b'Mercia asset Management PLc63Annual Report and Accounts 2021Corporate governance reportNon-executive Chairs corporatemanagement encompasses recruitment, retention, governance statement communication, training and performance management; all As Non-executive Chair, I have overall responsibility forimportant areas of focus where our staff are our most important implementing corporate governance within Mercia Assetasset. Mercia actively encourages open dialogue between all Management PLC (Mercia, the Company or the Group).staff and we hold regular gatherings, both formal and informal, Working with the Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary,to elicit feedback and gauge how our values are being maintained I am responsible for our corporate governance standards. Thethroughout the business.Board is collectively responsible for setting the tone and culture of the Company and promoting good corporate governance. Finally, from an external perspective, Mercia seeks to operate asa socially responsible employer and has adopted standards and Mercia has been a member of the Quoted Companies Alliancepolicies which promote corporate values designed to help and (QCA) since 2015 to further its understanding of, andguide employees in their conduct and business relationships.adherence to, good corporate governance practice. It formallyThe Group seeks to comply with all laws, regulations and rules adopted the QCA Code on 21 September 2018, following theapplicable to its business and to conduct that business in line introduction in March 2018 of the London Stock Exchanges newwith applicable established best practice. The Group takes a requirement for companies admitted to trading on AIM to adoptzero-tolerance approach to bribery and corruption and has and comply with a recognised corporate governance code byenacted procedures to prevent bribery. All employees within 28 September 2018. Mercia who are involved with the regulated business of managing investment transactions receive compliance and anti-moneyStrategic report Financial statementsThe QCA Code sets out 10 corporate governance principles andlaundering training, with periodic refresher updates.requires the Group to publish certain related disclosures; these appear in this section of the Annual Report and on our website.The Directors recognise the importance of sound corporate This information is reviewed annually and the date of eachgovernance. We remain committed to delivering the long-termGovernancereview is noted on our website. success of the Group through an effective framework of leadership, management and controls. During this year we Our primary means of communicating our corporate governanceappointed Jill Williams, Investment Director, as Head of structure is through our Annual Report and our websiteEnvironmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Jill has been disclosures. When, on occasion, specific questions are raised byinstrumental in the codification of our existing values and private individual shareholders and/or institutional investors onconsidered approach to responsible investment. Our ESG policy such matters, we engage directly with those shareholders,sits at the heart of our Group operations. In all its activities, the generally through either the Chief Executive Officer or the ChiefGroup aims to be commercial and fair, to display integrity and Financial Officer. I also meet from time to time with our leadingprofessionalism and to have due regard for the interests of all its institutional investors to maintain an open dialogue in respect investors, employees, suppliers, local communities and the of progress against Mercias strategic objectives and any otherbusinesses in which the Group invests. matters which our shareholders wish to raise. I set out below how the Board is led, matters specifically reserved for it, our riskBoard compositionframework and governance structures. Mercias Directors, bothThe Board considers that it contains a range of skills, knowledge, Executive and Non-executive, believe in robust corporateexperience and backgrounds that are appropriate for the governance and we concur with the principles of the QCA Code,business. Furthermore, the Board members are of sufficient in that it is key to the long-term success of the Companybycalibre to bring independent judgement on issues of strategy, helping, inter alia, to improve performance and mitigate risk. performance, resources and standards of conduct, which are vital to the success of the Group. The Board believes that it A few words about our corporate culture: we communicate ouroperates in an open and constructive manner and works corporate culture through regular staff communications, aneffectively. In November 2020, we appointed Diane Seymour-induction programme for all new joiners and, most importantly,Williams to the Board. Diane has an asset management through the way in which the Executive Directors conductbackground and particular experience of Venture Capital Trusts. themselves. We promote openness and respectfulness in all ourDiane has settled in quickly and started making a positive dealings. Our relatively flat management structure and internalcontribution immediately. In recognition of her deep asset communication channels enable us to monitor that ethicalmanagement expertise and experience, she has recently been values are being respected and that the state of our corporateappointed Senior Independent Director.culture remains strongboth from an internal and external perspective. Our purpose and core values are communicatedBrief biographies of the Directors and their relevant experience regularly to all staff and form part of our performanceare set out on pages 58 and 59. Their membership of committees management framework. Furthermore, all employees areis set out on pages 64 and 65.encouraged to contribute to our decision-making processes and are provided with information on the financial and economic factors affecting the Groups performance through regular team meetings, updates from the Chief Executive Officer and via our open and inclusive culture. Mercias people and talent'