Trialogue has supported Alexander Forbes for 10 years, assisting them in the compilation and publication of 10 consecutive annual integrated reports, helping the company navigate changing reporting requirements while ensuring a consistency in balance and honesty regarding their value creation story.

Our advisory assistance has included <IR> Framework reviews, gap assessments and guidance on issues such as materiality, structure and content, stakeholder engagements, key performance indicators (KPIs), and integrated thinking. We have assisted in researching, interviewing and drafting their report, and supported our design partners to provide a turn-key annual reporting suite solution, including the production of their interim and annual results reports and presentations. Through this, we provided project management to guide and assist the project team to overcome key challenges to meet the milestones set.

“Trialogue continues to be a valued partner through our integrated reporting journey,” said Zakira Amra, head of l Investor Relations and Transformation at Alexander Forbes. “We look forward to working with the Trialogue team with the aim of continually maturing our level of integrated reporting over time.”

Looking back

Our journey with Alexander Forbes started in 2011, when the International Integrated Reporting Committee started drafting the <IR> Framework, which placed a focus on financial and non-financial sustainability issues. As the framework underwent a public consultation process, we were able to advise on the evolving reporting expectations. Trialogue’s background in sustainability reporting gave us an excellent foundation to provide the company with the assistance and guidance in these early years of integrated reporting. This included materiality and stakeholder assessments, as well as providing a gap analysis of their report.

As Alexander Forbes faced business challenges and opportunities over time, our continued understanding of the business ensured we were able to assist in crafting a report that provided external stakeholders with clear, accurate and balanced reporting. An example of this was their JSE listing in 2014, where we assisted Alexander Forbes to respond to growing stakeholder expectations and additional reporting requirements associated with the new ownership structure.

In 2016, we assisted the company to fully align their report to the <IR> Framework, which included restructuring the report, reviewing material matters, and identifying relevant key non-financial performance indicators. We also held sessions with the board and executives to deepen their understanding and adoption of the framework as the gold standard in reporting.

Recent work

From 2017 to 2020, we assisted Alexander Forbes in continuously improving its integrated report as best practise and amendments to the <IR> Framework, and additional sustainability guidelines that have been introduced or improved upon. This included improvements to the governance and remuneration disclosures in line with King IV, and the introduction of the UN Sustainability Development Goals into the 2020 report. In this time, we have also placed a focus on improving infographics and illustrations to best represent the business model and value creation process. From a project management perspective, we have worked to find and adopt software tools and processes to improve the project.

In late 2020, as we begun advisory work on their 2021 annual integrated report, we introduced our Integrated Thinking framework to Alexander Forbes, which is critical to ensure sustainability factors are embedded within the business and better reported to stakeholders. We have also introduced the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) materiality process to identify, assess relevance and importance, and to prioritise these issues, which will strengthen the reporting approach going forward.