12 April 2017 Volume :5 Issue :20

Chartered Accountant Awarded Masters Degree Cum Laude

Chartered Accountant Awarded Masters Degree <em>Cum Laude</em>
Mr Alastair Marais celebrating the moment with his parents Malcom and Glendha Marais.

Chartered Accountant and UKZN Accounting Lecturer, Mr Alastair Marais, graduated with a Master of Commerce degree cum laude.

Marais says many people feel a CA (SA) qualification is sufficient to operate in the profession and that no further academic qualifications are necessary - but he disagrees!

‘Internationally, there is an increasing number of Accounting-based professions creating greater competition. CAs need to differentiate themselves. In many countries CAs are actively encouraged to further their studies to remain in touch with latest developments.’

Marais embarked on postgraduate studies as a personal journey and a quest for professional development. ‘Studying for my masters gave me freedom and independence I never knew in my time when studying to become a CA (SA),’ he said. ‘It gave me flexibility to study what I wanted and how I wanted rather than the rather rigid process followed in the mainstream CA routes.

‘I really enjoyed this flexibility and felt that it developed my own thought processes as well as how I view the world,’ he added.

His research study titled: “Remuneration Committee Independence and Chief Executive Officer Remuneration in the South African Consumer and Technology Sectors”, explored how remuneration committee independence affects CEO remuneration.

In his study, he argues that, in a company, the remuneration committee is a subcommittee of the board of directors with the specific task of overseeing remuneration. Theoretically, if the remuneration committee is not independent of the CEO, then the CEO can be paid excessively. However, if the committee is independent, then they should pay the CEO correctly.

‘My study focused on three aspects of CEO remuneration - the level of pay, the structure of pay and sensitivity of pay to performance. It also looked at different measures of independence and how they affect CEO remuneration.

‘This study will be beneficial to shareholders and policy makers in better understanding the role of remuneration committee independence in determining CEO remuneration. They will hopefully better understand how independence affects the individual aspects of remuneration and how different measures of independence affects these relationships,’ said Marais.

As an academic in a research-led institution, Marais’ short-term plan is to publish an article from his dissertation and then later pursue doctoral studies.

Hazel Langa

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