Welcome Address By Prof Mak Yuen Teen, Conference Chairman, SIAS at Global Corporate Governance Conference on 11 November 2013

Date: November 11, 2013

Mr Magnus Böcker, CEO of the Singapore Exchange
Mr David Gerald, President & CEO of Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS)
Distinguished guests and speakers
Ladies and gentlemen
Good morning.

Welcome to the Global Corporate Governance Conference organised by SIAS, as part of their 4th Singapore Corporate Governance Week. I would like to especially welcome speakers and participants from outside of Singapore.

Before I go on, I would first like to ask everyone to spare a thought for our friends in the Philippines, some of whom are here with us today, for the terrible disaster in Tacloban city caused by the Super Typhoon, Haiyan.

We have called this conference “Global Conversation On Governance – Today’s Issues, Tomorrow’s Challenges” and the speakers and topics clearly reflect this theme. We have speakers from more than 13 countries and the topics we will discuss over these two days reflect what companies and different stakeholders here and around the world are confronted with today and will have to deal with, in the near future.

When I was asked by David Gerald to help him with the conference, I was honored but hesitant. Because I felt that we often spend too much time in conferences talking about the same old issues and everyone then go back to business as usual. I said that I will help him out if we can make this conference really different and that we not only debate issues but have practical solutions. Not just talk about what and why, but how to. We then put together an advisory council of thought leaders from different countries, based on their inputs and feedback from past conference participants. We decided on the topics based on what we feel are most relevant and which have not been discussed extensively in other conferences. We then identify speakers who we know have deep knowledge on these topics from a global perspective and who bring the perspectives of different stakeholders. We have received very positive feedback about the topics we have put together and the speakers we have invited. I think if you look at the topics and line up in the conference programme, you will agree that we have an exciting conference ahead of us over the next two days.

Let me explain a bit more about the way this conference is structured. In the two mornings, we will discuss issues relating to 4 key stakeholder groups: shareholders, board of directors, regulators and intermediaries. These 4 stakeholder groups play critical roles in promoting and ensuring good corporate governance. I think we can probably agree that each of these 4 groups of stakeholders can improve their effectiveness and the morning sessions on the two days allow us to discuss possible area for improvement. In the afternoon sessions on the two days, we discuss specific developments and how they impact and are affected by governance. This include sustainability, business structure innovations, an integrated ASEAN capital market, gender diversity, multinationals, and technology. And we will conclude tomorrow with the 2-day conference with what promises to be a really provocative and entertaining session on activists and journalists, who also have an important role to play in improving corporate governance.

I should say that unlike many conferences, this one hasn’t been sponsored driven. And the sponsors for this conference are to be congratulated for be more interested in helping us to put together a great conference rather than just considering their commercial advantage. On behalf of the organiser, I would like to thank the sponsors, partners, and endorsers of this conference. I would also like to thank all the speakers and panelists many of whom have come a long way and of course I would like to thank the advisory council members especially deputy chair, Chris Bennett and the SIAS Staff who have managed all the logistics.

Last but not least, I would like to thank all the participants for joining us. We hope you will participate actively in the discussion throughout the entire two days. Enjoy the conference.

Thank you.