SPH chief heads panel on corporate governance (ST)

BackFeb 05, 2010
THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has appointed 13 private sector professionals to a new council tasked with reviewing guidelines on the behaviour of Singapore companies.

The Corporate Governance Council, which will review Singapore's Code of Corporate Governance, will be chaired by Mr Alan Chan, chief executive officer of media group Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), MAS said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Patrick Daniel, editor-in-chief of SPH's English and Malay newspapers division, will also be on the council.

Several high-profile company leaders have also been appointed to the council. They include PricewaterhouseCoopers executive chairman Gautam Banerjee, SingTel group CEO Chua Sock Koong, OCBC chief executive David Conner, Hyflux group CEO Olivia Lum, Qian Hu executive chairman and managing director Kenny Yap, and Gas Supply chairman Daniel Ee.

Securities Investors Association of Singapore (SIAS) president and CEO David Gerald will also be on the council, along with LMA International executive deputy chairman John Lim, Aberdeen Asset Management Asia head of corporate governance Peter Taylor, WongPartnership managing partner Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara and KhattarWong managing partner Tan Chong Huat.

Representatives from the MAS, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) and the Singapore Exchange (SGX) will be appointed to the council on an ex-officio basis.

The new council 'seeks to promote a high standard of corporate governance in companies listed in Singapore, so as to maintain investors' confidence and enhance Singapore's reputation as a leading and trusted financial centre', said the MAS in its statement.

It will also advise MAS, Acra and SGX on corporate governance matters, such as the Code of Corporate Governance and 'relevant rules and regulations' related to companies listed here.

Apart from this main function, the council will also identify continuing training opportunities for directors and develop practical guidelines for board committees of listed companies.

The new council was first announced by MAS managing director Heng Swee Keat in November last year at the inaugural SIAS Asian Investors' Corporate Governance Conference. He said its immediate task would be to review Singapore's Code of Corporate Governance, to make it more relevant, especially in the light of the recent financial crisis.

Mr Chan, the new council chairman, said yesterday that the establishment of a dedicated corporate governance council is 'timely'.

'We can take on board the lessons learnt from the 2008 financial crisis and review the adequacy of the current Code of Corporate Governance,' he added.

The last time the code was reviewed or altered was in 2005, which has prompted some corporate governance watchers to complain that it is outdated. Then, the review was carried out by the now-defunct Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance, which also had to set accounting standards and better disclosure practices.

This time, the new Corporate Governance Council will focus on corporate governance matters.