Edited by Mak Yuen Teen
Strong corporate governance and transparency are critical for business success. For investors, good governance is a good indicator of wellmanaged, resilient businesses. For companies, a measure of success is the ability to internalise the values, spirit and purpose behind governance rules. While the governance standards in Singapore have brought us to where we are today, we have some way to go if we want to be seen as leaders in this area. Regulators, directors, management, investors, industry groups and professional bodies all have a part to play. The collective efforts of all these stakeholders will be needed to sustain the drive to improve governance and support the government’s vision of positioning Singapore as a global financial centre. This inaugural collection of teaching case studies aims to raise awareness and promote thoughtful discussions on key corporate governance issues in companies across several markets, particularly in Asia. The authors have endeavoured to present the facts and issues based on publicly-available information covering matters such as the board, board committees, ownership structure, corporate governance rules and regulations, auditors and remuneration. Following each case study are discussion questions which we hope will facilitate a robust exchange of views to help lead efforts to advance corporate governance standards and best practices in Singapore. We would like to thank Associate Professor Mak Yuen Teen for supervising and editing the case studies produced by students of the NUS Business School. We trust you will find the cases a good starting point to study governance issues that may be relevant to your professional roles. Deborah Ong FCPA (Aust.) President – Singapore CPA Australia April 2012
In early 2010, I started coordinating and teaching the Corporate Governance and Ethics course at the NUS Business School. This is a compulsory third-level course for all students in the BBA (Accountancy) programme at the school. I thought that a great way for the students to learn is through case studies. Unfortunately, there are very few case studies in corporate governance, and even fewer which are Singapore- or Asianfocused. The lack of good Asian case studies in corporate governance has also been raised by practising directors and others involved in training programmes for directors. I therefore decided to incorporate a case writing component into the course by getting the students to form groups and write comprehensive cases as part of their course assessment. This publication contains the abridged versions of 18 of these cases. The cases are diverse in many ways. Eight of these cases involve companies listed in Singapore, including some foreign companies. Five involve other Asian companies in Hong Kong, India and Malaysia, while the remaining five involve non-Asian companies. However, this is a simplification as the cases often cross national boundaries. For example, there is a bribery case which involves a Singapore company and Apple in the US. The case on the failed merger between SGX and ASX is really an international case. The reason why I also included non-Asian cases is because, while there are differences in rules, regulations and norms and unique corporate governance issues in Asia, the international cases allow the learning of differences around the world and also a comparison with Singapore and Asia. In any case, with globalisation, executives, accountants and regulators will increasingly need to understand corporate governance from a more international perspective. The cases are also diverse in terms of issues raised. They illustrate that corporate governance is much more than about just rules and regulations or about legal duties and liabilities of directors. At the risk of simplification, four of the cases deal with mergers and acquisitions, two with privatisation, three with bribery, ethics...