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BT journalists win big at Sias awards; DBS, CapitaLand Group lead the way in corporate governance

THE Business Times' veterans Angela Tan and Kenneth Lim clinched top awards for financial journalism at the Securities Investors’ Association of Singapore’s (Sias) Investors’ Choice Awards 2019 on Thursday evening.

It was not just financial journalists who were honoured for their achievements; other stakeholders such as brokers, internal auditors and companies were also recognised for their efforts to drive corporate governance and sustainability. Among the big winners included DBS, CapitaLand Group and City Developments.

Held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, over 1,000 guests attended the gala dinner where guest-of-honour Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat presented the prizes.

Ms Tan, a senior correspondent who covers a range of financial news, took home the top award of Financial Journalist of the Year for the second year running. Her interest in everything from regulatory issues to scandals and bankruptcies has resulted in stories like the Sycamore Tree and Laurel Tree saga, which left more than 180 home buyers without homes.

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Mr Lim, deputy news editor, snagged the award for Financial Story of the Year with an exclusive story on the possible scrapping of the minimum trading price requirement for Mainboard-listed companies.

He sensed a story when he noticed that many companies added to the Singapore Exchange (SGX) watchlist when the rule was introduced in 2016 had yet to fix the breach, presaging a wave of delistings in 2020. While investigating what would happen as the deadlines approached, he discovered that SGX was considering scrapping the “troublesome rule”.

This year, the Singapore Corporate Governance Awards went to DBS, Vicom, Global Investments and CapitaLand Mall Trust for their respective big-cap, mid-cap, small-cap and Reit/business trust categories.

CapitaLand Mall Trust also clinched the Sustainability Award, together with City Developments, China Everbright Water and Food Empire Holdings. The award recognises best practices in environmental, social and governance issues, which are rapidly becoming more important to investors.

CapitaLand Group on Thursday noted that it bagged the most number of wins group-wide with 14 altogether.

“This is the fourth consecutive year that the group has topped the annual awards,” it said.

Singapore Press Holdings improved from its runner-up position last year to emerge winner of the Diversity Award, which honours companies that have bolstered progress in various board diversity aspects, such as gender balance and the experience and background of directors.

Meanwhile, the Shareholder Communications Excellence Awards went to DBS, Tuan Sing Holdings, Micro-Mechanics (Holdings) and CapitaLand Mall Trust.

On the brokerage front, PhillipCapital and OCBC Securities came in as joint winners for the Best Retail Broker Award this year.

In his speech, Sias president and CEO David Gerald reiterated the investor advocacy group's ethos of “in the boardroom, not the courtroom” to build trust and resolve disputes between companies and stakeholders.

With funding secured from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, some of his plans for Sias to stay relevant in the future include expanding corporate governance to include sustainability. It also intends to embrace technology for investor education and equity research for wider reach.

The Singapore Corporate Governance Awards aim to encourage public listed companies to adopt high levels of corporate governance and investor relations practices. It was attended by 1,000 guests from the business, academic and investing communities, as well as from the regulatory bodies.