Our governance

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TFG remains committed to the highest standards of corporate governance. Transparency and accountability remain the key principles on which all its business activities are conducted. TFG fully supports the governance principles contained in King III and the Listings Requirements of the JSE. Governance extends beyond regulatory compliance as management aims to create and maintain a culture of good governance throughout the group.

KING III

TFG continues to apply the King III principles in terms of the composition and functioning of its governance structures and the governance of its day-to-day activities. A register of all 75 King III principles is available on our website.

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES

The non-executive board of TFG embraces the responsibilities imposed by King III and acknowledges that it is ultimately accountable for the strategy, direction, leadership, governance and performance of TFG. It also has oversight of the development, approval and updating of TFG’s purpose, value and mission statements, significant policies and goals related to economic, environmental and social impacts. The operating board is responsible for day-to-day management and operations.

The scope and functioning of the board and board committees are governed by board charters. These charters are reviewed and updated regularly. They outline the relevant authority, responsibilities, powers, composition and functioning of the board and its committees.

COMPOSITION

In accordance with King III requirements, the board of directors of TFG mainly comprises non-executive directors, with the majority being independent. The board is committed to have a gender diverse board and will, as required by the Listings Requirements, adopt a policy on this in the next financial year. The nomination committee gives due consideration to succession planning for all main board directors and ensures that all committees are appropriately constituted and chaired. The current board structure comprises 11 directors, nine of whom are non-executive directors, of which eight are independent directors and one is not regarded as independent. The remaining two directors are executive directors, namely the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, and are salaried employees of TFG.

Five committees assist the board in discharging its duties. These committees are the remuneration, risk, audit, social and ethics, and nomination committees. An overview of the functions of these committees appears later in this report. The composition of the board and its committees appears in board of directors.

DIRECTORS

The non-executive directors come from diverse backgrounds in commerce and industry. Their collective experience enables them to provide sound, independent and objective judgement in decision-making that is in the best interests of TFG. They are ultimately responsible for the performance of TFG, its long-term sustainable growth and the enhancement of shareholder value. They review and ratify TFG’s strategy in addition to monitoring and measuring its performance and executive management against key performance indicators. They provide their opinion and advice regarding the group’s financial, audit, governance, legal compliance and risk management controls. In order to ensure sustainable leadership, they review transformation and succession planning at senior levels and give input on the remuneration process.

All directors exercise unfettered discretion in the fulfilment of their duties, resulting in constructive debate at meetings that continues to yield well-considered decisions. There exists a balance of power and authority among the directors of the board.

Detailed information on the directors and their credentials appears in board of directors.

Director appointment and induction

Potential new non-executive directors go through a thorough interview procedure until a suitable candidate is chosen and appointed. The process is contained in a policy detailing the appointment procedure and it ensures that appointments are a matter for the board of directors as a whole, assisted by the nomination committee. Newly appointed directors hold office only until the next annual general meeting at which time their original appointment is confirmed and they stand for re-election at that meeting. Each year, one third of the existing non-executive directors are subject to retirement by rotation. This is in line with King III and the memorandum of incorporation. The nomination committee recommends re-election by shareholders after due consideration is given to the director’s attendance at meetings and their performance. Non-executive directors have no fixed terms and the performance of all directors is subject to an annual peer review.

A formal induction programme for new non-executive directors is in place, with the objective of maximising their understanding of the group and enabling them to immediately provide input and make well-informed decisions.

Changes to the board and committees since the publication of the previous integrated annual report (dated 22 July 2015)

On 5 November 2015, Mr G H Davin was appointed to the board as an independent non-executive director. There were the following changes to committee composition:

  • Ms B L M Makgabo-Fiskerstrand resigned from the remuneration committee on 1 October 2015.
  • Mr R Stein was appointed, effective 1 October 2015, as a member of the nomination committee and the risk committee, and as an invitee to the audit committee.
  • Mr E Oblowitz was appointed to the remuneration committee on 1 October 2015 and from this date also as Chairman of the committee.
  • As from 1 April 2016, Mr D Friedland is a member of the audit committee as opposed to being an invitee.

Independence assessment

All non-executive directors are annually required to complete an independence questionnaire to establish whether they meet the objective independence criteria in King III. Eight of the non-executive directors are independent according to the King III definition of independence.

Of the eight directors that satisfy the objective independence requirements, three have served a term in excess of nine years. The board reviewed the independence of Mr S E Abrahams, Mr M Lewis and Prof F Abrahams and after due consideration (during the relevant meeting the aforementioned directors recused themselves) concluded that the length of their association with the group in no way impaired their independence.

Remuneration and shareholding

The remuneration paid to directors during the current year and details of direct and indirect shareholdings are disclosed in the remuneration report, which appears later in this report. Information regarding their participation in share incentive schemes (which is limited to executive directors) is also disclosed.

Dealing in shares

The board complies with the Listings Requirements of the JSE in relation to restrictions on the trading of TFG’s shares by directors and employees during closed periods. Restrictions may also be placed on share dealings at other times if TFG is involved in corporate activity or sensitive negotiations.

There is a process in place in terms of the Listings Requirements of the JSE for directors to obtain prior clearance before dealing in TFG’s shares. All transactions are conducted at the ruling market price on the JSE.

Details of directors’ share dealings are disclosed on SENS.

Directors’ interests in contracts

In addition to a formal annual disclosure process, directors are required to make ongoing disclosures of any interests in contracts. During the year under review, the directors had no interest in contracts as contemplated in the Companies Act.

BOARD MEETINGS

The board typically meets quarterly in Cape Town and further meetings are held at short notice when necessary. Proceedings at meetings are directed by way of an agenda. The proposed agenda is circulated in advance of the meeting to allow board members the opportunity to request additional agenda items.

In addition, a comprehensive board pack is distributed to all members prior to meetings to ensure that they are properly informed and able to engage in meaningful discussions and effectively discharge their duties.

All directors have unrestricted access to the Company Secretary and all company records, as well as to independent professional advice at the company’s expense in appropriate circumstances.

During the current financial year, the board, inter alia, approved projections and results, approved scrip distributions, approved acquisitions, reviewed strategy at various levels, focused on current performance and considered report-backs from board committees.

BOARD AND COMMITTEE ATTENDANCE

The attendance of the directors at board meetings and board committee meetings for the financial year was as follows:

Board Remuneration Committee Risk Committee Audit Committee Nomination Committee Social and Ethics Committee
NUMBER OF MEETINGS 5 4 5 3 3 3
D M Nurek** 2 1 1# 1
F Abrahams 5 4 3
S E Abrahams 5 4# 3 3
D Friedland 5 4 5 2#
M Lewis 5 4 2# 3
B L M Makgabo-Fiskerstrand 4 1**** 2***** 3
E Oblowitz 5 2***** 5 3
N V Simamane 5 3 2
G H Davin* 2
A D Murray 5 4# 5 3# 3# 3
R Stein 5 4 3# 1*****
P S Meiring^ 2
A E Thunström*** 5 5 3# 3#
* Appointed to the board on 5 November 2015.
** Resigned from the board on 19 June 2015.
*** Appointed to the board on 1 July 2015, any prior meetings attended as invitee.
**** Resigned from the committee on 1 October 2015.
***** Appointed to the committee on 1 October 2015.
^ Retired from the board on 30 June 2015.
# Invitee.

BOARD EVALUATIONS

An annual evaluation of the board, its members and each of the committees is undertaken by way of comprehensive questionnaires sent to all board members. The results are collated and passed on to the Chairman who has a one‑on‑one interview session with each director to discuss his/her feedback and any areas of concern. The Chairman provides feedback to the full board on any actions arising from the evaluation process.

The annual evaluation is comprehensive, encompassing all aspects of the board’s responsibilities. It covers both individual member contributions and the effectiveness of the board and its committees as a whole. The evaluation in respect of the previous calendar year was completed towards the end of last year and all action items were attended to, which included ongoing training for non‑executive directors, more board and management interaction, extended time for strategic discussions at board meetings and the appointment of an additional independent non‑executive director, namely Mr G H Davin.

The next evaluation cycle will shift to a more suitable time later in the year. The process will commence in June and will be finalised by October, with feedback being given to the board at its November meeting. This year the process will be entirely conducted by secure electronic means.

COMPANY SECRETARY

The Company Secretary is accountable to the board and all directors have access to the Company Secretary’s advice and services. An arm’s length relationship with the board is maintained and the Company Secretary is not a director of the company. The Company Secretary is independent and functionally reports to the board on company secretarial matters.

The Company Secretary’s duties include but are not limited to those listed in section 88 of the Companies Act.

Every year, as part of the annual board evaluation process, the directors assess whether the Company Secretary has fulfilled the required obligations and duties. The annual assessment questionnaire gives directors the opportunity not only to rate the Company Secretary, but to raise any concerns they may have.

The board believes that the Company Secretary is suitably qualified, competent and an experienced individual who is able to provide the board with the requisite support for its efficient functioning and discharge of its duties as prescribed by the Companies Act, King III and the Listings Requirements.

On 22 May 2016, Ms D Sheard resigned as Company Secretary and Mr D Van Rooyen assumed the position.

MAIN BOARD COMMITTEES

The main board of directors delegated specific responsibilities to board committees, each with its own charter that defines its responsibilities. The committees aim to review their charters annually and undertake an annual performance evaluation. All committees are chaired by an independent non-executive director.

The board committees meet independently and provide feedback to the main board through their Chairpersons. In addition, minutes of all committee meetings are included in the main board packs and all directors are given the opportunity to raise any concerns or questions arising from these minutes.

The directors confirm that the committees functioned in accordance with their written terms of reference as contained in their charters during the financial period. An overview of each committee’s functioning and responsibilities follows.

Audit
Committee
Scheduled
meetings
Responsibility
MEMBERS
S E Abrahams (Chairman)
D Friedland*
B L M Makgabo-Fiskerstrand****
E Oblowitz
N V Simamane

INVITEES
M Lewis
A D Murray
D M Nurek***
R Stein**
A E Thunström

Three times per annum

The focus areas of the committee are:

  • to review the effectiveness of the group’s systems of internal control, including internal financial control and risk management, and to ensure that effective internal control systems are maintained;
  • to ensure that written representations on internal control are submitted to the board annually by all heads of trading and service divisions (these being representations that provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the group’s systems of internal control);
  • to monitor and supervise the effective functioning and performance of the internal auditors;
  • to ensure that the scope of the internal audit function has no limitations imposed by management and that there is no impairment on its independence;
  • to evaluate the independence, effectiveness and performance of the external auditors and obtain assurance from the auditors that adequate accounting records are being maintained;
  • to recommend the appointment of the external auditors on an annual basis;
  • to ensure that the respective roles and functions of external audit and internal audit are sufficiently clarified and coordinated; and
  • to review financial statements for proper and complete disclosure of timely, reliable and consistent information and to confirm that the accounting policies used are appropriate.
* Independent as from 31 March 2016.
** Became a non-executive director on 1 July 2015.
*** Resigned from the board on 19 June 2015.
**** Appointed to the committee on 1 October 2015.

Social and Ethics
Committee
Scheduled
meetings
Responsibility

MEMBERS
F Abrahams (Chairperson)*
B L M Makgabo-Fiskerstrand
A D Murray
D M Nurek#
N V Simamane

INVITEES
R Stein***
A E Thunström**

Three per annum

The focus areas of the committee are:

  • social and economic development;
  • good corporate citizenship;
  • the environment, health and public safety;
  • consumer relationships;
  • labour and employment; and
  • transformation.
# Resigned from the board on 19 June 2015.
* Appointed to the committee and as Chairperson on 1 October 2015.
** Invitee from 1 July 2015.
*** Invitee until 30 June 2015.

Risk
Committee
Scheduled
meetings
Responsibility

MEMBERS
E Oblowitz (Chairman)
D Friedland
A D Murray
D M Nurek#
R Stein
A E Thunström*

INVITEES
S E Abrahams
M Lewis

Five times per annum

The committee ensures that:

  • appropriate risk and control policies are in place and are communicated throughout the group;
  • the process of risk management and the system of internal control are regularly reviewed for effectiveness;
  • there is an ongoing process of identifying, evaluating and managing the significant risks faced by the group, and that this is in place throughout the year;
  • a formal risk assessment is undertaken annually;
  • there is an adequate and effective system of internal control in place to manage the more significant risks faced by the group to an acceptable level;
  • there is a documented and tested process in place that will allow the group to continue its critical business processes in the event of a disaster, inter alia, the destruction of a distribution centre, head office or computer facility that affects its activities;
  • a risk register is maintained and kept up to date; and
  • appropriate insurance cover is placed and regularly reviewed, and that all uninsured risks are reviewed and managed.
# Resigned from the board on 19 June 2015.
* Appointed 1 July 2015.

Remuneration
Committee
Scheduled
meetings
Responsibility

MEMBERS
E Oblowitz (Chairman)*
F Abrahams
D Friedland
M Lewis
B L M Makgabo-Fiskerstrand**
D M Nurek#

INVITEE
A D Murray

Four times per annum

The remuneration committee sets the group’s remuneration strategy, policies and practices. Main focus areas include:

  • recommending, reviewing and approving all remuneration for non-executive directors, executive directors and senior executives;
  • ensuring a fair balance between fixed and variable remuneration within the company’s financial constraints;
  • reviewing the short-term and long-term incentive to ensure it is market related and supports shareholder value creation; and
  • overseeing the setting of remuneration at all levels in the group.
* Appointed as Chairperson on 1 October 2015.
** Resigned from the committee on 1 October 2015.
# Resigned from the board on 19 June 2015.

Nomination
Committee
Scheduled
meetings
Responsibility

MEMBERS
M Lewis (Chairman)*
S E Abrahams
D M Nurek#
R Stein**

INVITEE
A D Murray

Three times per annum

Main functions include:

  • reviewing the board structure, size and composition;
  • reviewing the nature, size and composition of the board committees;
  • succession planning;
  • reviewing the balance between non-executive and executive directors;
  • ensuring the directors have the required blend of experience, skills and knowledge to support the continued success of the group; and
  • ensuring the existence of a formal process of performance evaluation.
# Appointed as Chairperson on 1 October 2015.
* Resigned from the committee on 1 October 2015.
** Resigned from the board on 19 June 2015.

LEGAL COMPLIANCE

Ultimate accountability for legal compliance rests with the board. The board is responsible to establish an effective legal compliance framework. Management implements this legal compliance framework and related processes to manage legal compliance risks as an integral part of enterprise-wide risk management. In addition, the board receives regulatory updates and legal compliance reports at the audit, risk and social and ethics committee meetings. The functioning and purpose of the legal compliance function is documented in TFG’s Legal Compliance Policy, which is in accordance with chapter 6 of King III.

The management of legal compliance risk refers to the current and future risk of damage or harm to TFG’s business model or objectives, reputation and financial soundness arising from non-adherence with regulatory requirements.

The responsibilities of the legal compliance function include:

  • reporting to the audit, and social and ethics committees;
  • identifying, assessing and advising TFG on existing, new or amended legislation that is applicable to TFG’s business, including giving recommendations on applicable rules;
  • facilitating legal compliance with relevant laws and rules;
  • assigning responsibility for areas of legal compliance;
  • facilitating legal compliance with internal policies, rules, guidelines and procedures;
  • drafting legal compliance risk management plans for key pieces of legislation;
  • monitoring regulatory legal compliance by the business and reporting on findings to management;
  • drafting and submitting statutory legal compliance reports to regulators; and
  • liaising with various regulators regarding regulatory reporting and legislative changes.

During 2016, additional effort was applied to:

  • continuing facilitation of compliance with amendments to credit legislation into business processes, policies and documentation;
  • attending Parliament, meeting with regulators and legislators (both in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa) to positively impact the legislative landscape taking the practicalities of the retail and financial services sectors into account;
  • obtaining regulatory frameworks and rolling out increased regulatory legal compliance measures to stores in African countries and monitoring adherence thereto;
  • supplementing legal compliance systems and procedures with technological tools to increase access to legal compliance information across divisions;
  • establishing and advocating measures that support legal compliance risk management in line with TFG’s consumer-centric focus; and
  • monitoring adherence to legal compliance in call centres, stores and head office.

TFG recently focused on the following new, amended or draft laws:

  • National Credit Amendment Act and Affordability Regulations, as well as amendments to interest rates and fees applicable to credit advanced by TFG to consumers
  • Twin peaks regulatory regime including the Financial Sector Regulation Bill
  • Amendments to the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act Codes and Draft Regulations
  • Amendments to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act
  • Insurance Draft Bill
  • Protection of Personal Information Act (partly effective)
  • National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework and Bill in Namibia
  • Consumer Credit Bill in Swaziland
  • EU Regulation on Data Protection (not effective) and the UK Modern Slavery Act

The group is impacted by, adheres to, or uses as guidance in its operations non-binding rules, codes, standards, initiatives and frameworks, which includes the following:

  • Advertising Standards Authority Code of Conduct
  • Information Technology (IT) ISO Standards and IT Governance Frameworks
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) Standard for credit and debit payment cards based on chip card technology
  • Carbon and Water Disclosure Project (CDP and WDP)
  • Kimberley Process
  • Global Reporting Initiative (GR4)
  • King Code on Corporate Governance (King III)

TFG has working groups and project boards in place to ensure there are impact assessments for significant new laws and amendments. Thereafter, timelines, implementation areas and the business owners to implement changes are agreed.

Based on key laws that are effective as at 31 March 2016, there were no material areas of non-compliance.