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Best Corporate Governance Awards

 

 

List of winners and an online awards presentation:

As the physical presentation luncheon for the 2020 Awards needed to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are pleased to feature an online awards presentation. This includes a congratulatory message from the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr. Christopher Hui Ching-yu, JP, followed by the results announcement and highlights of the awards presented by judging panel chair and Institute immediate past president, Mr. Johnson Kong. The video commences with an introduction by the chair of the awards organizing committee, Ms. Loren Tang.

 

In addition, please take the time to watch the interesting series of short videos in which senior representatives of individual awardees explain what winning a BCGA award means to their organizations, and the drivers of their good corporate governance and sustainability practices.

 

Outstanding Achievement Award Best Corporate Governance Awards 2000-2020

 CLP Holdings Limited

 

Sharing from Mr. Richard Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer

 

Corporate Governance Awards

 

Hang Seng Index Category

 

 Platinum

CLP Holdings Limited

Sharing from Mr. Richard Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer

 

 Gold

 

Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited

 

 

 Special Mention

 

Link Real Estate Investment Trust

 

Sharing from Mr. George Hongchoy, Chief Executive Officer of Link Asset Management Limited

Non-Hang Seng Index (Large Market Capitalization) Category

 

 Platinum

 

Prudential plc

 

 

 Special Mention

 

WuXi Biologics (Cayman) Inc.*

 

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Medium Market Capitalization) Category

 
 Platinum Hysan Development Company Limited

Sharing from Mr. Roger Hao, Chief Financial Officer (part 1 & part 2)

 

 Gold NWS Holdings Limited
Sharing from Mr. Ma Siu Cheung, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
 Gold

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited

 

 
 Special Mention

China Power International Development Limited*

 

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Small Market Capitalization) Category

 

 Gold

 

Convenience Retail Asia Limited

 

 
 Gold Pacific Basin Shipping Limited

Sharing from Ms. Kitty Mok, Director of Risk, Group Company Secretary

 

H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category

 
 Gold Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited

Sharing from Mr. Hamilton Cheng, Executive Director

 

 Gold

Lenovo Group Limited

Sharing from Mr. Eric Mok, Company Secretary

 

Public Sector/Not-for-profit (Large) Category

 

 Platinum

 

Airport Authority Hong Kong

 

Sharing from Mr. Julian Lee, Executive Director, Finance and Mr. Peter Lee, General Manager, Sustainability
 Gold Securities and Futures Commission

Sharing from Mr. Andrew Wan, Chief Financial Officer

 

 Special Mention

Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority

 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting Awards

 

Hang Seng Index Category

 
 Winner CLP Holdings Limited

Sharing from Mr. Richard Lancaster, Chief Executive Officer

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Large Market Capitalization) Category

 

 Winner

Swire Properties Limited

Sharing from Ms. Fanny Lung, Finance Director

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Medium Market Capitalization) Category

 

 Winner

 

Hang Lung Group Limited*#

 

 

 Special Mention

 

COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited#

 

 

 Special Mention

 

The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited

 

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Small Market Capitalization) Category

 

 Special Mention

 

Landsea Green Properties Co., Ltd.

 

 

H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category

 

 Winner

 

China Mobile Limited

 

 
 Winner Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd. Sharing from Mr. Simeon Cheng, Group Director, Sustainability and Corporate Communications

 Special Mention

 

AAC Technologies Holdings Inc.#

 

 

Public Sector/Not-for-profit (Large) Category

 

 Winner

 

Airport Authority Hong Kong

 

Sharing from Mr. Julian Lee, Executive Director, Finance and Mr. Peter Lee, General Manager, Sustainability

 Winner

 

Drainage Services Department

Sharing from Mr. Wilson Pang, Deputy Director of Drainage Services

 

 Special Mention

 

The Hong Kong Jockey Club*#

 

 

Commendation on Website Corporate Governance Information

 
 Manulife Financial Corporation*

Sharing from Mr. Sherman Chan, Head of Corporate Governance, Asia

 

Self-nomination Awards

 

 Commendation on Progress in

 Corporate Governance and Sustainability

Hong Kong Housing Society*

 

Sharing from Mr. Walter Chan Kar-lok, SBS, JP, Chairman

 

 

*new awardee
#new SSR awardee

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

 

The Best Corporate Governance Awards 2020 – Judges’ Report contains commentaries from the judges and reviewers on the CG and SSR performance of the winning companies and organizations, information on international and local developments in these areas, as well as background information on the Awards.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the BCGA. It is among Hong Kong’s most prestigious awards competitions, 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 emphasize the need for organizations 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 that exceed the minimum requirements, and related disclosures in annual and sustainability reports that reflect a strong, internally-driven, CG and ESG culture, led from the top.

The Institute reviewed around 500 annual reports and a similar number of sustainability reports of listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organizations in this year's Awards. The reviews covered a range of organizations of different sizes, operating in different industry sectors, including international corporations, local family-controlled companies and Mainland businesses, in addition to public sector organizations of various sizes.

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Result announcement media briefing on 2 December 2020

The Hong Kong Institute of CPAs successfully concluded the 20th Anniversary Best Corporate Governance Awards (“the Awards” or "BCGA"), with the results announcement media briefing held as an online event on 2 December 2020.

 

The briefing was hosted by Mr. Johnson Kong, president of the Institute and chair of the judging panel, Ms. Loren Tang, chair of the Awards organizing committee, and Ms. Wendy Yung, a member of the judging panel. They reported on the overall corporate governance (CG) standard of the companies and organizations reviewed and their general strengths and weaknesses, highlighting some of the judges' observations about the winning companies and organizations. They also reported on the findings of a desktop research conducted by the Institute, which looked at how local listed companies with financial years ended 31 March 2020 have been dealing with and communicating the impact of COVID-19 to their stakeholders.

 

Speaking at the media conference, Johnson Kong stated that the Institute was proud to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Awards, which were inaugurated in 2000. Since then they have become an important benchmark of the current corporate governance, and sustainability and social responsibility standards and best practices in Hong Kong. Both the BCGA and Hong Kong’s CG have come a long way over 20 years. He went on to say, “This year has been a year of disruption, due to the ongoing US-China trade dispute and the global COVID-19 pandemic, and it is interesting to note that the Awards were launched in 2000, the year that the dot.com bubble began to burst. Throughout all this time, the importance of good CG has always been clear, as a beacon of stability and a vital investor safeguard.” He added that “companies and public sector organizations with good CG deeply ingrained are more resilient and are also more likely to be able to weather the storm and recover more quickly once it has passed.” (N.B. This is translated version as the briefing was conducted in Cantonese.)

 

The president highlighted the increasing quality of sustainability reporting in this year’s Awards and how companies are engaging stakeholders to determine the material issues of common concern. “There is a growing awareness of issues like climate change, and more benchmarking with, not only HKEX’s Environmental Social and Governance or ESG Reporting Guide, but also with international standards, including the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate Related Disclosure (TCFD). These are welcome developments,” he continued.

 

He also pointed to the Institute’s own contribution towards ESG thought leadership, namely the consultation on proposed guidance for assurance of ESG reporting, which, he said, positions the Institute in the vanguard in this important area because internationally there is currently little if any guidance of this kind. Meanwhile the range of assurance being quoted in sustainability reports is quite bewildering. The Institute’s guidance should help to rationalize the assurance offered by members.

 

Loren Tang observed that the judges saw some positive signs and decided to give out a record number of 30 awards. A diverse range of candidates reached the final stages, and seven new awardees emerged, including those winning awards for the first time in the Sustainability and Social Responsibility (“SSR”)/ Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) section.

 

Echoing the president regard the improvements in ESG reporting, Ms. Tang noted:  “For example, more companies are able to articulate their sustainability vision and integrate to corporate strategy. There have also been improvements in practices and disclosures regarding sustainability governance, with a clear explanation of roles and responsibilities, and ownership being taken up at a high level within companies, by boards, executive committees, etc.

 

“More companies appreciate that it is no longer just a question of maximizing profits for shareholders, but also how they make their profits, and the impact of their operations on the wider community,” Ms. Tang explained.

 

She also shared some information on the brief study carried out by the Institute into COVID-19 related disclosures, which focused on disclosures in annual reports, and circulars such as inside information disclosures, etc., issued up until mid-August 2020. The results reflected that, generally, in this group of companies, there was room for improvement in terms of providing more specific information and detailed analyses of the impact of the pandemic on their operations, liquidity and overall financial position; as well as on their strategies for dealing with the pandemic in the short- and longer-term.

 

Ms. Wendy Yung followed on by outlining some of the recommendations made by the judges of 2020 Awards. “While efforts are being made to address issues such as succession planning, board refreshment and diversity, these are important, if challenging, issues for the many family businesses in Hong Kong. The good efforts in this direction need to continue,” she explained, adding that although there may be some sensitivity around the issue of long-tenured directors and board refreshment, the independence of independent non-executive directors (INEDs) who stay on the board for too long is open to question. “In addition, the number of female directors, overall, is still low and quite static in Hong Kong. We would urge companies to give more weight to the merits of greater board diversity, not only in terms of gender, but also age and other factors.”

 

On sustainability, Ms. Yung said, “We hope to see ESG reporting continuing to improve and sustainability considerations being integrated into corporate strategies, investment decisions and risk management.” Among the specific suggestions made, she indicated that more companies should share their ongoing performance targets to help track progress towards ESG goals, and indicate what specific actions they have taken to meet the targets, to get back on track where they have fallen short in a particular year; or to review their targets, where the original targets have already been already met.

 

Johnson Kong then proceeded to announce the award winners. This year, the judges agreed on a record number of awards, four more than the previous highest number. (See the table below for further information.) In addition, a more diverse range of candidates reached the final stages of the process. Marking the end of the first two decades of the Awards, the president also announced a special, one-off, Outstanding Achievement Award given to CLP Holdings Limited. He explained that the company had won an CG award every year since the BCGA was launched in 2000, and, in addition, an SSR Award every year since that section of the Awards was introduced, in 2011, which was an outstanding achievement.

 

Click here for the press release.

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20th anniversary video series

Check out our short series of videos highlighting the value of adopting good governance and sustainability practices, including an overview and illustrations of key criteria.

 

  • The first video features the Institute’s President, and the Awards Judging Panel Chair, Johnson Kong

 

 

Board structure and functioning, and risk management and internal control are key determinant factors used to assess the candidates in the Awards. In these two episodes, Patrick discusses a number of the important criteria in these areas. 

 
  • The fourth video features the Awards Organising Committee Chair, Loren Tang

 

Sustainability and social responsibility are a growing area of importance for the Awards. Loren highlights some of the judging considerations, including KPIs, for the Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting Awards.

 

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Recent A Plus articles on the awards

As part of the Institute’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the awards, the Institute’s monthly magazine A Plus has featured articles on how the awards have helped to develop Hong Kong’s corporate governance landscape, and what winning awards means to companies and public sector organizations.

 

 

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