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QUARTERLY reporting may be the norm for all listed companies on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) today, but it was only in 2002 that the Ministry of Finance said it would make the practice compulsory.
A rash of financial scandals both within and outside of Singapore the year before provided the impetus for the switch, which was aimed at greater transparency and followed a trend in other major jurisdictions.
Reactions towards the practice have been mixed, both then and now. More than a decade after the switch to mandatory quarterly reporting, SGX in 2016 said it would study whether the practice should remain compulsory. Ambivalence about quarterly reporting is not unique to Singapore, with some exchanges in Europe having already removed the requirement.
Also in 2002, transportation companies Comfort Group and DelGro Corp announced a merger that would create what is known today as ComfortDelGro Corp.
It was a marriage of Singapore's largest taxi operator and largest bus operator, and created a transportation giant that not only had substantial operations both in Singapore and in the United Kingdom, but also a budding rail segment with the new Northeast and Punggol/Sengkang lines in Singapore.
The merger also transformed Singapore's land transportation market into one dominated by just two players. The only rival to the newly created transport giant at the time - ComfortDelGro's market capitalisation was expected to exceed S$1 billion when the merger was announced - was SMRT Corp.
On the broader economic level, Singapore was busy pursuing free trade agreements with a host of countries to strengthen its global economic links.
In 2002, these included countries like Japan and Australia and further ongoing negotiations with Europe and the United States. Under the Association of South-east Asian Nations umbrella, Singapore was also exploring trade deals with India and China.
The Business Times has been there to report and analyse the most significant news since 1976. Every week, this feature will showcase excerpts from the biggest stories for each year that the paper has been in operation. The full text of all the stories can be found online at bt.sg/bt_40