SGX RegCo to work on best practices guide for AGMs

The Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) will work with the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) and the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) to produce a guide on how directors and investors should conduct themselves at shareholder meetings.

The guide will present a view of each party's role and responsibilities at annual general meetings (AGMs) and other meetings, said SGX Regco chairman Tan Cheng Han.

It will be different from the guides or code of conduct at AGMs published previously, and it will not be "one-sided", he added.

Professor Tan said at the launch of the Singapore Directorship Report 2018 yesterday: "All directors and shareholders want the same thing from shareholder meetings and AGMs - constructive discussions and fruitful engagement conducted in a robust yet courteous spirit.

"It does neither management nor shareholders any good when relationships break down and mutual trust and confidence are lost."

The issue of shareholder and board conduct has become a hot topic since Stamford Land Corporation filed a defamation suit against shareholder Manohar Sabnani over statements he allegedly made during the group's 2016 and 2018 AGMs, as well as in publications after the latest meeting.

Prof Tan also remarked on the growing trend of shareholder activism in Asia, noting that in the first eight months of this year, 90 activist campaigns have unfolded across the region, compared with 60 over the same period last year.

"The increasing trend in this part of the world should make us sit up," he said.

The Singapore Directorship Report 2018 was produced by the SID, with the support of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the SGX, in partnership with Deloitte, Handshakes and Nanyang Technological University.

It is an analysis of directorship and board practices in Singapore on multiple aspects ranging from remuneration to diversity to board composition.

The report also advises companies on the impact of the recent changes to the Code of Corporate Governance and, consequently, the listing rules that were announced in August.

Most of these rules come into effect on Jan 1, except for those on the nine-year tenure for independent directors and the requirement that such directors comprise one-third of the board.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2018, with the headline 'SGX RegCo to work on best practices guide for AGMs'. Print Edition | Subscribe