Video Friday: Corporate Governance in Singapore

Does Singapore have what it takes to be #1… in the world? The latest CG Watch Market Scores for corporate governance compiled by the Asian Corporate Governance Association revealed that Singapore tops the table in the region, with a score of 69.

Hong Kong and Thailand round out the top three, with 66 and 58 points respectively, closely followed by Japan and Malaysia, which  with 55 points each.

The figures are based on the framework by which a company meets ethical and legal standards, and makes sure various stakeholder interests are balanced.

The Philippines and South Korea saw the biggest improvement in their corporate governance ratings, increased by four points, but the Philippines is still in tenth place out of 11 nations. (Singapore named as top corporate governance nation in Asia, BarclaySimpson)

Brendan Wood’s address at the SIAS 4th Asian Corporate Governance Conference 2012 in Singapore, discussing their shareholder confidence index.

Assessing corporate governance in Asia. Annual CPA forum ranks standards of governance among Singaporean companies and debates approaches across Asia.

Corporate Governance and Valuation in Asia – This symposium brings together industry practitioners and academics to share how much corporate governance practices influence company valuation/performance. The speakers will share experiences of corporations in the Asian Pacific region, namely Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand. We will also hear from experts on how index builders have created a methodology consistent with OECD principles to measure corporate governance practices.

Here’s one place Singapore lags and could easily improve… gender diversity in the boardroom. The Singapore Board Diversity Report, a joint 2-year study by BoardAgender and NUS Business School’s Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organizations (CGIO), surveyed 700 Singapore Exchange-listed firms. It found Singapore ranked bottom among developed economies globally for boardroom gender diversity with 6.9 percent female representation across sectors. In the region, it was behind Hong Kong, China and Malaysia, and only ahead of India.

Comparing the average IQ in a particular country with its disease burden (based on the reduction in life expectancy caused by 28 infectious diseases) reveals a striking correlation.

At the bottom of the IQ list is Equatorial Guinea, followed by St Lucia, with Cameroon, Mozambique and Gabon tied for third last. These countries also have among the highest burdens of infectious diseases. At the opposite end of the scale, Singapore, South Korea, China and Japan show the highest intelligence scores and relatively low levels of disease. (Intelligence tested, The Economist, 2 July 2010)

Singapore obviously has the brains to be first. Does it have the will? The SIAS Position Paper on Corporate Governance seems to miss the need for more diversity, especially women, on Singapore’s boards. Will the Singapore Institute of Directors take a leadership role?

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