Questioning Singapore's corporate governance standards

Questioning Singapore's corporate governance standards

By: 
The Edge Singapore
29/06/18, 11:21 am

SINGAPORE (June 29): Poor corporate governance recently became an issue at a number of locally listed companies, both large and small.

Rig builder Keppel Corp was found to have paid bribes to secure contracts in Brazil.

Commodity supply chain manager Noble Group has posted massive write-downs on values it had previously defended vigorously.

And Datapulse Technology, an optical disc maker, bought a shampoo business without proper due diligence.

Midas Holdings on Feb 8 announced that severe financial irregularities had been uncovered. Its shares have been suspended from trading shareholders may see their holdings wiped out.

See: Irregularities uncovered in Midas' Dalian subsidiary implicate former top executives

See: Midas CEO Patrick Chew quits; stamp was used without his approval to take out loans

The Singapore market shifted to a disclosure regime in the late 1990s with “comply or explain” rules. Companies are obliged to disseminate accurate and timely information to investors, who are then responsible for their own investment decisions.

The Singapore Exchange and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) both have regulatory duties, although only MAS has the power to investigate and bring a court action for market misconduct under a civil penalty regime. The civil penalty regime complements the criminal penalty regime administered by the Commercial Affairs Department.

Directors have in the past been reprimanded, charged, fined or otherwise penalised for lapses in corporate governance. But some say disclosure lapses are still largely unpunished and directors rarely investigated.

Just who should be accountable for wrongdoings when they occur?

Some market observers have placed the blame on intermediaries such as auditors and advisers who produce information that shareholders rely on.

Can the Singapore market’s reputation be fixed? What needs to be done?

In our cover story of The Edge Singapore this week (Issue 826), "Ticked off", we discuss Singapore’s disclosure regime and what makes for a well-governed company.

Get your copy at your favourite newsstands now, or click here to subscribe

Right timing: STI’s upclimb supported by momentum and moving averages

SINGAPORE (Apr 20): There has been little change in the trend and chart pattern of the Straits Times Index. The index has been on a very glacial ascent towards 3,420, the target indicated when the index broke out of resistance at 3,190 in mid-Jan. Quarterly momentum eased during the past four trading sessions. The 100- and 200-day moving averages have turned positive. This coupled with positively placed DIs and rising ADX should continue to underpin the STI. The only cautionary signals are the somewhat overbought levels of short term stochastics and 21-day RSI, and stagnant vol....
Read More >>

SMI takes legal action against Hyflux; Maybank moves on Tuaspring

(Apr 20): SM Investments (SMI) has terminated its rescue agreement with Hyflux, it announced on Friday. Hyflux, on its part, had already on April 4 terminated the same agreement with SMI. SMI claims it has thus far abided by the agreement. “To clarify, SMI does not accept the purported termination of the Restructuring Agreement by Hyflux on 4 April 2019. This is because the termination was not in accordance with the terms of the Restructuring Agreement," said SMI. Under the agreement reached last October, SMI, led by Indonesian tycoon Anthoni Salim, was to have invested $530 million in....
Read More >>

CCT reports 3.8% higher 1Q DPU of 2.20 cents on higher property contributions

SINGAPORE (April 19): The manager of CapitaLand Commercial Trust (CCT) has reported a 1Q19 distribution per unit (DPU) of 2.20 cents, rising 3.8% y-o-y from 2.12 cents due to higher contributions from Gallileo and Asia Square Tower 2. Gross revenue and net property income (NPI) for the quarter increased by 3.5% and 3.4% to $99.8 million and $79.8 million, respectively. This comes after booking contributions from Gallileo – an office building in Frankfurt, Germany which the trust acquired a 94.9% stake in during June 2018 – as well as higher occupancy at Asia Square Tower 2, both of w....
Read More >>