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The Oscar winners of corporate governance
THE "Oscar" winners of Singapore's corporate scene were honoured at the 14th edition of the Singapore Corporate Awards at the Resorts World Convention Centre on July 23.
The black-tie event, jointly organised by The Business Times, Singapore Institute of Directors, and Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, honoured 38 companies and six individuals for leading the way in corporate governance and shareholder communication.
Four groups - CapitaLand, DBS Bank, Keppel Corporation, and United Overseas Bank - led winners with multiple awards.
The event was supported by the Singapore Exchange and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority, with Standard Chartered Singapore as the presenting sponsor, and Jardine Cycle & Carriage as the co-sponsor.
In the top accolade - the "Best Managed Board" category, CapitaLand and OCBC clinched the gold award in the big-cap category, while Banyan Tree Holdings and Frencken Group walked away with the gold award in the mid- and small-cap categories, respectively.
The "Best Managed Board" award celebrates companies with multi-dimensional excellence in transparency, accountability, performance orientation, good processes and practices. The creation of shareholder value is also one of the criteria.
Ng Kee Choe, chairman of CapitaLand, on receiving the award on behalf of the board and staff, said he was "delighted to be honoured".
"At CapitaLand, we embrace and practise high standards of corporate governance because it is the right thing to do, and it is also beneficial to the company and its shareholders."
This was CapitaLand's first time at the awards as an enlarged group since its combination with Ascendas-Singbridge to become one of Asia's largest diversified real estate groups.
OCBC chairman, Ooi Sang Kuang, also said in an earlier roundtable with The Business Times that regulatory compliance has always been a part of the operating landscape, and the landscape has evolved significantly in recent years, and will continue to do so for years to come.
"While the cost of compliance can be a burden, we view this as a good investment for sustainability. In particular, it builds trust in us."
The three outstanding CEOs crowned came from Singapore Airlines, Far East Orchard and Sing Investments & Finance in the various categories by market capitalisation. They are respectively Goh Choon Phong, Lui Chong Chee and Lee Sze Leong.
The best chief financial officer awards went to Wilmar International, Vicom Ltd and iFAST Corporation, namely Stephen Ho, Mary Lee and David Leung.
An inaugural award for best risk management was given to eight companies; the gold winners were DBS Group Holdings and China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corporation.
The Special Recognition Award, in its fourth year running, was awarded to DBS Group for a second consecutive year. Last year, DBS was recognised for its all-round excellence in corporate governance.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, the guest of honour at the event, in his speech that evening also urged the corporate sector to work more closely with the government, especially against a backdrop of slowing global and domestic growth, in order to promote forward-looking, pro-business regulations and policies.
Photos by: ALVIN TAN and KHIDZER CHONG