Best Corporate Governance Awards

The Hong Kong Institute of CPAs successfully concluded its 2016 Best Corporate Governance Awards (“the Awards”) with the presentation ceremony held at a luncheon in the JW Marriott Hotel on 1 December 2016.

 

Guest of honour, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Prof. K C Chan, addressed the audience before presenting the awards to the winners at the 2016 presentation ceremony. In his speech, Prof. Chan stated:  "First organised in 2000, the Best Corporate Governance Awards has become the benchmark for good corporate governance and stewardship in Hong Kong." He went on to say: "I noticed that the name of the Awards is simplified by dropping the word 'disclosure'. Accurate and meaningful disclosures are no doubt a central component of good corporate governance. But in order to form a holistic view of an organisation's approach to corporate governance, the reviewers and judges are now also taking into account other public information such as media reports and websites. I also see that a new award for web-based corporate governance information is introduced among other things. These changes are timely indeed as technology and media are evolving very quickly these days."

 

About the Judges' Report, Prof Chan observed:
 "I certainly congratulate you for the good work you have done and the Judges' Report is of a very high standard and I hope we can publicise this as an example of good corporate governance practices."

 

Ms. Ivy Cheung, president of the Institute and chairman of the judging panel, and Mr. Patrick Rozario, chairman of the Awards organising committee, also spoke at the event. Patrick highlighted the major changes in the Awards, and outlined the processes involved in the 2016 Awards.

 

The president explained that "what the Awards judges look for is organisations that focus on longer-term development and success and which truly embrace the spirit of good corporate governance, as a key element of a sustainable business or public sector service provider." She went on to highlight some of the findings from this year's Awards:

 

  • Although the minimum CG requirements are progressively being raised, the best performers are still able to achieve excellent scores on the strength of the higher standards that they voluntarily adopt. They demonstrate a firm commitment to a strong governance culture at the top, which permeates throughout all levels of the company.

 

  • More companies are benchmarking themselves against the Recommended Best Practices in the Corporate Governance Code. They have strong boards with highly-qualified, effective independent non-executive directors. They provide clear and informative explanations of the work of the board and the main board committees. There is a very high rate of attendance by directors at board, committee and shareholder meetings. They provide ongoing training for directors on regulatory and compliance matters, on the latest developments of the business and in the industry.

 

  • They help investors to understand the overall risk profile of the company and facilitate more informed investment decisions: By explaining clearly their risk management and internal control frameworks and processes, as well as key strategic risks faced by the company and mitigation measures taken to address these. Some companies are moving further in the direction of integrated reporting. There is growing momentum around the world behind the adoption of this approach to corporate reporting, which can help a company to develop more integrated thinking and processes, and to understand the real value drivers of the business; also, very importantly, to explain itself more clearly to investors and other stakeholders.

 

The speakers also expressed appreciation for the invaluable contributions of the judges, reviewers, the Institute management, and others involved in ensuring the success of the Awards. They also thanked the supporting organisations and media sponsors.

 

On 30 November 2016, Ivy Cheung and Patrick Rozario hosted a media briefing to announce the results of the 2016 Awards. They reported on the overall standard of the entries, identified examples of the positive governance practices among the winning companies and organisations, as well as areas for further improvement in Hong Kong’s CG standards.

 

The disclosures and practices of the award winners represent benchmarks of CG best practice amongst listed companies and public sector organisations in Hong Kong. The Institute is pleased to see several first-time awardees this year and other companies winning one of the main awards for the first time (denoted by* in the list below). The full list of winners is below.

 

Click here for the press release.

 

2016 Results

 

HSI Category

DiamondCLP Holdings Limited
GoldHong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
Special MentionMTR Corporation Limited

  

Non-HSI (Large Market Capitalisation) Category
PlatinumThe Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited
GoldHysan Development Company Limited

  

Non-HSI (Mid-to-small Market Capitalisation) Category

GoldPacific Basin Shipping Limited

 

H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category

PlatinumLenovo Group Limited
GoldBank of China Limited*
Special MentionChina CITIC Bank Corporation Limited
Special MentionHuatai Securities Co., Ltd.*

 

Public Sector/Not-for-profit Category

PlatinumAirport Authority Hong Kong
GoldSecurities and Futures Commission

 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting Awards

Winner – Hang Seng Index CategoryCLP Holdings Limited
Special Mention – Non-Hang Seng IndexThe Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited
(Large Market Capitalisation) Category
Special Mention – H-share Companies andLenovo Group Limited*
Other Mainland Enterprises Category
Special Mention – Public Sector/Airport Authority Hong Kong*
Not-for-profit Category

 

Award for Website Corporate Governance Information

WinnerHospital Authority*

 

 

The Institute wishes to congratulate all the worthy winners and commends them for their commitment to high quality CG and sustainability and social responsibility (SSR) reporting.

 

Directors and chief executives, financial officers and other senior representatives from the winning companies and organisations attended the Awards luncheon to receive their trophies. Slides produced primarily from the annual reports and sustainability/ corporate social responsibility reports of the award winners were displayed during the presentations. These graphically illustrated the scope and clear presentation of key information by the winning organisations.

 

The Best Corporate Governance Awards 2016 – Judges’ Report contains commentaries from the judges and reviewers on the CG performance of the winning companies and organisations, information on international and local developments in CG, as well as background information on the Awards.

 

This year was the 17th successive running of the Awards. It is Hong Kong’s most prestigious CG awards competition, enjoying strong support from the government, financial market regulators, investor groups, the business and professional community and academia. The Awards play an important role in establishing benchmarks of good CG and SSR reporting and encouraging improvements in standards. They emphasise the need for organisations to be transparent and accountable towards shareholders, investors and other stakeholders, including the communities in which they operate.

 

The focus of the Awards is very much on the voluntary adoption of standards of CG that exceed the minimum requirements, and the provision of related information in annual and sustainability/ corporate social responsibility reports, which together reflect a strong, internally-driven, CG culture, led from the top.

 

The Institute reviewed more than 650 annual reports and sustainability/ corporate social responsibility reports of listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organisations in this year's Awards. In addition, around 600 websites were visited to identify potential candidates for the new awards for website CG information. These included a range of organisations of different sizes, operating in different industry sectors, international corporations, family-controlled local companies and Mainland businesses, in addition to public sector organisations.

 

General Background

 

The Institute first launched the Awards in 2000 with the twin objectives of encouraging and promoting good CG disclosures and practices, and acknowledging listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organisations that exemplified the best CG standards in Hong Kong, as reflected in their annual reports. In 2000 there were only three categories, in which diamond, platinum and gold awards could be given out, and one grand award; up to 10 awards in all. In the 2016 Awards, there were five main categories with more than 25 possible awards.

 

In addition to diamond, platinum, gold and significant improvement awards (SIAs) and SSR Awards, the judges may give out special mentions for CG and SSR performances regarded by the judges as deserving of recognition and encouragement.

 

This year, three new types of awards were introduced, aimed at encouraging organisations that are achieving high standards in important areas of good CG, but which may not yet have in place the all-round performance required to win one of the main awards. A new self-nomination process was also introduced for the SIAs.

 

As mentioned above, a worthy winner was identified for the inaugural award for website CG information. However, the judges were disappointed to be unable to identify suitable candidates for the new awards for risk management and internal control, and board and audit committee operation and functioning. Furthermore, there was a lack of nominations for SIAs. So all in all, as observed in the press release, it was a mixed year with some notable successes and some disappointments.

 

The organising committee will continue to seek ways to improve the Awards with the aim of further encouraging the development of high standards of CG in the Hong Kong market.

 

Each year the detailed assessment criteria are reviewed and updated to take account of regulatory changes and changes in the market's and the community's expectations. This year, the Institute revised the quality review marking scheme, taking into account the latest developments in environment, social and governance (ESG) reporting and, in particular, the requirements in the upgraded ESG Reporting Guide under the listing rules, which take effect in two phases: some changes applying or accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016, and others from the beginning of 2017. Tailor-made marking sheets were designed for the purpose of the new awards.

 

The Institute is very grateful to all the people whose dedicated work helps to make the Awards a success. This includes the reviewers, judges, the Awards organising committee, and supporting staff. The Institute also thanks all the supporting organisations and media sponsors. Acknowledgments, as well as detailed commentaries on the CG of the winning companies and organizations, are contained in the Judges' Report for the 2016 Awards.

 

The Judges' Reports for past years are listed below (click on the relevant link):