b'Corporate governance reportNon-executive Chairs corporateFinally, from an external perspective Mercia seeks to operate as a governance statement socially responsible employer and has adopted standards and policies As Non-executive Chair, I have overall responsibility for implementingwhich promote corporate values designed to help and guide employees corporate governance within Mercia Asset Management PLC (Mercia,in their conduct and business relationships. The Group seeks to comply the Company or the Group). Working with the Chief Financial Officerwith all laws, regulations and rules applicable to its business and to and Company Secretary, I am responsible for our corporate governanceconduct that business in line with applicable established best practice. standards. The Board is collectively responsible for setting the tone andThe Group takes a zero tolerance approach to bribery and corruption culture of the Company and promoting good corporate governance. and has enacted procedures to prevent bribery. All employees within Mercia who are involved with the regulated business of managing Mercia has been a member of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA)investment transactions receive compliance and anti-money since 2015 to further its understanding of, and adherence to, goodlaundering training, with periodic refresher updates.corporate governance practice. It formally adopted the QCA Code on 21 September 2018, following the introduction in March 2018 of theThe Directors recognise the importance of sound corporate London Stock Exchanges new requirement for companies admitted togovernance. We remain committed to delivering the long-term trading on AIM to adopt and comply with a recognised corporatesuccessof the Group through an effective framework of leadership, governance code by 28 September 2018. management and controls. In all its activities, the Group aims to be commercial and fair, to display integrity and professionalism and to The QCA Code sets out 10 corporate governance principles and requireshave due regard for the interests of all of its investors, employees, the Group to publish certain related disclosures; these appear in thissuppliers, local communities and the businesses in which the section of the Annual Report and on our website. This information isGroupinvests.reviewed annually and the date of each review is noted on our website. Board compositionOur primary means of communicating our corporate governanceThe Board considers that it contains a range of skills, knowledge, structure is through our Annual Report and our website disclosures.experience and backgrounds that are appropriate for the business. When on occasion specific questions are raised by private individualFurthermore, the Board members are of sufficient calibre to bring shareholders and/or institutional investors on such matters, we engageindependent judgement on issues of strategy, performance, resources directly with those shareholders, generally through either the Chiefand standards of conduct, which are vital to the success of the Group. Executive Officer or the Chief Financial Officer. I also meet from time toThe Chief Financial Officer also served as Company Secretary time with our leading institutional investors to maintain an openthroughout the year, and up until 1 July 2020, on which date dialogue in respect of progress against Mercias strategic objectives and any other matters which our shareholders wish to raise. I set out below how the Board is led, matters specifically reserved for it, our risk framework and governance structures. Mercias Directors, both Executive and Non-executive, believe in robust corporate governance, and we concur with the principles of the QCA Code, in that it is key to the long-term success of the Companyby helping, inter alia, to improve performance and mitigate risk.A few words about our corporate culture. We communicate our corporate culture through regular staff communications, an induction programme for all new joiners and, most important of all, through the way in which the Executive Directors conduct themselves. We promote openness and respectfulness in all our dealings. Our relatively flat management structure and internal communication channels enable us to monitor that ethical values are being respected and that the state of our corporate culture remains strongboth from an internal andSarah-Louise Thawley LLB (Hons) was promoted to the role of Group external perspective. Our purpose and core values are communicatedGeneral Counsel and Company Secretary. The Board believes that it regularly to all staff and form part of our performance managementoperates in an open and constructive manner and works effectively. framework. Furthermore, all employees are encouraged to contributeGiven the Groups evolution as a specialist asset manager, the Board to our decision-making processes and are provided with information onintends to appoint an additional Non-executive Director with a relevant the financial and economic factors affecting the Groups performanceasset management background in the near term, and furthering Board through regular team meetings, updates from the Chief Executivediversity also remains important to Mercia.Officer and via our open and inclusive culture. Mercias people and talent management encompasses recruitment, retention,Brief biographies of the Directors and their relevant experience are set communication, training and performance management; all importantout on pages 56 to 57. Their membership of committees is set out on areas of focus where our staff are our most important asset. Merciapages 61 to 62.actively encourages open dialogue between all staff and we hold regular face-to-face gatherings (more recently via Zoom), both formal and informal, to elicit feedback and gauge how our values are being maintained throughout the business.60 Mercia Asset Management PLCAnnual Report and Accounts 2020'