Responsibilities of the Finance and Remuneration Committee
Well, on finance, it was to oversee the budget, to ask the questions. The key question to me was: How can we make the budgeting process a strategic exercise? How can you design all of the boxes and cells and levers and buttons, and all the rest that goes on in the budget process? How can you design that so that it serves the strategic goals of the university? And I think we’re still working at that. Also on the finance side, universities never have enough money. It’s always a question of how do you get more? SMU had a slightly different issue. We had significant resourcing; the funding in the early years was a multiple of what we knew it was going to be when we reached steady state. It was a premium applied, four at one stage, three and then two. So what the university was doing was building up a reserve through forward funding, through front-end funding, which we could use to plan with assurance. But then we knew that when we got to a certain stage, we’d drop down to the same level of funding as the other two universities. It also looked at the extent to which budgets would be in shortfall for funding coming in from the Government and from fees, and therefore how much we needed to be focusing on fund-raising endowment, international students and international student fees perhaps, and increasingly now the types of revenue generating activities that the universities engage in, such as executive education and outreach programmes. So that was the finance side.