13 2018 ANNUAL REPORT therewith safeguarding the quality and continuity of the company’s overall management. The Supervisory Board and Management Board recognize the importance of sufficient diversity and female representation at Management Board level, and discuss this both formally and informally on a frequent basis. Unfortunately, at the time of the vacancy at MBE there were no female candidates available and brought forward by the shareholder, and Mr. Katayama was considered the most appropriate candidate to support the strategic direction MBE is taking. The Supervisory Board and Management Board have however identified this as an important issue, and will continue to support prospective female candidates for future open positions at Supervisory Board and Management Board level. 2.2 Professional Excellence The Supervisory Board attended multiple educational sessions as a part of MBE’s Lifelong Education Program. In 2018 the educational session topics consisted of the following: • Data: Opportunities, protection, threats, with an eye on the future of banking, by Mrs. Nora Boukadid and Mr. Toon Segers from Deloitte; • FinTech and Business Development by Mr. Simon Lelieveldt; • Brexit and Mizuho Brexit contingency planat Mizuho Bank Ltd., London branch by internal Brexit Project Board and Andrew Gray (PwC Global Head of Brexit for Financial Services) together with Nick Morrison (PwC Partner). The Supervisory Board self-evaluated its functioning through the annual self-assessment. In line with the Dutch Banking Code, this self-assessment is evaluated every three years under independent supervision. As of 2017, the self-evaluation process was enhanced by interviews conducted by Mr. Van de Merwe with each member of the Supervisory Board, as well as Management and other stakeholders to obtain a more holistic understanding of the organization. We have discussed the results from this feedback cycle and informed MBE’s Management Board on the outcome to ensure strengths are fostered and action is taken in areas of improvement. In addition to the annual evaluation, a culture survey was conducted after the Supervisory Board meeting in November 2018. The aim of this survey was to get better sense of the corporate culture, the office environment, and a clear view on how MBE’s Management Board and (senior) employees interact. We firmly believe that the self-assessment, feedback procedure and culture survey will further enhance the Supervisory Board’s functioning and oversight. 2.3 Vision and Strategy As a means to explore opportunities and risks for MBE, we hosted an off-site meeting where we were able to discuss with the Management Board, second-tier management and other key stakeholders in the region about the strategic direction of the bank. Further possibilities to develop and enhance the bank’s organization in line with its strategy will continue to be discussed on a regular basis, as we believe it is important to promote expanded growth opportunities for the bank. We highly appreciate the efforts of the Management Board to proactively inform and engage us in such strategy discussions, and count on a continuation of the same in 2019. Integrity and ethics are of great importance for the banking industry, which is why the bank’s corporate culture has our full attention. We encourage MBE’s voluntary adherence to the (best practices of the) Dutch Corporate Governance Code and we monitored the measures that were taken to comply with its provisions. We are pleased that the Vision and Strategy Committee, which was set up in 2016 to further enhance employee engagement and contribute to MBE’s vision and strategy pillars, has the Management Board’s continued support.