Business

Companies in S'pore need to improve corporate culture: Sias

Sound corporate culture is a vital factor in a company's success but standards here are not as high as they should be, according to Securities Investors Association (Singapore) (Sias) head David Gerald.

Mr Gerald told an event yesterday that poor governance has been linked to many scandals in the business world.

"Very few organisations intentionally address their culture, which if nurtured conscientiously, can have the profound effect of propelling an organisation forward or, if neglected, can be a huge hindrance," he said.

"There is a need to better understand how boards are addressing culture in their organisations."

Mr Gerald, speaking at the opening of the 8th Singapore Corporate Governance Week, said a recent Sias analysis of more than 200 annual reports of companies, mainly in the mid and small caps, found a lack of quality in disclosures.

For example, the first 33 pages of one company's annual report used generic business terms that offered no information or insights into its actual business. That information appeared only in the director's profile and in the key audit matters of the independent auditor's report.

And when it comes to related party transactions, companies tend to comply with the letter of the law but not the spirit of it; they disclose only the particulars of the party but not the nature of the transaction.

The Corporate Governance Week, organised by Sias, will run until Friday, with more than 150 companies and over 700 individuals participating in various programmes. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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