Ethics & Governance Issues of Wing Tai Holdings

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A)Company Information

Wing Tai Holdings Limited (Wing Tai) was incorporated in Singapore on 9 August 1963 and listed on the Singapore Exchange on 21 February 1989. Wing Tai started in Hong Kong as a garment manufacturer in the 1950’s. It later expanded its operations to Singapore and Malaysia in the early 1960’s and entered the property market in Singapore in 1978. Since then, Wing Tai became a major property player with a niche reputation for delivering premium developments with innovative design, finishes and workmanship due to its dedicated attention to detail and quality.

Wing Tai together with its regional business entities, USI Holdings Limited (Hong Kong) and DNP Holdings Bhd (Malaysia) formed the Wing Tai Asia Group. Figure 1 shows the overview of WingTai Asia Group and the business they are in.

Wing Tai is one of Singapore’s leading property developers and Lifestyle Company widely recognized for quality in its property developments. They are recognized for developing distinctive, prime, luxury homes in District 9, 10 and 11. Some of their recent projects are Draycott 8 Clubhouse, The Light @ Cairnhill, Helios Residences, The Riverine by the Park and many more.

Other than its main business in property developments, Wing Tai has also gone into apparel retailing, hospitality management and food franchise operations. Figure 2 shows the overview of Wing Tai’s business. Wing Tai’s engages both the agency theory and stewardship theory in their management. The agency theory is engaged as the shareholders employ the Board of directors and management to manage the company. At the same time, they also believe that the managers are good stewards of the company and they work hard to achieve high level of profits and shareholders’ returns.

B)Development of Corporate Governance in Singapore

After the Financial crisis in 1997, Singapore Government, mainly the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC), had decided to appoint 3 committees to improve Singapore’s standard on corporate governance.

The 3 committees that were setup were the corporate governance committee, the disclosure and accounting standards committee, and the company legislation and regulatory framework committee. Their purpose was ‘to enhance the existing framework for corporate law and governance, to strengthen Singapore’s competitiveness as a world-class business and financial centre’, (Dr Richard Hu, 1999).

In 18 July 1998, the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) was formally incorporated and formally launch on 16 December 1999. The main objective of SID is to increase the professional standards of corporate directors.

The Council on Corporate Disclosure and Governance (CCDG) was launched on 16 August 2002. PM Lee Hsien Loong in his speech had stated that the 3 roles of CCDG are: -To prescribe accounting standards in Singapore.

-To strengthen the framework on disclosure practices and reporting standards. -It will own and update the Code of Corporate Governance
The first Singapore’s Code of Corporate Governance was published on 21 March 2001. Then in May 2004, CCDG setup a review committee comprising private sector participants to review and improve the Code, taking into account international developments and feedback received since the Code was introduced in 2003. In July 2005, the revised Code of Corporate Governance was released. The new code places greater emphasis on internal control and encourages greater disclosure as well as whistle blowing.

In 1 September 2007, CCDG was dissolved and its roles & responsibilities were passed on to MAS, Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Accounting Standards Council (ACS). MAS and SGX will take over the responsibilities to own and update the Code of Corporate Governance and to strengthen the framework on disclosure practices and reporting standards. The ACS that was formed on October...
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