Help investors 'stay informed amid volatility'

Senior Minister of State Sim Ann delivering a speech at the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) 18th Investors Choice Awards Dinner Presentation Ceremony on, 19 Sept, 2017.
Senior Minister of State Sim Ann delivering a speech at the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) 18th Investors Choice Awards Dinner Presentation Ceremony on, 19 Sept, 2017. ST PHOTO: CHEW KENG SIM

This will give them stronger voice, spur firms to upgrade products and services: Sim Ann

Risks posed by a highly volatile world mean a financial hub like Singapore must bolster corporate transparency and investor education, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Sim Ann.

Speaking at the 18th Investors' Choice Awards dinner presentation ceremony last night, she said: "In the face of global economic uncertainty, we must continue... developing an informed and educated investor community.

"This will lead to a stronger investor voice and spur companies to upgrade products and services."

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) was among the winners at the event, organised by the Securities Investors Association (Singapore), or Sias.

The media and property group clinched the corporate governance prize in the discretionary consumer products and services sector.

The award - which replaces the most transparent company prize - honours listed firms that best help investors make informed decisions.

SPH was crowned most transparent company for the 12th time last year and has scooped the runner-up position four times.

SPH chief executive Ng Yat Chung said in a statement: "It is a reflection of our commitment to uphold good corporate governance and transparency, and to build trust with our investors and shareholders."

Honourable mentions for consumer discretionary companies went to hospitality firm Banyan Tree Holdings and ornamental fish trader Qian Hu Corporation.

Other winners included Singtel and DBS Group Holdings.

CapitaLand companies also did well, with a six-medal haul that included the top Golden Circle Award for corporate governance.

Two award categories made their debut this year - for sustainability and for excellence in stakeholder communication. The aim is to encourage companies to adopt these values in their business practices.

Eight firms shared the sustainability award and nine clinched the shareholder communications excellence prize.

Sias president and chief executive David Gerald, speaking at the ceremony held at the Mandarin Orchard hotel, said: "Many companies do not communicate very well, especially the mid- and small-caps. Especially when you're in a bad situation, (you need to) communicate well. Talk to your shareholders."

Ms Sim, who is also Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, noted: "Businesses are increasingly recognising that a focus on sustainability can help them manage their social and environmental impact, while improving their overall governance and operating efficiency.

"At the same time, enhancing transparency and stakeholder engagement helps to foster public trust and may provide firms with better access to capital."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2017, with the headline 'Help investors 'stay informed amid volatility''. Print Edition | Subscribe