James Crane - Park Square Capital

Convene Customer Success

Park Square Capital

Head of Technology - James Crane discusses how Convene helps Park Square Capital manage Board papers for their numerous Board and Committees

Image: James Crane

"Feedback from Board members is that Convene is the Board platform they like the most partly because it’s so easy to use and navigate."


Please describe your organisational structure and how and where Convene is used

We are headquartered in London, but we have a number of our people based at different locations including the US, Asia and a number of European countries.

We have an Executive Committee which is the Management group. The exec committee meet weekly with ten attendees located internationally. The Board pack is comprised of typically 8-10 agenda items each one with its own set of papers, and usually one or two attachments, but then some of the sections may have ten attachments. It’s a very consistent process week on week.

Secondly, our Investment committee, who are responsible for identifying and assessing investment opportunities, meet two or three times a week. Papers can often be submitted late as investment opportunities can be changing live. The agenda is usually made up of 1-3 items, and the papers are anything between 25 and 100 pages long, so the ability to publish those quickly is essential. We have a Teams chat running with the members of the committee where I would indicate when a particular paper is available. That works really well because if you’re in New York or Luxembourg, you can immediately access the relevant papers, and it’s possible to publish it whether I’m in the office or elsewhere.

How has Convene improved the meeting preparation process?

On the meeting set-up side, it definitely saves time. For example, if someone submits a paper over the weekend, it can be taken care of easily. Reordering the agenda is nice and easy, so if there are any last-minute changes to the order of things, they can be taken care of seamlessly.

When we used to print papers someone had to work late in the office preparing Board packs ready for a meeting the following day. The senior members of the committee would also have to wait until papers were ready and printed off, and internationally it was a bit of a nightmare! With Convene we have considerably more control and flexibility.

Our first priority was around logistics and ensuring how the right people would always have the relevant papers for meetings in order to be prepared for scheduled discussions. As we thought through that, reducing our paper use and printing costs was also an obvious advantage.  Our metrics showed that the year before we implemented Convene we got through something like 950,000 sheets of paper whereas the following year it reduced to 90,000 and since then its fallen further as we migrated more to Convene. So over a 90% reduction in paper use and significant savings in terms of monetary cost.

How did Convene help during the pandemic?

We implemented Convene about 5 years ago, so when Covid hit it was very easy for us to continue to push the use of Convene to replace the use of paper. All our meeting documents were held in Convene, and throughout Covid, we used Convene for our main Governance meetings.

How is Convene performing for you as far as Security is concerned?

Prior to Convene, we were sending sensitive documents via email. Having the ability to put sensitive meeting information into Convene gives us added confidence since it’s a secure system. This is especially important for our Board members - some of whom sit on other Boards. It’s no longer a case of having to mail information to our members, all we have to do now is inform them of the fact that everything is held securely on Convene.

The permissions function really heightens the security aspect for us. We do have agenda items that must be restricted.  With Convene, we don’t have to have a separate meeting or a separate pack, I can just restrict one agenda item and as well as being effective from a security standpoint, this function also serves as excellent proof to our regulators since we can easily demonstrate the fact that nobody apart from the intended recipient has had access to the document.

How has Convene been received by your users?

Feedback is generally very good, and people seem to like the system.  We did trial SharePoint as a meeting storage solution, but we found it very confusing. The nice thing about Convene as a user (as opposed to an administrator) is that it’s presented as a flat file where you open one thing and can simply scroll through whereas a lot of the other solutions that we’ve looked at over the years almost have too much functionality. Convene is very clean and crisp as a system.

We looked at Diligent and Boardpacks, but we liked the simplicity of Convene. The user experience both as a Board/Committee member and an administrator is straightforward.

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