How Lombard embraced Diligent
With regional HQs in Luxembourg and Philadelphia, and head office in London, Lombard International Assurance uses Diligent to maximise the efficiency and coherence of group corporate governance processes. Group General Counsel and Company Secretary Monica Risam explains why she is “a big believer in Diligent.”
“I had been using Diligent for several years with my previous employer [a major UK insurance firm] and had come to appreciate the flexibility and rigour it brought,” Ms Risam said. So when she arrived at Lombard – the largest provider of wealth management life insurance products in Luxembourg- in early 2018, “I was faced with practical concerns of how to prepare and transmit thick paper-based board packs quickly and easily,” she remarked.
She found senior decision makers to be open to digitalising these procedures. Four months after a decision was taken, Diligent Governance Cloud was in operation. Most directors were quick to embrace the ability to use tablets and PCs and dispense with cumbersome piles of paper. Some traditionalists had concerns, but these were addressed by Diligent’s ease of use, and realisation of how the system adds value.
“Moving to Diligent has driven us to greater discipline around how board packs are assembled and managed, and we could use these tools to help us get our house in order,” Monica noted. She is also enthusiastic about the flexibility it gives directors regarding how they can share documents and work remotely in a secure environment.
For example, Lombard holds its regional board meetings in Luxembourg and Philadelphia on the same day, and then the group board sits in London the following day. Diligent streamlines the flow of data and documents to enable coherent oversight and decision-making.
Lombard executives were also impressed with how Diligent consultants worked to reassure them that the system conformed to Luxembourg’s professional secrecy laws. Training was also delivered in a convenient and interactive fashion.
“I’m a big believer in Diligent given its ease-of-use, high levels of security and the general product effectiveness,” said Monica. “Our board members agree, and I can’t imagine them wanting to go back to using paper,” she added.