SINGAPORE (Jan 10): Effective today, The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) Listings Due Diligence Guidelines (ABS Guidelines) and Issue Managers (IM) independence requirements will be incorporated into the Mainboard Listing Rules.

This is to strengthen the rules governing the listing review process, which is crucial to investor confidence, according to Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo).

The ABS Guidelines will serve as a reference point for expected industry standards.

It will also be a guidance on the broad framework and principles which IMs should consider when conducting their due diligence work, says SGX RegCo.

To that end, IMs will be required to conduct adequate due diligence.

On the other hand, SGX RegCo will have regard to the ABS Guidelines when assessing the adequacy of due diligence issue managers conduct, it says.

SGX RegCo says it is codifying existing IM independence requirements in the Mainboard Listing Rules.

The regulator says that it will introduce a practice note to provide guidance on its assessment of the factors affecting an IM’s independence.

The practice note sets out the circumstances and relevant threshold limits in considering whether an IM is considered independent.

In addition, all directors and executive officers of a listing applicant, whether proposed or appointed, will be explicitly required to be responsible for information submitted to SGX, says the regulator.

In particular, information related to listing applications and SGXNET announcements should be “complete” and “accurate in all material respects”, and “not misleading”.

This is to ensure that the proposed directors and executive officers will form part of the relevant persons held responsible for the accuracy and completeness of information contained in listing applications, says SGX RegCo.

“[IMs] are the gatekeepers to our market, and together with company directors and executive officers, hold great responsibility for ensuring quality disclosures of information that emphasise substance over form,” says Tan Boon Gin, CEO of SGX RegCo, in a Jan 10 statement.

“The Singapore market can only continue to thrive when directors and executive officers, with market professionals play their part responsibly and robustly,” he adds.