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Date: 3 April 2018
Venue: Marina Mandarin Hotel


Associate Professor Lawrence LOH
Director, CGIO
NUS Business School

Panel Discussion: Leadership in Corporate Governance Excellence
Mr Simon Israel, Chairman, Singapore Telecommunications Limited
Ms Lim Hwee Hua, Director, United Overseas Bank Ltd
Mr John Lim, CG Expert to the ASEAN Scorecard
Ms Wong Su-Yen, Chairman, Nera Telecommunications Ltd

Moderator: Mr Philip Forrest, Council Member, Singapore Institute of Directors (SID)


Event Summary

Close to 300 directors and top management attended the Launch of Women On Board: Making A Real Difference and The ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard (ACGS) 2018 event organized by SID. Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director of CGIO presented the Singapore results of the 2018 ACGS at the conference.

The ACGS is a joint initiative of the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum and the Asian Development Bank. Since 2011, the Scorecard assesses the corporate governance of the 100 largest publicly-listed companies by market capitalisation in each of the six participating countries in ASEAN. The participating countries are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

In 2016, the Scorecard was reviewed to incorporate G20/OECD Principles of Corporate Governance that were issued in November 2015. The revisions strengthened the robustness of the Scorecard framework, taking into consideration investors’ expectations and developments in business and corporate governance practices.

Some of the key observations about the Scorecard results given by Professor Loh include:

  1. There were improvements in three of the five areas of evaluation, namely rights of shareholders, equitable treatment of shareholders and role of stakeholders.
  2. 37 per cent of the 100 Singapore publicly-listed companies provided a detailed policy including measurable objectives.
  3. 11 per cent of the companies have more than one female independent director on board.


Good corporate governance

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director of CGIO, NUS Business School said, “Companies need to continuously uphold good corporate governance practices to stay relevant in the investment landscape. While Singapore companies have progressed notably well in the Scorecard, there are two worrying trends in corporate governance performance observed.”

“First, there is a widening gap between better performing big-capitalisation companies from the rest where the size effect amounts to 20.9 per cent of the scores. Second, there is also a widening gap between the Temasek-linked companies vis-à-vis the other companies whereby the Temasek premium is 38.8 per cent.”


More to be done in disclosing diversity policies

While over one third of the 100 publicly-listed companies had provided a board diversity policy, companies need to focus more in areas of appointing more female independent directors and disclosing detailed board diversity policy.

Mr Willie Cheng, Chairman of SID, said: “A key aspect of good corporate governance is board diversity. It avoids groupthink and uncritical conformity. There are many dimensions of diversity: age, skills, industry, nationalities, etc. However, with the disproportionate representation of women on board, gender diversity is understandably being emphasised.”

“With that in mind, we thought it appropriate to also launch at this event, the book, Women on Board: Making a Real Difference. This book is SID’s latest initiative to support and promote greater gender diversity on Singapore boards,” he added.

The full presentation by Associate Professor Lawrence Loh can be accessed here.


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