Singapore forms advocacy body to level up corporate governance standards

    By Michelle Quah

    The Business Times, 12 February 2019

    SINGAPORE has its first permanent, industry-led body, responsible for advocating good corporate governance (CG) practices in the city state.

    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Tuesday the establishment of the Corporate Governance Advisory Committee (CGAC), whose role is to "level up corporate governance standards and practices and help to strengthen investors’ confidence in (Singapore's) capital markets and uphold (the country’s) reputation as a trusted international financial centre".

    Chaired by Bobby Chin, director of Singtel, the 18-member strong committee represents key stakeholder groups and includes notable names from numerous segments of the business community.

    The MAS said in its press statement that the CGAC will identify current and potential risks to the quality of corporate governance in Singapore, and take a leading role in advocating good corporate governance practices.

    Setting up the CGAC was a recommendation from the Corporate Governance Council, which reviewed the Code of Corporate Governance (CG Code) in 2018.

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    The MAS said the CGAC would also be responsible for monitoring international trends, revising the Practice Guidance to clarify the CG Code, and recommending updates to the CG Code.

    It stressed, however, that the CGAC is an advocacy body and will not carry regulatory or enforcement powers or provide opinion on ongoing cases and investigations. It said that Singapore Exchange Regulation, the MAS, and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority remain responsible for taking regulatory actions against corporate governance-related breaches - and that the CGAC will work closely with these regulators to uphold corporate governance standards.

    Mr Chin said: “The changes introduced under the 2018 review of the CG Code have helped ensure that Singapore’s corporate governance framework kept pace with market developments. The effectiveness of the CG Code will require sustained commitment in both substance and form by companies and stakeholders. The CGAC, as an independent, standing industry-led body, is dedicated to supporting these efforts."

    The members of the CGAC are:
    •    Bobby Chin - director, Singtel;
    •    Prudence Bennett - corporate governance consultant, former head of Investment Stewardship, BlackRock, APAC;
    •    Timothy Chia - director, The Straits Trading Company;
    •    Philip Eng - director, Frasers Property;
    •    David Gerald - president, Securities Investors Association (Singapore);
    •    Hsieh Fu Hua - former CEO, Singapore Exchange;
    •    Mak Yuen Teen - associate professor of Accounting, National University of Singapore;
    •    Ng Kee Choe - chairman, CapitaLand;
    •    Ng Tat Pun - chairman, Sing Investments & Finance;
    •    Christina Ong - co-chairman and senior partner, Allen & Gledhill;
    •    Bahren Shaari - CEO, Bank of Singapore;
    •    David Smith - head of corporate governance, Asia Pacific, Aberdeen Standard Investments;
    •    Bob Tan - chairman, Jurong Engineering;
    •    Tan Hwee Bin - director, Wing Tai Holdings;
    •    Tham Kui Seng - director, Sembcorp Industries;
    •    Tham Sai Choy - chairman, Singapore Institute of Directors;
    •    Wong Wei Kong - editor, The Business Times; and
    •    Yeoh Oon Jin - executive chairman, PwC Singapore.