principles laid down and our response to them are as follows:

Principle 1: Establish a strategy and business model which promotes long-term value for shareholders

Application

The Board must be able to express a shared view of the company’s purpose, business model and strategy. It should go beyond the simple description of products and corporate structures and set out how the company intends to deliver shareholder value in the medium to long-term. It should demonstrate that the delivery of long-term growth is underpinned by a clear set of values aimed at protecting the company from unnecessary risk and securing its long-term future.

Evidence & disclosure

The Executive Directors periodically prepare and present the strategic plan to the Board, together with any updates or refinements, which the Board then challenges in order to assess and determine the Group’s strategic priorities. Similarly, the Executive Directors each year prepare and present the Group’s annual operating plan and associated budget. The Board reviews and critiques the annual plan and budget to ensure it is consistent with the Company’s longer-term strategic plan, and achievable within near term funding and resource constraints.

At the start of this year, the Board initiated the beginning of a refreshed five-year review of the Company’s longer-term strategic goals, details of which are included in the CEO review. In April 2021 the Company raised £5.18 million in new equity funds to allow it to undertake a faster expansion into three additional regions:  Canada; Australia and mainland Europe.  This planned geographic expansion was detailed to shareholders as part of the fund raise roadshow in April and is a component of the Group’s new five-year plan under development.

Principle 2: Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations

Application

Directors must develop a good understanding of the needs and expectations of all elements of the company’s shareholder base.

The Board must manage shareholders’ expectations and should seek to understand the motivations behind shareholder voting decisions.

Evidence & disclosure

The Company has a detailed Financial Performance and Reporting (“FPR”) plan.  The CEO and CFO at least twice yearly offer meetings with its institutional and other significant shareholders to formally meet and discuss the performance of the Group to date.   Given the equity share placings in recent years, institutional shareholdings have significantly increased and as a group they now approximately 50% of the share capital of the Group.

The Company also hosts video briefings using the Investor Meet Company portal, which provides retail shareholders, as well as analysts, the opportunity to listen to, and question, the CEO and CFO.

The Chairman of the Board also offers a direct line of communication to all shareholders in case other questions arise that need to be answered independently, as well as offering meetings with institutional shareholders around the time of the AGM.

The Group has also implemented a detailed media plan publishing articles and content on social media and through the company website providing all stakeholders a further opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Group’s products and markets.

Normally the Company, once a year, holds its AGM and the Board of Directors all attend and are available to answer any specific questions raised. Last year, the AGM was not held face to face due to the COVID 19 pandemic restrictions. This year, the Board is re-assessing that decision as well as looking at ways to enhance its availability to shareholders by providing real time video access, again probably using the Investor Meet Company portal.  

Principle 3: Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success

Application

Long-term success relies upon good relations with a range of different stakeholder groups both internal (workforce) and external (suppliers, customers, partners, regulators and others). The Board needs to identify the company’s stakeholders and understand their needs, interests and expectations.

Where matters that relate to the company’s impact on society, the communities within which it operates or the environment have the potential to affect the company’s ability to deliver shareholder value over the medium- to long-term, then those matters must be integrated into the company’s strategy and business model.

Feedback is an essential part of all control mechanisms. Systems need to be in place to solicit, consider and act on feedback from all stakeholder groups.

Evidence & disclosure

The Group Corporate Responsibilities report shows that the Group has established a clear Mission, Vision and Value statement against which the Group’s corporate responsibilities can be measured.  For the first time this year the Board has made a Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006 declaration which requires a Director of a Company to act in the way he or she considers, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the Company for the benefit of its members as a whole.

The Group’s staff are enormously important to the future performance of the Group and so significant time and effort is taken to ensure that each member feels part of the PCI Pal team and is rewarded accordingly.   Last year, the CEO established a formal HR (People) department and the Group has a detailed staff handbook guiding the employees on the culture and expectations of each employee.  The employees are regularly requested to provide feedback on core matters via surveys and all are given the opportunity to have 1:1 meetings with their team leaders and managers. Throughout the year managers look for opportunities to help people enhance their career direction and personal fulfilment and ensure that each employee participates in his/her annual performance review.     Given the current high rate of growth of the business, particular focus this year has been given to the onboarding of new employees. It is the Group’s policy that all staff should be awarded share options appropriate to their position in the Group.   As a result of our policies staff retention remains high.

Both our partners and our customers are vital to the Group’s growth strategy.   Our Chief Revenue Officer (“CRO”) leads our sales operation, and his team maintains regular dialogue with all our key channel partners and new sales prospects.   However, our customer relationship management does not end with sales.   We have during the year established a new Customer Success function.   Customer Success merges our existing Service Excellence and Professional Service teams with a newly established Customer Success relationship management team.  All new customer contracts are on-boarded and deployed by our Professional Services team.  Each new contract, whether a new customer or an upsell, is allocated to a Project Manager who is responsible for co-ordinating the deployment.  Every new customer that has gone through our deployment processes is given the opportunity to provide feedback via a survey.   The results are evaluated as a Net Promoter Score (“NPS”).   Our Professional Services Team has consistently ranked in the top quartile global benchmark of the NPS standard.  Once deployed the customer’s service is proactively monitored and managed by our dedicated Service Excellence team who is available to handle and escalate accordingly any issues or requirements the Customer might request. Given our channel-first go to market strategy, Customer Success in many cases starts with ‘Partner Success’. The Customer Success team therefore includes dedicated people responsible for building relationships with our key channel partners and their customers ensuring they have a formal communication route to the Group for not only issues but also to assist them with their future growth requirements.

The Group regularly uses a number of key suppliers, for example Amazon Web Services, core telephony providers and security and compliance consultancies.   All these key suppliers are managed by specific senior members of the management team who are in regular contact with the supplier’s own customer relationship specialists.   This allows the Group to have regular dialogue with the supplier.   

Principle 4: Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation

Application

The Board needs to ensure that the company’s risk management framework identifies and addresses all relevant risks in order to execute and deliver strategy; companies need to consider their extended business, including the company’s supply chain, from key suppliers to end-customer.

Setting strategy includes determining the extent of exposure to the identified risks that the company is able to bear and willing to take (risk tolerance and risk appetite).

Evidence & disclosure

The Board is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate framework of controls is in place to enable the proper assessment and management of risks and is a specific matter of overview by the Audit Committee.  Each year the Audit Committee formally assesses the risks faced by the business. In the past this assessment was led by the Group’s CISO. This year the assessment has been led jointly by all the Executive Directors in combination with senior members of their respective management teams. The Board as a whole then reviewed its appetite and risk tolerance towards each identified risk and consciously directed the Executive Directors to allocate prioritised resources accordingly in the annual operating plan and budget. The evolution of our approach reflects the broader business risks faced by the Group, beyond those presented by information security. The findings of the annual assessment are reported in the Principal Risks, Uncertainties and Risk Mitigation report.  

Periodically through the year the Board also receives presentations from senior managers on the workings of their department, the risks, challenges and opportunities that they face. These presentations provide the non-executive directors with the opportunity to directly question the operational management teams that report to the Executive Directors, as well as provide greater context for the formal annual risk assessment exercise.

The Audit Committee, as part of the material risk and mitigation review programme, has also undertaken an annual review of the internal controls of the Group.

The Group has an information security department headed by the CISO.   This department has specific responsibility for maintaining the highest levels of security for the Group’s operations.   This can be evidenced by the maintenance of the Group’s core PCI DSS Level 1 accreditation, the highest level available, which is certified by an independent consultancy, as well as our ISO 9001, 14001, 22301 and 27001 accreditations.

The Executive Directors are responsible for the management of the business and implementing the Board’s decisions.

Principle 5: Maintain the board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair

Application

The Board members have a collective responsibility and legal obligation to promote the interests of the company and are collectively responsible for defining corporate governance arrangements. Ultimate responsibility for the quality of, and approach to, corporate governance lies with the chair of the Board.

The Board (and any committees) should be provided with high-quality information in a timely manner to facilitate proper assessment of the matters requiring a decision or insight.

The Board should have an appropriate balance between executive and non-executive directors and should have at least two independent non-executive directors. Independence is a Board judgement.

The Board should be supported by committees (e.g., audit, remuneration, nomination) that have the necessary skills and knowledge to discharge their duties and responsibilities effectively.

Directors must commit the time necessary to fulfil their roles.

Evidence & disclosure

The Board is collectively responsible for the long-term success of the Group and provides effective leadership by setting the strategic aim of the Group and overseeing the efficient implementation of these aims in order to achieve a successful and sustainable business.  The Board has a specific list of matters and activities that can only be authorised by the full Board and has delegated other matters to the CEO.

The Board of PCI-PAL PLC is made up of an independent Non-Executive Chairman, two independent Non-Executive Directors, the CEO, CFO, and CISO. Details of the Board’s experience are shown on the Board of Directors pages, which demonstrate the range of skills and insight that they bring to the Board. It is important that the Non-Executive Directors bring a wide range of skills to the Board in order to provide robust challenges to the Executive Directors and to ensure that shareholders’ interests are represented.

To assist the CEO, and the wider Board, the Group has established an Advisory Committee (the “PAC”), with the first appointment made in the financial year.  Since the end of the financial year two further members have been added to the PAC, and collectively now bring additional deep international expertise in the areas of payments, product management and customer success. In addition to providing the CEO with advice in these areas, the PAC also provides the Board as a whole an additional source of expert knowledge to help it assess the ongoing risks and opportunities faced by the Group, thereby helping the Board fulfil its duties.

The three Non-Executive Directors are deemed to be independent. In reaching this conclusion, the Board has explicitly considered the prior consulting relationship of Simon Wilson with the Company, when he provided consulting advice to the Board and senior management in its market entry to, and expansion in, North America.  As part of his compensation for these services, Mr Wilson was granted 250,000 options, the details of which are included in the Director’s Report. The professional relationship between Chris Fielding and Jason Starr has also been explicitly considered by the Board. Chris Fielding is a Managing Director at the investment bank W H Ireland, and W H Ireland has been the appointed NOMAD for The Dillistone Group PLC since 2012, where Jason Starr is CEO and executive board director.

In both cases these potential conflicts were openly discussed by all Board Directors as part of an evaluation of board effectiveness exercise undertaken in FY20. The Board concluded that these relationships do not impair the independence of character, judgement and thought of the directors concerned, and therefore all of the non-executive directors were deemed to be independent. The Board continues to hold this opinion.

All Directors are subject to election by the shareholders at the first Annual General Meeting following their appointment, and to re-election thereafter every three years.

Under the articles of association, the Board has the authority to approve any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest that are declared by individual directors; conditions may be attached to such approvals and directors will generally not be entitled to participate in discussions or vote on matters in which they have or may have a conflict of interest.

The Board typically meets formally four to six times per year to review and discuss the operating and financial performance of the company relative to its annual operating plan and budget, assess any matters specifically reserved for the board, and to review progress towards its longer-term strategic goals.  In addition, the Board often meets to discuss short notice matters to consider wider matters that are specifically reserved for its authority, such as issuing share options or undertaking the recent equity placing. The Board also authorises and holds sub-committee meetings for specific delegated matters. Due to the pandemic and the need for board meetings to be conducted remotely via video, a higher volume of shorter board meetings have taken place.  All such meetings and attendance thereof, as well as Audit and Remuneration Committee meetings, are separately identified in the table below:

Directors’ meeting attendance 2020/21

  Board Board Board Audit Audit Rem Com Rem Com
  Scheduled Short Notice Sub Committee Scheduled Short Notice Scheduled Short Notice
Executive Directors              
James Barham 6/6 7/7 6/6** - - - 5*
William Good 6/6 7/7 6/6** - 3* - 5*
Geoff Forsyth 6/6 7/7 - - - - 5*
               
Non-executive directors              
Simon Wilson 6/6 7/7 - 2/2 3/3 - 5*-
Chris Fielding 5/6 7/7 - 2/2 3/3 2/2 5/5
Jason Starr 6/6 7/7 - 2/2 3/3 2/2 5/5
               

* = attended by invitation of the Chairman of the Committee

** = during the year James Barham and William Good held 6 short notice Board meetings as an authorised committee of the Board

Directors can formally attend meetings either: in person; by conference call or by video conferencing. Since the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, all meetings in FY20/21 have been held remotely by video conference.  A hybrid approach to board meetings using a mix of face to face and/or video conference will be adopted going forward, once work from home laws are relaxed or removed.

The executive directors are employed on a full-time basis.

Division of roles and responsibilities

The Chairman is responsible for the leadership of the Board and ensuring the effectiveness of all aspects of its role. Each scheduled meeting includes an agenda that allows each Executive Director to report to the Board on performance of the business including risk analysis and monitoring. Non-scheduled meetings are normally called to discuss single points of matter, although as noted above, the number of meetings is increasing, each with shorter agendas, as the Board evolves to a hybrid approach to meetings

The Chairman’s role and the Chief Executives role have been divided. The Chairman sets the agenda for each meeting and ensures compliance with Board procedures and sets the highest standards of integrity, probity, and corporate governance throughout the Group. The Chief Executive is responsible for running the Group’s business by proposing and developing the Group’s strategy and overall commercial objectives. The Chief Executive also ensures that the Chairman is notified of forthcoming matters that may affect the running of the Group that the Chairman may not be aware of.

The articles of association require that at the AGM one third, or as near as possible, of the Directors will retire by rotation. In addition, any new Director to the Board will automatically stand for re-election at the first AGM following his or her appointment.

The Group maintains appropriate insurance cover in respect of legal action against the Directors.

Committees

The Board has established two committees to assist in its considerations and to make recommendations to the Board.   These committees are the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee, the terms of reference for each are published in full on the company website under the Corporate Governance section.

Principle 6: Ensure that between them the Directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities

Application

The Board must have an appropriate balance of sector, financial and public markets skills and experience, as well as an appropriate balance of personal qualities and capabilities. The Board should understand and challenge its own diversity, including gender balance, as part of its composition.

The Board should not be dominated by one person or a group of people. Strong personal bonds can be important but can also divide a board.

As companies evolve, the mix of skills and experience required on the Board will change, and Board composition will need to evolve to reflect this change.

Evidence & disclosure

The Directors have a broad spectrum of experience, as shown in the Board of Directors section, allowing it to assess and monitor the full spectrum of risks and requirements of the Group.   Where required the Directors will take further advice from professional advisors such as lawyers, accountants, functional and industry experts, and tax specialists.  Each Director has the full authority of the Board to take any advice they feel necessary to undertake their individual roles.

The Board has authorised the creation of an advisory committee (the “PAC”). The charter of the advisory committee and role of each member is to provide additional breadth of market, industry and functional perspectives to the CEO and the Board of Directors as a whole as the Company navigates its future. The Board believes that being able to engage over time with world-class industry expertise through the PAC, will enhance the Board’s ability to fulfil its responsibilities in the areas of strategy and risk management and to more fully address the dynamics of PCI Pal’s fast-developing global opportunity and marketplace. 

Principle 7: Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement

Application

The Board should regularly review the effectiveness of its performance as a unit, as well as that of its committees and the individual directors.

The Board performance review may be carried out internally or, ideally, externally facilitated from time to time. The review should identify development or mentoring needs of individual directors or the wider senior management team.

It is healthy for membership of the board to be periodically refreshed. Succession planning is a vital task for boards. No member of the board should become indispensable.

Evidence & disclosure

Since the formation of the PCI Pal business, in September 2016, James Barham immediately joined the Board, subsequently becoming CEO in October 2018, while William Good, the CFO, was appointed in April 2017. Simon Wilson joined as a non-executive director in November 2019 and was subsequently appointed as Chairman of the Group.

The Board conducted its first formal evaluation of its effectiveness during FY20 and has subsequently undertaken a further evaluation in FY21.  Simon Wilson conducted the evaluation using a mixed methodology of an anonymous survey tool, direct one-on-one conversations, and frank and open group discussion among all board directors together. The exercise was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the operation of the board as a whole; the board’s individual committees; as well as the contributions of each individual director. The objective of these assessments is to enable the board, its committees, and its directors to set out down a path of continuous and incremental improvement of our governance at all levels. As part of the goal for continuous improvement, the evaluation of board effectiveness will be on-going periodic assessment process.

The broad conclusions of the FY21 evaluation were that during the year there had been substantial improvement in the running of the Board and sub- committees. There were several areas where further improvements were identified, especially as the work of the board naturally expands over time in the face of change, growth and complexity of the business. For example, in terms of the organisation of board meetings there had been a greater focus on the balance of agenda topics, the frequency, length and communication mode of meetings, and increased attention to forward looking matters. There is also recognition of the need to continue to deepen non-executive directors’ knowledge of operational and market aspects of the Group’s business; and to expand of the overview work of the two existing committees.

Examples of action already taken by the Board as a result of this evaluation process include: deep dive subject matter presentations by a variety of senior management; regularly scheduled closed board sessions where the non-executive Directors can discuss matters openly without management present; more extensive and scheduled committee activities; use of outside advisors; establishment of the PAC; rationalisation of information provided by management to the Board, and active and timely assessment of the effectiveness of each individual Board and committee meeting. The topic of succession planning has also been actively discussed by the Board in FY21 in the context of the likely needs of the business relative to its new evolving five-year strategic growth plan.  Planning is now underway to anticipate the refresh of non-executive directors when they approach a nine-year period of service.

Principle 8: Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours

Application

The Board should embody and promote a corporate culture that is based on sound ethical values and behaviours and use it as an asset and a source of competitive advantage.

The policy set by the Board should be visible in the actions and decisions of the chief executive and the rest of the management team. Corporate values should guide the objectives and strategy of the company.

The culture should be visible in every aspect of the business, including recruitment, nominations, training and engagement. The performance and reward system should endorse the desired ethical behaviours across all levels of the Company.

The corporate culture should be recognisable throughout the disclosures in the annual report, website and any other statements issued by the company.

Evidence & disclosure

The Group has an established corporate and social responsibility policy as detailed in the Corporate and Social Responsibilities report, which is also published on the Group website and in the Company employee handbook.  The Group has also put in place procedures to formally monitor its Environmental, Social and Governance impact, which is also published on the Group website.

Every new member of staff undertakes an induction programme which includes a full briefing on the company handbook and an understanding as to the requirements on the moral, ethical and behavioural requirements of each employee.

Every employee will be given the opportunity to undertake further training at the Company’s expense, so long as it is deemed to enhance the future of the business.

Performance of individuals and teams is monitored on a monthly basis.  The Group has a “no fault” policy to errors actively encouraging employees to highlight any errors that have occurred and to allow the business to establish a solution to the error and to put in place any changes in systems and procedures that should stop the error reoccurring.

The majority of new employee positions are advertised to all employees in the Group and where possible we will look for opportunities to prepare and promote existing employees to more senior positions, before offering a position to a new externally hired person.   In FY21 we promoted three employees to VP level positions as we continue to evolve our departmental structure in preparation for the further expansion of the Group.

Every quarter the CEO holds an “all hands” briefing where he will outline the performance of the Group and the positives and negatives it has faced.    All employees in the Group have access to Microsoft Team’s and so can “chat” to any member of staff independently, including the CEO and Executive Directors, and raise any issues or questions they wish.

Principle 9: Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the Board.

Application

The company should maintain governance structures and processes in line with its corporate culture and appropriate to its size and complexity; and capacity, appetite and tolerance for risk.

The governance structures should evolve over time in parallel with its objectives, strategy and business model to reflect the development of the company.

Evidence & disclosure

The Directors review a management reporting pack each month focused upon financial and operating metrics and performance against budgets and other targets. More detailed Board reports are prepared by management on a quarterly basis, which cover both financial statements as well as operational and strategic topics considered important and timely to the business. As noted above, the board also now receives periodic deep dive presentations on the operations of the business.

During the year the Group has evolved its management and departmental structure.  As detailed earlier the Customer Success function has been created bringing greater clarity to the support and continued relationship with our customers and channel partners.   In addition, since the year end, the Group has formed its first formal Product Management team who will take responsibility for ensuring that the products we sell are designed, delivered, and priced to meet the market requirements of both partners and customers.

Taken together, these reports, evolving organisational structure, and board meetings enable the Directors to fulfil all of their duties of stewardship. 

Principle 10: Communicate how the company is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with shareholders and other relevant stakeholders

Application

A healthy dialogue should exist between the Board and all of its stakeholders, including shareholders, to enable all interested parties to come to informed decisions about the company.

In particular, appropriate communication and reporting structures should exist between the Board and all constituent parts of its shareholder base. This will assist the communication of shareholders’ views to the Board; and the shareholders’ understanding of the unique circumstances and constraints faced by the company.

It should be clear where these communication practices are described (annual report or website).

Application & disclosure

The Board recognises the importance of regular and effective communication with shareholders. The primary forms of communication are:

  1. The annual and interim statutory financial reports and associated investor and analyst presentations and reports.  The Company regularly presents to its larger institutional and other significant shareholders who, in combination, own approximately 50% of the Company shares. In addition, the Company uses the Investor Meet Company portal where the CEO and CFO share with our retail investors the presentations made to the larger institutions above.   These presentations are normally recorded so that investors who miss the original meeting can receive the information.
  2. Announcements relating to trading or business updates released to the London Stock Exchange. As the Company grows, the Board is committed to expanding its disclosures to ensure that all stakeholders are able to fully understand not just the Company’s financial results, but also its business model, key metrics, and strategy.
  3. The Company has in FY21 re-designed its main website and its associated investor pages adding in additional information that helps provide a greater understanding of the Group and its business, as well as providing a useful source of other information.

In normal circumstances, pre-pandemic, the Annual General Meeting provides shareholders with an opportunity to meet the Board of Directors and to ask questions relating to the business. The Company hopes to be able to have an open AGM this year depending on government guidelines.  The Chairman also offers all major shareholders an opportunity to meet and share their views on the strategy of the Company and its board and management team around the time of each AGM. All votes made at any AGM or EGM are published and the Board will publish commentary on any vote where 20% or more of the independent shareholders have voted against any resolution.

All statutory financial reports are published on www.pcipal.com and are made available on a timely basis.

SHAREHOLDER ENGAGEMENT

The Board believes it has a successful engagement with all its shareholders and recognises the importance of regular and effective communication with them. The primary forms of communication are:

  1. The annual and interim statutory financial reports and associated investor and analyst presentations and reports.
  2. Announcements relating to trading or business updates released to the London Stock Exchange.
  3. The Annual General Meeting which provides shareholders with an opportunity to meet the Board of Directors and to ask questions relating to the business.

All statutory financial reports are published on www.pcipal.com and are made available on a timely basis.

Contact with significant shareholders

James Barham, the Group CEO, is in regular dialogue with the significant shareholders as detailed in the Voting Rights and Capital section of this website.

James, along with his fellow executive directors, as required, meet with or talk with these shareholders to gain a good understanding of their needs and expectations for the business.

The dialogue of these meetings are reported back to the full Board at the next available meeting and the Board will take due consideration of the matters discussed in shaping the on-going strategy for the business.

The Chairman will offer to meet with the significant shareholders at least once a year if requested.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Directors of the company have been delegated clear, individual responsibilities, in line with their skill sets and experience. Each director reports regularly to the full board on the performance of the company in relation to their areas of responsibility.

ATTENDANCE

Full details of the directors attendance at meetings are published in the annual report and accounts for the year.

DIVERSITY AND GENDER BALANCE

There are currently no female directors on the main Board of the Company. The Board is confident both that the opportunities in the Company are not excluded or limited by any diversity issues (including gender) and that the Board nevertheless contains the necessary mix of experience, skills and other personal qualities and capabilities necessary to deliver its strategy.

MATTERS RESERVED FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The Board has delegated the day to day management of PCI-PAL PLC to the Chief Executive and the executive management team. This document sets out the list of matters which are to be decided by the Board of directors as a whole.

Matters which the Board considers suitable for delegation to its committees are contained in the terms of reference of its committees.
In addition, the Board will receive reports and recommendations from time to time on any matters which are significant to the company or which the Board requests due to the significance of such matters to the company or group.

The Board reserves to itself:

1. Strategy and Management
1.1. Responsibility for the overall leadership of the company.
1.2. Approval of the group’s strategic aims and objectives, vision and mission and values.
1.3. Approval of the company’s business plan and budgets and any material changes to them.
1.4. Oversight of the group’s operations and management.
1.5. Review of performance in the light of the group’s strategic aims, objectives, business plans and budgets and ensuring that any necessary corrective action is taken.
1.6. Extension of the group’s activities into new business or geographic areas
1.7. Any decision to cease to operate all or any material part of the group’s business

2. Structure and Capital
2.1. Major changes to the group’s corporate structure including, but not limited to, the establishment of affiliates and subsidiaries.
2.2. Changes to the group’s management structure.

3. Financial Reporting
3.1. Approval of the Annual Report and Accounts, any narrative reporting contained in the Annual Report and any other formal documents that are made publicly available and which contain financial statements.

4. Risk Management and Internal Controls
4.1. Responsible for a sound system of internal control and risk management and oversight and review of risk management and internal control.

5. Approvals
5.1. Approval of major capital projects, investments or contracts in excess of the amounts delegated under the Delegated Signing Authority Policy approved by the Board from time to time.
5.2. Approval of any other contracts of the company (or any subsidiary) not covered by 5.1 that is not in the ordinary course of business, for example loans and repayments outside previously agreed payment arrangements.
5.3. Approval of giving notice of the suspension or termination of any material arrangements, contracts or transactions.
5.4. Commencement, defence or settlement of claims and/or legal proceedings being otherwise material to the interests of the group
5.5. Approval of any shareholder resolution required or requested by a subsidiary of the company.

6. Communication
6.1. Ensuring dialogue with stakeholders occurs based on the mutual understanding of objectives.

7. Board Membership and other Appointments
7.1. Appointments and removals: Board membership including Senior Independent Director, membership and chairmanship of Board committees and appointment of the Chief Executive.
7.2. The appointment and removal of the Chairman
7.3. Ensuring that adequate succession planning is in place for the Board, the Chief Executive and the executive management team.
7.4. Reviewing the Chief Executive’s appointments to the executive management team.
7.5. Approving the suspension or termination of service of the Chief Executive or any member of the executive management team as an employee of the company, subject to the law and their service contract.
7.6. Appointment or removal of the company secretary.
7.7. Appointment, reappointment or removal of the external auditor following the recommendation of the Audit Committee.
7.8. Appointments to the boards of subsidiaries.

8. Remuneration
8.1. Determining the remuneration policy and remuneration for the Chief Executive and the executive management team.
8.2. Determining the remuneration of the non-executive directors

9. Delegation of Authority
9.1. Approval of the division of responsibilities between the Chairman and the Chief Executive.
9.2. Approval of the delegated levels of authority, including the Chief Executive’s authority limits.
9.3. Approving the terms of reference of Board committees
9.4. The Board may instruct any Committee to undertake a detailed investigation of any matter which the Board considers significant to the company or group.

10. Corporate Governance Matters
10.1. Determining the independence of non-executive directors.
10.2. Reviewing the group’s overall corporate governance arrangements.
10.3. Receiving reports on the views of the company’s stakeholders to ensure they are communicated to the Board as a whole.

11. Other
11.1. Any decision reasonably likely to have a material impact on the company or group from any perspective, including, but not limited to, financial, operational, strategic or reputational.
11.2. Approving this document of Matters Reserved for Board decision.

 

 

EVALUATION AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

The Group does not have a formal system of training for the Directors for their on-going roles, instead they are expected to keep up-to-date personally with matters relevant to their own positions through memberships of relevant professional societies; regular briefings from lawyers and accountants as well as other professional advisers.

In light of the Company’s recent rapid growth, substantive change in its business and operating model, and changes in its executive leadership and board composition, the Board conducted its first formal evaluation of effectiveness during FY 20. Simon Wilson, the newly appointed director and Chairman conducted the evaluation using a mixed methodology of an anonymous survey tool, direct one-on-one conversations, and frank and open group discussion among all board directors together. The exercise was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the operation of the board as a whole; the board’s individual committees; as well as the contributions of each individual director. The objective of these assessments is to enable the board, its committees and its directors to set out down a path of continuous and incremental improvement of our governance at all levels. As part of the goal for continuous improvement, the evaluation of board effectiveness will be on-going periodic assessment process.

The broad conclusions of this initial evaluation were that there were a number of areas where improvements in effectiveness could be made, and an acknowledgment that the work of the board naturally expands over time in the face of change, growth and complexity of the business. For example, in terms of the organisation of board meetings, focus and balance of agenda topics, increased attention to forward looking matters, deepening of non-executive directors’ knowledge of operational aspects of the new Cloud business, and expansion of committee work.

Examples of action already taken by the Board as a result of this evaluation process include; deep dive subject matter presentations by a variety of senior management, regularly scheduled closed board sessions where the non-executive directors can discuss matters openly without management present, more extensive and scheduled committee activities, use of outside advisors, rationalization of information provided by management to the Board, and active and timely assessment of the effectiveness of each individual board and committee meeting.

SUCCESSION PLANNING

The Board does not carry out a formal assessment of succession planning for its members, but does so informally from time to time.

CORPORATE CULTURE & RISKS

CORPORATE CULTURE & RISKS

The Board has not prepared a formal statement on culture, ethical values and behaviours and so there is no formal, regular measurement or assessment of this.

However, the Group has less than 100 employees operating from two principal locations. The Board is therefore confident that it can adequately assess the corporate culture within the Group.

The Group published its mission, vision and value statement as part of its Corporate Responsibilities statement which can be found in latest report and accounts for the most recent financial year.

Company handbook

All subsidiaries have adopted a detailed company handbook that is available online for all employees. Within the hand book are specific guidance on:

  • The Group vision and mission statement
  • Behaviour and conduct while at work
  • Caring for others
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Ethical policies such as the Bribery Act requirements
  • Health, Safety and Well Being
  • Employment benefit schemes
  • Time and attendance rules

PRINCIPAL RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES
The Group is exposed to several risks factors that may affect its performance.

The Board has a framework for reviewing and assessing these risks on a regular basis and has put in place appropriate procedures to mitigate, where possible, against them.

No system of control or mitigation can completely eliminate all risks.

The Board has determined that there a number of principal risks facing the Group. The latest risks that have been identified have been published in the latest Report and Accounts on the performance of
the Group. These reports can be found here.

STAKEHOLDER & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

STAKEHOLDER AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

The long-term success of the Company relies on good relations with many different stakeholder groups.

Business stakeholders

The business has been structured internally into several distinct departments, being:

  • Corporate – lead by the CEO
  • Sales – Led by the CRO
  • Marketing – Led by the SVP Global Marketing
  • Engineering – Led by the CTO
  • Infosec – Led by the CISO
  • Professional Services – Led by the SVP Professional Services
  • Finance – Led by the CFO

Each department has a dedicated head who is responsible for the various stakeholders within their departments, so for instance, the CFO is responsible for working with the Auditors or the CISO is responsible for working with the external CSO responsible for the PCI DSS compliance testing.

Each head builds up an understanding of the needs, expectations and requirements of each stake holder, be they an employee, a customer or supplier.

On a regular basis the heads of departments are able to report back to the wider management team any positive or negative views and the team discuss any required responses when compared to the Company’s overall corporate aims and culture.

Any agreed changes will be implemented by the appropriate head.

Shareholders and external regulatory stakeholders

The CEO is responsible for shareholder liaison and communication as detailed in the shareholder engagement section.

The CEO is also responsible for the day-to-day engagement with the Company NOMAD, lawyers and advisers although any director can contact any adviser they wish to speak to, as they see fit, if they require specific advice.

The CEO updates the full Board, as part of his standard board report, on any material shareholder and external regulatory stakeholder meeting and conversations held.

GOVERNANCE COMMITTEES

GOVERNANCE COMMITTEES

The Board of directors have established the following committees:

  • An Audit Committee
  • A remuneration committee

The Board has not established a nominations committee responsible for overseeing the recruitment of Board directors and succession planning as they believe the Company is too small to warrant such a requirement.

Audit Committee

The Chairman of the Committee is Chris Fielding

The terms of reference of the audit committee can be downloaded here.

Remuneration Committee

The Chair of the Committee is Jason Starr.

The terms of reference of the remuneration committee can be downloaded here.

The committee is responsible for setting the terms and conditions of employment for the executive directors and meet on two occasions during the year.

The current policy is to set remuneration in accordance with market conditions in order to attract, retain and motivate the executive board.

The committee reviews Group performance and arising from those reviews may determine performance related bonuses.

No director is involved in deciding his or her own remuneration level or performance related bonuses.

The fees for non-executive directors are set at smaller turnover AIM quoted market rates to attract individuals with the necessary experience and ability to make a substantial contribution to the Group’s affairs and its continued development.