The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI) has approached the Government to build a consensus on including a new head for corporate governance compliance and secretarial advisory services under the `Services Sectoral Classification List' of the WTO.
The attempt by the premier body of company secretaries is aimed at internationalising the profession, a move that is said to require support from similar organisations operating in other countries.
ICSI, according to Mr H.M. Choraria, President, needs to look at global opportunities, which has prompted it to approach the Ministry of Commerce. The institute, he added, has initiated an exercise to acquire country-specific information in its bid to internationalise the profession.
The company secretaries' fraternity is currently trying to work out an enhanced role for itself in an increasingly globalised environment, it is pointed out. Professionals are re-skilling themselves, keeping in view developments in such areas as special economic zones, corporate taxation and competition law.
ICSI members, aware that significant taxation and other reforms have been taking place, will need to look at the emerging areas and rework their skill-sets. They will also be required to consider compliance issues, including those with global ramifications.
"Professionals must see how effectively they can pool resources and cater to local and international clients," Mr Choraria said, adding that service quality must be in tune with world standards.
ICSI, in this context, has referred to a recent meeting of the International Federation of Company Secretaries, which proposed to "universalise" the idea of establishing a global panel for developing international secretarial standards.
The International Federation of Company Secretaries was formed along with professional bodies in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kenya. The move, it is expected, will pave the way for the global brand, `company secretary'. It will also allow the profession to operate on important platforms such as the WTO. The founding institutes will work towards mutual recognition in each other's domains with a view to widening the international services base.