Intu Properties uses Diligent to revolutionise its board meetings
Intu Properties is a major FTSE 100 property company with assets of £8.8bn. According to Intu: “We own and operate some of the very best shopping centres, in the strongest locations, right across the UK, including 10 of the country’s top 25.” Intu employs over 2,000 staff. It has been a customer of Diligent Boards Limited since 2012.
Intu Properties has a main board and four board committees, with a total of 25 different board and committee members. Board and committee meetings are held at least four times per year. Prior to adopting Diligent Boards™, the company prepared paper materials, occasionally consisting of up to 250 pages, for the board members to review. Susan Marsden, Intu Properties’ Company Secretary, said: “We needed a more efficient content delivery system, both for the convenience of our directors and to save time in preparation of board and committee packs. We were also experiencing high courier costs for distribution of packs and late-night deliveries were not popular with the directors.”
Data security was also a very important factor in the move to a digital solution, said Susan Marsden: “We were concerned about confidential board papers being misplaced or wrongly delivered by a courier, and the risk of papers being lost.”
Intu’s Chairman and CEO were already using the Diligent Boards service on other boards, so they knew the advantages that digital board portals could offer. Susan reviewed a number of providers, and concluded that Diligent was the right partner for the company: “The team delivered an excellent presentation and clearly understood all of the issues faced by the Secretariat and the board in relation to board papers. I was also reassured by the fact that Diligent Boards is used by many FTSE 100 companies. In addition, Diligent’s high level of security to ensure against hacking was impressive and an important factor for us.”
Once Intu Properties made the decision, it began transitioning its board materials to Diligent Boards immediately. Within a month, Intu held its first board meeting using both paper and digital board materials, delivered on iPads. Susan Marsden said: “All our execs had one-on-one training, and our account manager from Diligent attended the meeting to offer support in case we needed it and everything ran very smoothly. Diligent also offered support and guidance to users who were not familiar with iPads. Within a few months, all executives were using the service and were very happy with it.
As a result of switching to Diligent, Intu Properties has extended its deadline for submission of board materials from 24 hours before the packs are sent out, to just three hours. This allows contributors extra time to submit their work and for administrators to check for errors prior to publication. Instant delivery now means the executives have more time to review materials ahead of meetings.
Susan Marsden estimates that the company has saved an estimated 50% of time in the production of board materials by using Diligent Boards. “We even use the app to distribute press cuttings, update calendars and send secure documentation.”
Susan Marsden says the customer service provided by Diligent is a highlight of Intu Properties’ experience: “Our account manager provides excellent support to users and to the administrators and resolves any issues, which rarely arise, rapidly. Our executives appreciate the convenience, too – not having to wait at home for a paper board pack delivery, not having to carry heavy packs around, the ease of navigation around the electronic packs and being able to write notes on their electronic papers – in all they have been delighted with the evolution to electronic board packs. In summary, I would rate our experience with Diligent as 10 out of 10.”