Council formed to review code of corporate governance

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building at 10 Shenton Way.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building at 10 Shenton Way.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore's code of corporate governance is under review, with a council established to take another look at the guidelines.

The code was last reviewed in 2012, when changes were introduced to strengthen board independence and enhance remuneration practices and disclosures.

"A review of the CG Code (Code of Corporate Governance) and practices is thus timely to ensure that they continue to support sustained corporate performance and maintain investor confidence in our capital markets," said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday.

The council will look at how the "comply-or-explain" regime under the code of corporate governance can be made more effective.

This includes improving the quality of companies' disclosure of their corporate governance practices and explanations for deviations from the code while proposing ways to monitor the progress made by listed firms in strengthening their practices in this area.

SUSTAINABLE PERFORMANCE

Our listed companies... must be able to engage meaningfully with their stakeholders and implement corporate governance practices that lead to long-term sustainable business performance.

FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE SINGAPORE EXCHANGE CHEW CHOON SENG

Former chairman of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Chew Choon Seng, who will chair the committee, said Singapore needs to ensure that the code remains relevant and progressive, and that it supports sustained business growth and innovation.

This means the review will take into account changes in Singapore's corporate landscape as well as international developments.

"With market participants paying greater attention to the corporate governance practices of listed companies, companies are now under increasing pressure to become more transparent and accountable to their stakeholders," added Mr Chew, a former chief executive of Singapore Airlines and chairman of the Singapore Tourism Board.

"It is important for our listed companies to go beyond mere box-ticking and boiler-plate explanations. They must be able to engage meaningfully with their stakeholders and implement corporate governance practices that lead to long-term sustainable business performance."

MAS said the 19 council members have been drawn from various stakeholder groups to provide a broad and diverse perspective on the issues. Representatives from the MAS, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the SGX will be appointed as well.

The council will also consult the public on its recommendations, including proposed changes to the code.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2017, with the headline 'Council formed to review code of corporate governance'. Print Edition | Subscribe