The Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) has proposed that SGX-listed companies be required to publish their respective whistleblowing policy in their annual report.

The annual report should cover whether and how companies have established and maintained an effective whistleblowing policy in several areas.

This includes stating the designated independent function to investigate whistleblowing reports and how the identity of the whistleblower is kept confidential.

It also includes stating a commitment disclosure from companies to ensure protection of the whistleblower against detrimental or unfair treatment and the responsibility of the audit committee for oversight and monitoring of whistleblowing.

According to SGX RegCo, the provision in the Code of Corporate Governance (CoCG) requires companies to publicise and communicate the existence of a whistleblowing policy to their employees.

However, SGX’s listing rules have no explicit requirement on whistleblowing.

The listing rules only require companies to describe in the annual report how they have complied with CoCG, or otherwise explain how their practice is consistent with the intent of the code.

SGX RegCo CEO Tan Boon Gin says the proposal will complement the regulator’s whistleblowing office, which was established early this year.

“Well, I do kind of take a community approach where everyone really needs to play their part. So, we have a whistle blowing office at the exchange level. Complainants can go to us directly,” he told reporters on Aug 5.

“At the same time, we expect companies to have in place a whistleblowing policy at the company level, so that if there are any issues, that can be taken up at the company itself,” he added.

That aside, SGX RegCo has proposed that it be given the power to publicly reprimand companies.

This includes the powers to deal with cases that call for public sanctions under which the Listings Disciplinary Committee (LDC) can hear.

This, however, excludes cases where fines may be imposed.

SGX RegCo has also proposed that it be given powers where companies under investigation must seek its approval before directors can be appointed or re-appointed to its board.

Directors under investigation would similarly be subject to SGX RegCo’s approval prior to their appointment or re-appointment to the board of companies.