Sias may set up institute to 'future-proof' investors

The Securities Investors Association (Singapore), or Sias, may set up an institute to promote enterprise and governance to help "future-proof" investors, said president and chief executive David Gerald yesterday.

He told the 9th Singapore Corporate Governance Week that disruptive forces such as cyber attacks, political change and the rise of cryptocurrencies have posed challenges to governance.

"Given the past experiences arising from disruptions, perhaps it is timely for Sias and its partners... to consider the feasibility of establishing an institute," he added.

"Not only are (there more) expert voices on (financial problems), but there are also many disturbing signs that the world is being disrupted in an unprecedented fashion, thus creating an investment and economic climate that is shrouded in a vast amount of uncertainties."

Mr Gerald cited how the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is disrupting financial markets.

"Despite there being no fundamental backing for any of these currencies, there are an estimated 1,600 cryptocurrencies being traded and in circulation," he said.

Raising the governance bar is "one sure way to cushion the blow" of another financial crisis. "Whether or not we are prepared to cope with a new crisis depends very much on how strong our governance is, and whether we have... sufficient safeguards," he noted.

He suggested that businesses could minimise the chance of failures by putting in place a robust risk management system, such as having more checks and balances.

"We must (also) install a culture that encourages the development of trust, integrity and transparency... Without them, there can be no confidence in the market."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2018, with the headline 'Sias may set up institute to 'future-proof' investors'. Subscribe