HKICPA's Best Corporate Governance Awards celebrating their 20th year - now open for entries

HONG KONG, July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The Best Corporate Governance Awards, a prestigious benchmark of corporate governance excellence organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), are proudly celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. The Awards are now open for entry until 12 August.

"Over the past 20 years, the Awards have become a recognized and respected yardstick of Hong Kong's current corporate governance standards and, more recently also, of sustainability and social responsibility reporting standards, in both the private and public sectors. The Awards judging criteria look beyond the minimum legal and regulatory requirements to identify voluntary disclosures and practices that set a high bar. They acknowledge best practices in Hong Kong based on information disclosure in annual reports and standalone sustainability reports, as well as related information on websites. The Awards promote a culture of good corporate governance and sustainable business practices, helping to enhance investor and public confidence in the Hong Kong capital market," said Mr Patrick Law, President of HKICPA.

"Ensuring a strong and deep-rooted corporate governance culture is a key factor in distinguishing Hong Kong's market in the highly competitive regional and global environment."

Amendments to the Corporate Governance Code and related Listing Rules took effect on 1 January 2019, aimed at strengthening the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of listed company boards and nomination committees, especially in relation to the nomination of directors, including independent non-executive directors (INEDs). The amendments also enhance the criteria for assessing the independence of potential INED candidates, and aim to promote board diversity. These regulatory changes will be reflected in some of the annual reports which will be reviewed for the Awards and they align with one of the main focus areas of the Awards, which covers the quality of board operation and functioning, including having a diversity of backgrounds among board members, and having INEDs who are capable of challenging the executives and senior management where appropriate. Without a well-functioning board, is it not possible for a company or a public sector organization to integrate good corporate governance within the entity.

"Shareholders always have reason to be concerned if, for example, they cast their votes for a director who subsequently resigns without adequate explanation. We have long advocated the need for more disclosure around the rationale for specific appointments and resignations of directors, and enhancement in the transparency of the process and criteria for the selection and appointment of directors," Mr Law said.

Categories of awards

The 2019 Awards invite entries in the following categories:

(i) Hang Seng Index (HSI)-constituent companies
(ii) Non-HSI-constituent companies - Large market capitalization
(iii) Non-HSI-constituent companies - Medium market capitalization
(iv) Non-HSI-constituent companies - Small market capitalization
(v) H-share companies and other Mainland enterprises
(vi) Public sector/Not-for-profit organizations - Large organizations
(vii) Public sector/Not-for-profit organizations - Small and medium-size organizations
     (Categories (ii) - (v) include main board and GEM companies)

In each category, there are Diamond, Platinum and Gold Awards, as well as Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting Awards. Listed companies and public sector/ not-for-profit organizations that pass an initial screening process undergo two rounds of reviews of their corporate governance quality and the shortlisted entries are also subject to a compliance review. Special mentions may be given to other companies or organizations that demonstrate a sound all-round corporate governance performance, or strengths in important facets of good governance; and Commendations may be awarded for website corporate governance-related information.

Smaller listed companies, with a market capitalization of no more than HK$6 billion as at 30 April 2019, and public sector/ not-for profit organizations, are invited to apply to be considered for the Self-nomination Awards for Good Corporate Governance Practices. "This particular award focuses on sectors where, experience shows, greater effort is still needed to promote effective corporate governance," explains Law.

This year's Awards are supported by media sponsors Hong Kong Economic Times and ET Net. For more details of the 2019 Best Corporate Governance Awards, please visit https://www.hkicpa.org.hk/-/media/Document/APD/BCGA/2019_Entryform.pdf.

About HKICPA

The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) is the statutory body established by the Professional Accountants Ordinance responsible for the professional training, development and regulation of certified public accountants in Hong Kong. The Institute has more than 44,000 members and 17,100 registered students.

Our qualification programme assures the quality of entry into the profession, and we promulgate financial reporting, auditing and ethical standards that safeguard Hong Kong's leadership as an international financial centre.

The CPA designation is a top qualification recognised globally. The Institute is a member of and actively contributes to the work of the Global Accounting Alliance and International Federation of Accountants.

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