The pace and scale of changes in the last two and a half years have been extreme. Even as the worst of the pandemic seems to be over, economies and countries globally continue to face tough challenges. The lingering pandemic, the situation in Ukraine, tightening financial conditions and high inflation — all point to the possibility of a global slowdown.
In Singapore, we have witnessed some industries and companies boom and some shaken to their core. What is encouraging to see are the many examples of Singapore-listed companies which have navigated unprecedented conditions to continue delivering returns and value to their stakeholders.
This year’s The Edge Singapore Billion Dollar Club (BDC) and Centurion Club shine a spotlight on companies — many of whom are homegrown — who have found their niches to achieve results amid challenging operating environments. Led by driven and astute leaders, the winners of this year’s awards also place a sharp focus on sustainability and governance; areas that are increasingly important to investors.
Success in the face of adversity
Having made its way from the Centurion Club into the BDC with a sweep of its industry sector awards in 2021, AEM Holdings has repeated that effort this year to emerge as the Overall Winner for the BDC. It is heartening to see the company continue to grow, even as it recently raised its revenue guidance for its full year.
We also acknowledge all the other BDC winners who were standouts in their respective fields, thriving in the face of challenges: Jardine Cycle & Carriage, iFast Corporation, Hour Glass, Straits Trading, Sheng Siong Group, Riverstone Holdings, Singapore Technologies Engineering, Yanlord Land Group and Frasers Logistics and Commercial Trust. Our warmest congratulations also go to PropNex, which successfully debut as the overall winner of the Centurion Club. The other overall sector winners of Centurion Club – Union Gas Holdings, Samudera Shipping Line, Hotung Investment Holdings, Cortina Holdings, Mewah International, Medtecs International, Frencken Group, IREIT Global and Azeus Systems Holdings — exemplify what it means to remain resilient in times of uncertainty.
Opening more opportunities for growth
The complex macroenvironment we are in calls for listed companies to explore multiple avenues of growth while anchored to their core businesses. To meet the evolving needs of our issuers and investors, SGX Group continues to expand its global network through strategic partnerships.
Our collaboration with the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq on the dual listing of companies are examples of how SGX Group values partnerships and an ecosystem mindset to drive mutual success.
The proposed introduction of the Thailand-Singapore Depository Receipt (DR) Linkage with The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), the first exchange-level DR cooperation in Asean, will be a significant milestone in advancing the region’s securities market cooperation. We are also looking forward to the launch of our exchange-traded fund (ETF) link with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which will enhance two-way investor and issuer connectivity with China.
One trend that we cannot ignore is sustainability. As climate investing gains significance, it is important for us to strengthen the ecosystem with relevant knowledge, tools and solutions to support climate transition. Investors today want to combine financial returns with a positive contribution to the environment and society. Hence, it serves our listed companies well to not only mitigate climate risk but also capitalise on the opportunities it may bring.
In this regard, we are supporting our listed companies in several ways such as in the areas of accountability and data. By requiring issuers to provide climate-related disclosures, and supporting them with the relevant training, our issuers will be better equipped to meet the demands of investors seeking climate-aligned investments.
At the same time, we have, together with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), launched ESGenome, a digital disclosure portal for companies to report Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data in a structured and efficient manner, and for investors to access such data in a consistent and comparable format. By advancing ESG data disclosure, we hope our listed companies will similarly be in a stronger position to raise capital and attract international investors who are actively looking for leading firms in these measures.
All these form part of the building blocks for future-proofing our listed companies. We will continue to build a portfolio of sustainable and transition finance solutions across asset classes, which issuers can tap on. This includes green and sustainability-linked bonds, one of the fastest-growing segments in Asia’s debt markets where SGX Group plays a leading role as the leading international green bonds listing venue in Asia.
SGX Group also continues to work with market participants to develop a range of climate-related products such as indexes, ETFs and futures to help investors reduce their portfolio carbon footprint. In the pipeline are products linked to the newly launched MSCI Climate Action Indexes which track companies that are taking concrete steps to reduce their carbon emissions. We hope that these products will, over time, facilitate the flow of capital towards credible transitions for our ecosystem.
An open and trusted marketplace
Central to the success of a marketplace is trust. Singapore is fortunate to have a supportive ecosystem with public and private sector stakeholders who are committed to the success of its marketplace. As our capital market grows, the ecosystem has to work even more closely together to build a trusted and credible marketplace – one that attracts global investors to invest in our listed companies and products with confidence.
As a strategic partner to our listed companies, we look forward to continuing to support them across multiple avenues of growth, through one trusted ecosystem, as they rise to meet today’s challenges and take on the opportunities of tomorrow.
Loh Boon Chye is CEO of SGX Group