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Best Corporate Governance Awards




The Hong Kong Institute of CPAs successfully concluded its 2019 Best Corporate Governance Awards (“the Awards” or "BCGA")) with the presentation ceremony held at a luncheon in the JW Marriott Hotel on 5 December 2019.

 

Guest of honour, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr. James Lau, addressed the audience before presenting the awards to the winners at the 2019 presentation ceremony. In his speech, Mr. Lau congratulated all the winning companies, and recognized the effort and commitment shown by all participants.

 

He spoke about the importance of sustainability and social responsibility, noting that sustainable development requires a concerted effort globally, and that Hong Kong must play its part in this for the greater global good. As the premier international financial centre in Asia, Hong Kong needs to shape its role as a regional hub for green finance through different avenues.

 

Performances in the Sustainability and Social Responsibility (SSR) part of BCGA have improved since the upgrading of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Guide by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as reflected in the number of awardees in this area. Some public sector organizations have also started to produce good quality sustainability reporting. This is a positive outcome from the efforts of the government and regulators, the business sector, as well as other advocates. The majority of Award nominees adopted international standards in preparing their sustainability reports, and the best reports consolidated and presented the organizations’ sustainability policies and practices concisely and in a reader-friendly manner.

 

Mr. Patrick Law, president of the Institute and chair of the judging panel, and Ms. Loren Tang, chairman of the Awards organising committee, also spoke at the event. Ms. Tang highlighted the judges’ view that stakeholders’ expectations were rising. The judges wanted to send the message that, while the positive improvements in certain areas were to be commended, there was scope, even for organizations with high corporate governance standards, to further raise their game.

 

Speaking about the backdrop to the 2019 Awards, Patrick Law said: "the Institute’s Awards have tracked the development of corporate governance from its humble beginnings to its place in the mainstream of corporate affairs. We hope that they have played some small part in hastening this development, by holding up a mirror to the current standards in the local market, and also as a catalyst to stimulate further progressive changes." He emphasized that the Institute remained as committed as ever to promoting and supporting good governance, making sure that Hong Kong stays firmly aligned with evolving international best practices.

 

Mr. Law went on to explain: "The reviewers and judges in the Awards have seen first-hand how the corporate governance framework of the average listed company has become much more extensive in parallel with the progressive changes made to the Listing Rules, the Corporate Governance Code and the ESG Reporting Guide. However, the foundation of good corporate governance still remains ethical and responsible conduct, coupled with transparency and accountability" He also spoke about the need for sustainable practices and that we all have a shared responsibility for protecting the planet, so that future generations can also enjoy what is has to offer.

 

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 organizations and media sponsors.

 

On the morning of 5 December 2019, the president, Loren Tang and Mr. Patrick Rozario, chairman of the Awards' review panel, hosted a media briefing to announce the results of the 2019 Awards. They reported on the overall CG standard of the companies and organizations reviewed and their general strengths and weaknesses, as well as highlighting some of the judges' observations about the winning companies and organizations.

 

The performance of the award winners represents the benchmarks of best practice for CG and sustainability reporting amongst listed companies and public sector organizations in Hong Kong. The Institute is pleased to see a number of “firsts” this year, including the first winner of Self-nomination Award, the first company in the Non-Hang Seng Index (Small Market Capitalization) Category to win an SSR Award, and the first government department to be recognized in the BCGA, which was also in the SSR section. In all there are eight first-time awardees (denoted with an asterisk in the list below). The awardees in the 2019 BCGA are:

 

Hang Seng Index Category
 Platinum CLP Holdings Limited
 Gold Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Large Market Capitalization) Category

 Gold Hysan Development Company Limited

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Medium Market Capitalization) Category

 Platinum The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited
 Special Mention Pacific Basin Shipping Limited

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Small Market Capitalization) Category

 Special Mention Convenience Retail Asia Limited
 Special Mention SOCAM Development Limited*

 

H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category

 Platinum Lenovo Group Limited
 Special Mention AAC Technologies Holdings Inc.*
 Special Mention CGN Power Co., Ltd.*

 

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

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

 

Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting Awards

 

Hang Seng Index Category

 Winner CLP Holdings Limited
 Winner Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
 Special Mention The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Large Market Capitalization) Category

 Winner Swire Properties Limited
 Winner Vitasoy International Holdings Limited*

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Medium Market Capitalization) Category

 Winner VTech Holdings Limited

 

Non-Hang Seng Index (Small Market Capitalization) Category

 Special Mention Landsea Green Group Co., Ltd.*

 

H-share Companies and Other Mainland Enterprises Category

 Winner China Mobile Limited*
 Winner Lenovo Group Limited

 

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

 Special Mention Airport Authority Hong Kong
 Special Mention Drainage Services Department*

 

Commendation on Website Corporate Governance Information

 NWS Holdings Limited*

 

Self-nomination Awards

 Commendation on Corporate Governance Improvements Construction Industry Council*

 

Click here for the press release.

 

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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, chief financial officers and other senior representatives from the winning companies and organizations attended the Awards luncheon to receive their trophies. Slides produced primarily from the annual reports and sustainability reports of the award winners were displayed during the presentations. These showed examples of the scope and clear presentation of key information provided by the award winners.

 

The Best Corporate Governance Awards 2019 – 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 was the 20th 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 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 culture, led from the top.

 

The Institute reviewed around 500 annual reports and more than 500 sustainability reports of listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organizations in this year's Awards. In addition, around 500 websites were visited to identify potential candidates in the Commendations for Website Corporate Governance Information category. 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.

 

Since 2017, the category for non-Hang Seng Index mid-small market capitalization companies has been split into two separate categories – one for medium market capitalization companies and another for small cap companies. This year, a similar split was introduced in the Public Sector/ Not-for-profit Organization Category, dividing it into one category for large organizations and another for mid- to-small organizations. These changes aim to encourage different size of companies and organizations to improve their CG by providing more relevant benchmarks for them.

 

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