Improving Communication, Coordination Among Board Committees

A recent blog post from the NACD discusses how boards with multiple committees can better effectuate communication and coordination. The author, Patrick Lee a senior adviser with KPMG, writes that “in the absence of close coordination and communication, there is a risk that the board may become balkanized, with each standing committee focused on its own oversight activities and thus failing to share important information that other committees and the entire board may need for their respective oversight.” The blog post may be informative for fund boards as new regulation, including the derivatives and valuation rules result in additional committees or assignments for existing committees. According to Lee’s blog post, overloaded committee agendas, the absence of a clear delineation of oversight responsibilities, and a lack of understanding of the information needs of each committee can contribute to problems in communication and coordination among committees and the full board.  Lee provided practices boards can deploy to encourage effective information sharing and coordination, including identifying areas where committee oversight responsibilities may overlap and developing a process for frequent communication, sharing, and discussion of oversight activities; overlapping committee memberships or informal cross-attendance at committee meetings; and holding joint committee meetings periodically.