The adoption of technology in the boardroom is leading to higher visibility of fund board trustees, as well as more frequent and targeted communication among trustees and senior executives at the fund complexes they oversee, according to Joe Ruck, president of BoardVantage. The iPad, in particular, has been a game changer with regard to how boards do business, he told FDI.
The director world is increasingly an iPad world, Ruck said. And while directors have been using iPads and other electronic tablets for board business for some time (FDI, 2/3/2011), they have more recently begun to expand that usage and use the devices in more sophisticated ways, he noted.
A lot of directors wanted more visibility, wanted to hear more and get more frequent updates from [fund executives] and they didnt want to do it over email, which is a horribly insecure medium, Ruck said. The introduction of online board portals that can be accessed via the iPad or through a web browser on a laptop allows directors to receive regular formal communications and interact more frequently in a less formal way as well, he explained, adding the portals are secure, and information can be targeted to specific individuals or committees with no fear of wider distribution beyond the intended recipients.
Ruck anticipates continued expansion of these portals to incorporate customized capabilities modeled after more widely used social networks and applications. If you look at some parallel models, it makes a lot of sense; they just need to be adapted for particular needs of boards, he said, noting security and privacy are the biggest issues.