HKICS “Corporate Governance at the Crossroads” Conference
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HKICS “Corporate Governance at the Crossroads” Conference Opening Remarks. Paul Chow Chief Executive, HKEx 8 January 2008 (Tuesday). Conference Programme. Speeches :

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HKICS “Corporate Governance at the Crossroads” Conference

Opening Remarks

Paul Chow

Chief Executive, HKEx

8 January 2008 (Tuesday)


Conference programme
Conference Programme Conference

  • Speeches:

    • Keynote Speech “Are INEDs of Family-Influenced Public Companies Guests at the Table?”, Professor Deborah DeMott, Duke University

    • Luncheon Speech by Mr Martin Wheatley, CEO, SFC

  • Interactive Panels:

    • “Effectiveness of INEDs”

    • “Dual A- and H-share listings”

    • “Ethics and Compliance”

2


Agenda today
Agenda Today Conference

  • Hong Kong’s three-tier system and distinct characteristics

  • Corporate governance

    • Why corporate governance?

    • Hong Kong’s disclosure-based regulatory regime

    • Hong Kong’s corporate governance reforms (1993-present)

  • HKEx – Market quality enhancement in 2008

  • Concluding thoughts

3


Listed companies in hong kong are governed by a three tier regulatory system
Listed companies in Hong Kong are governed by a Conferencethree-tier regulatory system

Roles

Checks & balances

Government

  • Set overall policy direction

  • Initiate legislation

  • Executive Council

  • Legislative Council

  • Statutory regulator

  • Market watchdog

  • Administer the Codes on Takeovers and Merger and Share Buybacks

  • Regulate HKEx

  • License, supervise and discipline sponsors and IFAs

  • Process Review Panel

  • Securities and Futures Appeals Panel & Tribunal

  • Other independent committees

  • Judicial review

  • Review by Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)

SFC

  • Frontline regulator

  • Public organisation

  • Business entity

  • Administer the Listing Rules

  • Oversight by SFC (via SFO and various MOUs)

  • Balanced board structure

  • Independent Listing Committee and Listing Appeals Committee

  • Other independent committees

  • Judicial review

  • Review by ICAC

HKEx

4


Hong kong securities market has two distinct characteristics
Hong Kong securities market has two distinct characteristics Conference

Implications

  • Agency problem not a substantial issue

  • Connected party transaction a potential issue

  • INEDs may not be truly independent if appointed by major shareholders

Highly concentrated corporate ownership

  • Difficult to deal with misdemeanours due to separate legal systems

  • Difficult to undertake investigations if individuals and evidence are located outside home jurisdiction

Many non-Hong-Kong-based companies

5


Why should issuers care about corporate governance
Why should issuers care about corporate governance? Conference

“Corporate Governance and Market Valuation in China”

Frank Song, Chong-En Bai, Qiao Liu, Joe Lu & Junxi Zhang

May 2003

The research paper found that the average market valuation of Mainland companies rated in the top 20% in terms of corporate governance practices was 41% to 67% higher than

those in the bottom 20%.

6


Hong kong s disclosure based regulatory regime
Hong Kong’s disclosure-based regulatory regime Conference

Elements of the disclosure-based regulatory regime in Hong Kong

  • Companies are allowed to list if they comply with requirements stated in the Listing Rules

    • Quantitative requirements - profit track record

    • Qualitative requirements - appropriate management experience & suitability of business

  • Listed issuers obliged to maintain adequate procedures, systems and controls to enable them to comply with the Listing Rules

  • Directors obliged to understand their responsibilities under the Listing Rules

  • Timely & accurate information dissemination

  • Disclosure-based regime - up to the market to judge the quality of listed issuers

  • Sufficient powers available for regulators to pursue and invoke effective sanctions for wrongdoings post event

Listing criteria

Continual obligations of listed issuers & directors

Quality assurance

7


Pressure for corporate governance reforms comes from many directions
Pressure for corporate governance reforms Conferencecomes from many directions

Corporate scandals (Enron, Worldcom, etc.)

Higher expectations from investors

Evolution & convergence of international best practices & standards

CG Reforms

Intense competition for business and funding

8


In hong kong corporate governance standards have evolved significantly since the 1990s
In Hong Kong, corporate governance standards have evolved significantly since the 1990s

1993 – 2000

2001-2002

  • Code of best practices

  • Disclosure in Annual Reports

  • Guidelines on INEDs

  • SCCLR CG proposal (phase I)

  • HKEx Consultation on CG issues

9


In hong kong corporate governance standards have evolved significantly since the 1990s cont d
In Hong Kong, corporate governance standards have evolved significantly since the 1990s (cont’d)

1993 – 2000

2001-2002

2003

  • Code of best practices

  • Disclosure in Annual Reports

  • Guidelines on INEDs

  • SCCLR CG proposal (phase I)

  • HKEx Consultation on CG issues

  • FSTB / SFC / HKEx Corporate Action Plan

  • SCCLR CG proposals (phase II)

  • HKEx Consultation and Conclusions on CG issues

  • HKEx / SFC Consultation on sponsors & IFAs

10


In hong kong corporate governance standards have evolved significantly since the 1990s cont d1
In Hong Kong, corporate governance standards have evolved significantly since the 1990s (cont’d)

1993 – 2000

2001-2002

2003

2004-2005

  • Code of best practices

  • Disclosure in Annual Reports

  • Guidelines on INEDs

  • Consultation on Code on CG Practices (which came into effect in 2005)

  • CG amendments to Listing Rules

  • Regulation of sponsors & IFAs

  • Regulation of accounting profession

  • SCCLR CG proposal (phase I)

  • HKEx Consultation on CG issues

  • FSTB / SFC / HKEx Corporate Action Plan

  • SCCLR CG proposals (phase II)

  • HKEx Consultation and Conclusions on CG issues

  • HKEx / SFC Consultation on sponsors & IFAs

11


Revised code on corporate governance practices implemented in 2005
Revised code on corporate governance practices significantly since the 1990s (cont’d)implemented in 2005

Description

  • Consist of two tiers of compliance:

    • Code Provisions - a listed issuer is required to comply or explain

    • Recommended Best Practices - compliance is encouraged but disclosure of non-compliance is voluntary

  • Contain 5 sections covering:

    • Directors

    • Directors’ remuneration

    • Accountability and audit

    • Delegation by the Board

    • Communication with shareholders

Revised Code on Corporate Governance Practices & Corporate Governance Report

12


First and second review of the effectiveness of the code
First and second review of the effectiveness of the Code significantly since the 1990s (cont’d)

What did we do?

What did we find?

  • Reviewed 621 listed issuers’ 2005 annual reports

  • Analysed disclosure against 44 code provisions

  • 100% complied or explained

  • 89% complied with 41 or more code provisions

  • (Report published on 30 March 2007)

First

Review

  • Details of the Second Review will be published in 1Q2008

  • Surveyed 1,114 listed issuers

  • Examined disclosure against all 45 code provisions based on the survey and testing

Second

Review

  • HKEx intends to conduct and publish similar reviews on a regular basis

  • We plan to review the Code this year to determine whether any changes should be made

Further

Reviews

13


Enhancement of corporate governance standards will never stop
Enhancement of corporate governance standards will never stop…

1993 – 2000

2001-2002

2003

2006-present

2004-2005

  • Code of best practices

  • Disclosure in Annual Reports

  • Guidelines on INEDs

  • Analysis of CG Practices and Disclosure in 2005 Annual Reports (“First Review”) which was published in Mar 2007

  • The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) fully operational in 2007

  • Analysis of CG Practices and Disclosure in 2006 Annual Reports (“Second Review”) results to be published in 1Q2008

  • Consultation on Code on CG Practices (which came into effect in 2005)

  • CG amendments to Listing Rules

  • Regulation of sponsors & IFAs

  • Regulation of accounting profession

  • SCCLR CG proposal (phase I)

  • HKEx Consultation on CG issues

  • FSTB / SFC / HKEx Corporate Action Plan

  • SCCLR CG proposals (phase II)

  • HKEx Consultation and Conclusions on CG issues

  • HKEx / SFC Consultation on sponsors & IFAs

14


Cg watch 2007 by acga and clsa sep 2007
CG Watch 2007 – by ACGA and CLSA (Sep 2007) stop…

“Hong Kong has moved into first place for a range of reasons, one of which is that it continues to grapple with some difficult reform issues and its regulatory officials are well aware of the distance between local norms and international standards.” (pp. 16, CG Watch 2007)

15


Hkex strategic focus and initiatives for 2007 08
HKEx strategic focus and initiatives for 2007-08 stop…

Primary market development

  • Attract Mainland and overseas issuers

  • Introduce and review listing regimes

    Secondary market development

  • Remove trading barriers

  • Facilitate participation of intermediaries

  • Improve market making services

  • Support growth in market volume

    Product development

  • Facilitate new product launch

  • Develop new products in cash and derivatives markets

    Service enhancement

  • Enhance information transparency

  • Facilitate price discovery

  • Improve communication with EPs

  • Streamline admission of EPs

    Market Quality Enhancement

    System Enhancement

Mainland Positioning

Business Expansion

Strategic Theme 2007-09

Focus of 2007/08

Service Improvement

16


Market quality enhancement
Market Quality Enhancement stop…

Milestone achieved: The Electronic Disclosure Regime for listed company announcements was launched on 25 June 2007. Listed companies’ announcements are now submitted to HKEx electronically and are available to investors on the HKEx website.

Next step: Phase 2 of EDP effective from 25 December 2007. A statement will then be issued to conclude the 2002 consultation exercise.

Abolition of Paid Issuer Announcement

Milestone achieved: Preparation for the infrastructure and content well underway.

Next step: A dedicated issuer website with separate internet infrastructure from the HKEx website will be launched in early 2008 to provide the public with current and archived issuer related information and announcements.

Designated Issuer Website

Milestone achieved: On 5 November 2007, the SFC and HKEx published a joint policy statement on a pilot scheme for posting a WPIP. Effective 1 January 2008, WPIP must be submitted to the Exchange for posting on the HKEx website before information about the listing applicant is first provided to institutional investors.

Next step: Codification of the requirement in the Listing Rules after the pilot scheme.

Web Proof Information Pack (“WPIP”)

17


Market quality enhancement cont d
Market Quality Enhancement (cont’d) stop…

Milestone achieved: Consultation period ended 5 November 2007. Consultation proposed:

  • Shortening of announcement and financial reporting deadlines for interim (from three months to two months) and annual results (from four months to three months) for Main Board issuers

  • Introduction of quarterly reporting requirements for Main Board issuers

  • Alignment of the GEM Listing Rules related to quarterly reporting with the proposed new Main Board requirements

    Next step: Analysis of responses, further data gathering and testing of the substance of arguments under way.

Financial Reporting Consultation

Next step: In November 2007 the Listing Committee approved the proposal for issuers to publish price sensitive announcements in the morning and lunchtime publication windows without the need to impose a suspension.

Subject to SFC approval, changes will likely to be implemented by the end of 1Q2008. Market education and communication are being prepared.

Changes in Suspension Policy

18


Market quality enhancement cont d1
Market Quality Enhancement (cont’d) stop…

Next step: To be issued in January 2008 to consult on a total of 18 items related to listing policies and corporate governance, such as:

  • Facilitating electronic communication with shareholders

  • Explicit SEHK information gathering powers

  • Qualified accountants

  • Sponsor’s independence

  • Public float

  • Bonus issue of warrants

  • Proposals to reduce the extent of pre-vetting

  • Disclosure of changes in issued share capital

  • Disclosure requirements for issues of securities for cash and the basis of allocation of excess rights in rights issues

  • Alignment of requirements for material dilution in a major subsidiary and deemed disposal

  • General mandates

  • Voting at general meetings

  • Disclosure of information by and about directors

  • Codification of the property JV waiver

  • Self constructed assets

  • Disclosure of information in takeovers

Combined Consultation

19


Asian roundtable on corporate governance 2008
Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance 2008 stop…

Pursuant to a G-7 mandate to the OECD and World Bank, the OECD organises the Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance to support corporate governance reforms in Asia.

The Roundtable comprises Asian policy-makers, regulators and business leaders, as well as regional and international experts.

This year’s Asian Roundtable on Corporate Governance will be held in Hong Kong on 13-14 May 2008 (Tuesday-Wednesday).

20


The upholding of corporate governance standards
The upholding of corporate governance standards stop…

Shareholder Protection

Education

Regulation

Market

Quality

Corporate Governance Standards

Issuers

Market Participants

Regulators

21


Concluding thoughts
Concluding thoughts stop…

  • HKEx will continue to work closely with the SFC to monitor the development of corporate governance in Hong Kong and refine rules and regulations, and their enforcement, in a gradual process based on practical experience

  • However, good corporate governance is not solely a matter of rules and regulations - it is also a matter of ethics and of people

  • All of us can help promote a good governance culture by raising public awareness through education and training

  • Our ultimate goal is to establish a compliance culture where directors, market participants and professionals all strive to uphold the highest possible corporate governance standards to help maintain Hong Kong’s excellence in market quality

22


Thank you stop…

www.hkex.com.hk

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