Date: October 3, 2012
SIAS LAUNCHES NEW INITIATIVE – CORPORATE GOVERNANCE PAGE – IN COLLABORATION WITH SMU
– To provide investors with a snapshot of the corporate governance practices of listed companies
– To launch research into the corporate governance of listed companies
– Provides benchmark against all SGX listed companies and among the Industry’s best rated companies
Singapore, October 3, 2012 – Securities Investors Association (Singapore) (“SIAS”), a strong advocate for corporate transparency and progressive industry practices aimed at protecting shareholder interests, today launched another new initiative in conjunction with Singapore’s third Corporate Governance Week (“CG Week 2012”).
This new initiative – Corporate Governance Page – was developed in collaboration with the Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics at the Singapore Management University (“SMU”). It provides investors with a snap shot of the corporate governance practices of listed companies in a one-page report that closely follows OECD principles.
Mr David Gerald, President and CEO of SIAS said: “I am pleased to announce that SIAS will be launching research into the corporate governance of listed companies. The report, developed with research from Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics at SMU, is culled from publicly available data. It will also show each company’s scoring of its corporate governance practices against all SGX listed companies and among the Industry’s best rated companies. The report will also have an overview of the company’s risk management and internal audit practices.
“I am also pleased to announce that SIAS will be developing a publication called the “Winners’ Circle”. This publication will contain all the winners’ Corporate Governance Page and will be circulated to institutional and fund managers globally. Using this report, investors can have a more informed view of the companies they invest in.
“There is strong empirical evidence today that companies with good corporate governance also have good performance. Therefore, this initiative is yet another step in the development of our capital markets and the report can provide companies with feedback and benchmark to raise the standards of corporate governance practices here in Singapore.”
Mr Gerald made this announcement at the 13th Investors’ Choice Awards held this evening. The Guest-of-Honour is Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister of State, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport will grace the event as Special Guest.
This new initiative comes shortly after SIAS’ announcement of a new Scorecard based on international best practices from OECD, together with the corporate governance index by Sim Kee Boon Institute for Financial Economics at SMU, and the Shareholder Confidence Index by Brendan Wood International. Up until last year, the Scorecard used to select the winners was based purely on the Singapore Corporate Governance Code recommendations. The new Scorecard incorporated the voice of the shareholders provided by Brendan Wood’s Shareholder Confidence Index, reputedly the competitive scorecard for public companies according to real world global shareholders.
Mr Gerald, commenting on the new Scorecard said: “This new scorecard will go beyond the Singapore Code of Corporate Governance. In keeping with the importance and value of input from investors, their voice is now incorporated into the scorecard. Collectively, we want to showcase Singapore’s best performing companies in terms of governance and shareholder confidence to investors globally by using international standards.
“On a related note, we have together with Brendan Wood International, recently introduced a new Award – the Brendan Wood International – SIAS TopGun CEO Designation Award for Singapore CEOs, that will allow shareholders to vote for and celebrate the best in class of CEOs.
“In addition, we have implemented a new selection process for the Most Transparent Company Award, where listed companies are categorised and rated according to the Industry Classification Benchmark system maintained by FTSE International Limited – as part of efforts to raise the standard of the scoring process to an international level.”
As such, the 13th Investors’ Choice Awards ceremony this year will include the following Key Awards:
– Singapore Corporate Governance Award;
– Brendan Wood International – SIAS TopGun CEO Designation Award;
– Most Transparent Company Award;
– Internal Audit Excellence Award;
– Financial Journalist Award;
– Best Retail Broker Award; and
– Model Shareholder Award.
At the same time, as SIAS’ commitment to improve the protection of investors in SGX listed foreign companies, it recently initiated five proposals to SGX which include:
– Disallowing the resignation of directors during the life of the Notice of Compliance;
– Highlighting any company from a foreign country which has no reciprocal or extradition treaty with Singapore;
– Providing a bank guarantee at the time of listing to ensure the company and directors comply with the laws, regulations and Listing rules;
– Board approval verification by the Audit Chairman and independent directors before for the transfers of monies that are raised in and transferred out of Singapore; and
– Board and management agreement to submit to arbitration in Singapore in respect of the application and adherence of all Listing rules and securities laws, and to further agree to compensate all shareholders for any losses which shareholders may suffer as a result of any fraud or mismanagement.
“This arbitration agreement should be part of the conditions to list on the Singapore Exchange and the foreign issuer must come from a country which is a party to the New York Convention. This will ensure certainty in enforcement to some extent.
“These initiatives go some way to improving Singapore’s corporate governance practices and correspondingly seek to protect the interests of shareholders.
“As we continue to make our investing population a more informed and educated group, we have to ensure that they make informed investment decisions in a caveat emptor market. SIAS also works closely with listed companies to ensure we have a peaceful and collaborative investor relations climate.
“SIAS continues to work with regulators and listed companies to ensure that disputes are managed and companies comply with the regulations and Listing rules. This climate of collaboration will ensure that the interests of shareholders are maintained and the value of the company preserved,” concluded Mr Gerald.
SIAS is the largest organised investor lobby group in Asia, with almost 70,000 retail investors as members. It is run by a Management Committee comprising of professionals who are volunteers. It actively promotes Investor Education, Corporate Governance and Transparency and is the watchdog for Investor rights in Singapore. To-date, SIAS has successfully organised some 700 investor education programmes ranging from basic investment seminars for novices to certificate courses for investment savvy investors. Thus far, more than 70,000 retail investors have benefited from these programmes which are offered largely free. Members are educated on the features of investment products, and the attendant risks involved in each product. Investors are taught to make informed decisions on investing.
|ISSUED ON BEHALF OF :||Securities Investors Association (Singapore)
|BY :||Citigate Dewe Rogerson, i.MAGE Pte Ltd
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October 3, 2012