Our 3C’s: Controls, Commerciality and Culture

Our 3C’s: Controls, Commerciality and Culture

Our 3C’s: Controls, Commerciality and Culture 150 150 Glenn Calder

Recently we’ve been talking a lot about our purpose or ‘why’ at Viridian. We want to really understand people so we can help them live the life that they choose. Everything we do must be aligned to this purpose.

To help us achieve this we have a framework that we call our three C’s – commerciality, controls and culture. These principles are the ethical, moral and legal framework that guide our actions and decisions every day.

The 3C’s are our guiding principles

The 3C’s stand for commerciality, controls and culture.

Controls are about protecting our Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). The obligations that go with an AFSL are immense and not to be understated. We cannot operate without a licence, so meeting our obligations are critical in maintaining the trust of our clients.

Commerciality is about operating a sustainable business. We want to make sure that our people and our clients have certainty in their life. To do that, we need to make sure that everything we do makes long-term business sense. If we don’t have a sustainable business, we can’t help anyone.

Finally, our most important principle is culture. Whilst controls and commerciality are critically important, these do not make us unique. Culture means that whether you’re an employee or customer, you should feel like Viridian is a place that ‘gets you’. It’s about our people really understanding each other and holding each other to account. We want every decision we make to enhance this culture inside Viridian.

How these principles guide every decision

When we make any decision at Viridian, it needs to consider our purpose and the three 3C’s. That means that every decision must tick culture, tick controls and tick commerciality. Each of these principles is a gate that needs to be passed when making a decision – two out of three is not enough. So, what does this mean in practice?

The lens of controls is probably the easiest one to understand. Every decision we make must comply with the obligations of our AFSL. Compliance may not directly pay dividends or drive our growth, but it allows our firm to be sustainable. Regardless of the commercial or culture impact, we will never make a decision that jeopardises our AFSL or the trust of our clients.

When making a decision with the commerciality lens, we consider whether something will allow us to make returns that we can give back to our shareholders or help us achieve our goal of being a long-term sustainable business. When we made the decision to make every employee a shareholder in the business, this ticked commerciality because being a shareholder connects our people to our company’s goals. It also helps everyone think about the long-term sustainability of our business.

Culture is probably the most difficult lens to apply but it’s closely linked to our purpose. When thinking about culture we ask: “is this consistent with who we are at Viridian?” and “Is this consistent with really understanding each other and holding people to account?” If it does then it’s likely to pass the culture lens. For example, recently we rejected a business that wanted to join Viridian because we didn’t think they were culturally aligned with us. They wanted to force us to make a quick decision. In doing that, we didn’t have the chance to really understand them and that’s not part of our culture.

We’re committed to the 3Cs and hope that our people will call out any decision that they believe doesn’t pass all three. That’s the kind of business that we strive to be – one where everyone is aligned in our purpose and holds each other accountable.

Glenn Calder is Chief Executive Officer at Viridian Advisory

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