Business

Council to review governance code

Monetary Authority of Singapore sets up Corporate Governance Council

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has set up a council to review Singapore's code of corporate governance (CG Code), it announced yesterday.

The Corporate Governance Council will be chaired by Mr Chew Choon Seng, the former chairman of the Singapore Exchange (SGX), who was also chief executive of Singapore Airlines and chairman of the Singapore Tourism Board.

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

MAS, noting that corporate governance practices globally have continued to evolve since then, said it has been monitoring market developments and industry feedback on how the CG Code can be improved.

"A review of the CG Code and practices is thus timely to ensure that they continue to support sustained corporate performance and maintain investor confidence in our capital markets," it said.

The Council will consider how the "comply-or-explain" regime under the CG Code can be made more effective. This includes improving the quality of companies' disclosure of their CG practices and explanations for deviations from the CG Code.

It will also propose mechanisms to monitor the progress made by Singapore-listed companies in strengthening their corporate governance practices.

MAS said the current 19 Council members were drawn from various stakeholder groups to provide a diverse perspective.

They include Ms Rachel Eng, deputy chairman of WongPartnership; Mr Douglas Foo, chairman of Sakae Holdings; Dr Gerard George, dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University; Mr David Gerald, president of the Securities Investors Association (Singapore); Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, chairman of United Overseas Bank; and Ms Michelle Quah, senior correspondent for The Business Times.

Representatives from MAS, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and SGX will also be appointed to the Council.

The Council will consult the public on its recommendations before finalising them.

Mr Chew said Singapore needs to ensure that its CG Code remains relevant and progressive while supporting sustained business growth and innovation.

The review of the CG Code will therefore 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," he said.

ann@sph.com.sg

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