The Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), which trains and certifies professionals who handle the legal compliance aspects of incorporated entities, said it was looking to introduce its courses as well as certified practitioners in Africa, Latin America and CIS countries, where the profession is said to be non-existent.
“We are working to facilitate Indian company secretaries to work in other countries by creating the right architecture. This is possible under mode 4 of the WTO agreement. Globally, there is a huge need for company secretaries. There is no profession of a company secretary in Russia and other CIS countries, Africa, Brazil and even in Europe with the exception of UK,” said NK Jain, secretary and CEO, ICSI.
Additionally, ICSI is looking to offer training services to local candidates in those countries. The Indian government has backed the idea, indicating even financial support for setting up training centres in those countries, Jain said, adding that proposal is still at a conceptual stage.
According to ICSI president Anil Murarka, the institute at present has 27,000 members and 215,000 students, and the latter has witnessed a growth of 40-60 per cent over the last five years. “In the context of business sentiment, investments, and new projects being set up in India, the demand for our professionals will only increase,” he said.
The Indian law prescribes employment of ICSI-certified professionals as company secretaries for all companies with a paid-up capital of at least Rs 5 crore. There are a total of around 1.1 million companies in India, of which 400,000 - 500,000 are small and do not employ a company secretary but would still use the services when needed.
The institute has tied up with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administration of the UK to enable ICSI members become members of the former by qualifying in just three out of a total of 18 papers. Depending on the terms of the agreements, ICSI members would be able to practise in multiple jurisdictions too.
ICSI is setting up a centre for training and development in corporate governance at Hyderabad, to add to the one existing at Mumbai. It has acquired a 1.3-acre site near Rajiv Gandhi cricket stadium at Uppal in the city.