Should corporate secretaries retain or destroy their documents?

A corporate secretary’s job involves producing confidential information for board meetings and storing that information. Over time, as information accumulates, corporate secretaries can feel overwhelmed by it; and they can find it difficult to decide whether they should retain or destroy certain documents.

According to a recent Thomson Reuters board governance survey, corporate secretaries prepare and disseminate an average of 6,000 pages of sensitive materials to their board each year.  Indeed, two of the survey respondents claimed to be creating more than 200 board packs a year; the average pack contained 132 pages of documents, but some ran to as many as 600.
There is a significant volume of highly sensitive and confidential material being distributed and stored – board books, committee materials and financial documents – yet 61 per cent of corporate secretaries still deliver their board documents in paper form via courier, the report states.

Corporate secretaries also have to contend with email, another important part of the information process. They often communicate with board members via this medium but it is easy for an email system to become disorganized. In fact, poor email management can lead to security breaches, legal risks and hefty fines for the company. The survey notes that 49 per cent of those polled say that despite the lack of a secured environment, e-mail remains a preferred means of distribution of sensitive board materials.

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