Being a non-executive director of a regulated financial services company requires FSA approval in the UK, a regime which has recently been improved to ensure that candidates are fit and proper with respect to both character and expertise.
A Non Executive / Independent Director brings a welath of experience and expertise:
An independent or Non Executive Director:
- can help hard-pressed internal business leaders to lower the risk of failure of a change to your business.
- is free of all internal politics that exist in every organisation, so can concentrate his skills and contribution on delivering change, be it cost savings, improvements in service, improvements in revenues - working with and supporting the business leaders
- can work full time for a short period to help you overcome an existing resource or skills issue, or can work a few days a month for an extended period.
- is someone who has gained considerable business management experience across many organisations. You can benefit from this experience
- adds “weight” to a Board in the eyes of external parties
- is someone, who does not require “company benefits”, delivers results fast and takes care of his own tax and National Insurance contributions, so is often a lower cost to your business than an employee.
- is there when needed - and you don't pay for them when they aren't needed.
- but fundamentally is there to work with you to deliver real value to your business or organisation
The “Corporate Governance Code and Guidelines for Unlisted Companies” notes that appointing an external adviser or Independent Director is one of the first significant steps in helping small businesses to grow and become successful. The role of the Independent is to provide external input, challenge, mentoring and support – sometimes described as a “Wise Owl” - and this important step in a Company’s growth is regarded very positively by (for example) providers of external finance.