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Best Corporate Governance Awards



The Hong Kong Institute of CPAs successfully concluded its 2018 Best Corporate Governance Awards (“the Awards” or "BCGA")) with the presentation ceremony held at a luncheon in the JW Marriott Hotel on 29 November 2018.

 

Guest of honour, Permanent Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury (Financial Services), Mr. Andrew Wong Ho-yuen, JP, addressed the audience before presenting the awards to the winners at the 2018 presentation ceremony. In his speech, Mr. Wong congratulated all the recipients for going above and beyond the minimum legal and regulatory requirements to achieve excellence in corporate governance.

 

He noted that "corporate governance is absolutely critical to maintain Hong Kong as an international financial centre and a leading business hub of Asia. With the concerted efforts and shared commitment of the government, regulators and professional bodies like the HKICPA, Hong Kong will for sure continue to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance in Asia and globally".

 

Performances in the sustainability and social responsibility reporting ("SSR") section of BCGA have improved since the upgrading of the Environmental, Social and Governance ("ESG") Reporting Guide by the Stock Exchange. One consequence of this is that more SSR Award winners have been identified this year. This is a positive outcome that reflects the efforts of regulators and the business sector. The majority of Award nominees adopted the Global Reporting Initiative ("GRI") standards in preparing their sustainability reports, and the outstanding ones found better and more accessible ways to present their sustainability policies and practices, while meeting the GRI standards.

 

Mr. Eric Tong, president of the Institute and chair of the judging panel, and Mr. Derek Broadley, chairman of the Awards organising committee, also spoke at the event. Derek Broadley indicated that there have been incremental improvements in the general standard in Hong Kong, with more extensive information, greater transparency and accountability to shareholders and stakeholders in range of relevant areas.

 

Speaking about the backdrop to the 2018 Awards, Eric Tong said: "this year the initial vetting process covered over 700 annual and 450 sustainability reports, increasing the opportunities to identify potential awardees. This work to identify winners from a wide range of companies paid off and, this year, the judges have given out 23 awards, three more than last year. I am pleased to say that there was a diverse range of candidates reaching the final stages, which bodes well for the future."

 

He went on to explain: "It is also pleasing to see that, this year, there is a significant proportion of first-time award winners, including the first ever awardee in the Small Market Capitalisation Category, since this was established as a separate category. Hopefully, this will encourage other smaller companies to take steps to improve their corporate governance."

 

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.

 

Earlier the same day, before the presentation ceremony, the president, Derek Broadley and Mr. Patrick Rozario, chairman of the Awards' review panel, hosted a media briefing to announce the results of the 2018 Awards. They reported on the overall CG standard of the companies and organisations reviewed and their general strengths and weaknesses, as well as highlighting some of the judges' observations about the winning companies and organisations.

 

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 some first-time awardees this year (denoted with an asterisk in the list below). The awardees in the 2018 BCGA are:

 

Hang Seng Index Category
 Platinum CLP Holdings Limited
 Gold Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
 Special Mention Link Real Estate Investment Trust

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Large Market Capitalisation) Category

 Platinum Prudential plc
 Gold Hysan Development Company Limited
 Special Mention Shangri-La Asia Limited*

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Medium Market Capitalisation) Category

 Platinum The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited
 Gold Li & Fung Limited
 Special Mention Pacific Basin Shipping Limited

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Small Market Capitalisation) Category

 Special Mention Convenience Retail Asia Limited*

 

H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category

 Platinum Lenovo Group Limited
 Gold  COSCO SHIPPING Ports Limited
 Gold Tencent Holdings Limited*
 Special Mention Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Limited*

 

Public Sector/Not-for-profit Category

 Gold Securities and Futures Commission
 Special Mention Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority

 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting Awards

 Winner - Hang Seng Index Category CLP Holdings Limited
 Winner - Hang Seng Index Category The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited*
 Special Mention - Non-Hang Seng Index (Large Market Capitalisation) Category The Wharf (Holdings) Limited*
 Special Mention - Non-Hang Seng Index (Medium Market Capitalisation) Category China Everbright Greentech Limited*
 Winner - H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category Lenovo Group Limited
 Special Mention - Public Sector/Not-for-profit Category Airport Authority Hong Kong

 

Commendation on Website Corporate Governance Information

 Hospital Authority 

 

Click here for the press release.

 

 

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

 

Directors, chief 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 ("S/CSR") reports of the award winners were displayed during the presentations. These showed examples of the scope and presentation of key information provided by the award winners.

 

The Best Corporate Governance Awards 2018 – 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 19th 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 governance and sustainability that exceed the minimum requirements and related disclosures in annual and S/CSR reports, which together reflect a strong, internally-driven, CG culture, led from the top.

 

The Institute reviewed more than 700 annual reports and 450 S/CSR reports of listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organisations in this year's Awards. In addition, more than 700 websites were visited to identify potential candidates for commendations for website CG information. The reviews covered a range of organisations of different sizes, operating in different industry sectors, including international corporations, local family-controlled companies and Mainland businesses, in addition to public sector organisations.

 

Since 2017, the category for non-Hang Seng Index mid-small market capitalisation companies has been split into two separate categories – one for medium market capitalisation companies and another for small market capitalisation companies. The aim is to encourage small and medium-sized companies to improve their CG by providing more relevant benchmarks for them. This year, the first winner was named in the small market capitalisation category, which is encouraging. This sets an example for other smaller listed companies.

 

 

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 exemplify 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, with an overall grand award (around 10 possible awards). In 2018, the Awards have grown to include six main categories, SSR awards, self-nomination awards, and three types of commendations, amounting, in all, to over 40 possible awards.

 

In addition to the above, the judges may give out special mentions for CG and SSR performances regarded as deserving of recognition and encouragement.

 

The process

 

Planning on the Awards starts in March each year, when the organising committee reviews the previous year's Awards and sets the themes and parameters for the coming year. An initial vetting process is carried out in May to identify companies that merit a more in-depth review of their CG and SSR performance. Those companies that pass the initial vetting undergo up to two more detailed "quality reviews" of their CG disclosures and practices. Annual reports remain the primary source of information, but website information may be considered, particularly where there are cross-references to this in the annual report. Companies that make it into the second round of the quality review phase are given a "compliance review", to confirm their compliance with the CG requirements of the Companies Ordinance and listing rules.

 

The judges are provided with a shortlist of companies and organisations, as well as other information from the review phase. However, they make their own assessments and reach their own conclusions. Having provided their written views and recommendations, the judges convene for a meeting to decide on the final determinations. In addition to information from the review process and their own analyses, where appropriate, the judges may also take into account and discuss other public information about the shortlisted candidates, such as news reports and researched material.

 

Each year the detailed assessment criteria are reviewed and updated to take account of regulatory changes and changes in expectations within the market and the community. Tailor-made assessment criteria and marking sheets have been designed for the SSR awards and the commendations.

 

The Institute is very grateful to all the people whose dedication 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 and SSR of the winning companies and organisations, are contained in the Judges' Report for the 2018 Awards.

 

 

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