SGX-listed companies and trusts see record score in 2023 corporate governance study


    The Edge, 2 August 2023


    Singapore-listed companies are seeing new records in governance and transparency according to the 2023 Singapore Governance and Transparency Index (SGTI). The study, which launched in 2017, is jointly conducted every year by CPA Australia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School’s Centre for Governance and Sustainability and the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID).

    The scores this year have improved significantly in both the general and the REIT and Business Trusts categories. The general category saw an improvement of 4.2 points y-o-y to 74.8 points in 2023, making this the largest quantum increase since 2020. At the same time, the REITs and Business Trusts category marked a 4.0-point y-o-y growth to 89.3 points.

    Within the general category, Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel) reclaimed the top position that had held from 2015 to 2019 while DBS Group Holdings and SATS came in tied for second place. United Overseas Bank (UOB) remained in fourth place while City Developments (CDL) and Singapore Exchange (SGX) were in joint fifth. These companies scored well in the general category’s five pillars which are board responsibility, rights of shareholders, engagement of stakeholders, accountability and audit, as well as disclosure and transparency (also known as BREAD). In 2023, scores across all five pillars showed an overall increase for all the companies assessed.

    Within the REIT and Business Trusts category, CapitaLand Ascott Trust (CLAS) retained the top place while Far East Hospitality Trust (FEHT) and CapitaLand Ascendas Trust (CLAR) ranked second and third respectively. CapitaLand India Trust (CLINT) made the top five rankings for the first time in fourth place, displacing CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust (CICT), which now ranks fifth.

    This year’s index included assessments of 474 companies listed on the SGX in the general category and 43 trusts in the REIT and Business Trust category. These companies and trusts released their annual reports by May 31.

    The record performance in the 2023 SGTI scores is a testament to the unwavering commitment of SGX-listed companies and trusts to greater transparency and accountability. Strong corporate governance is paramount to driving sustainable growth in organisations and protecting the interests of stakeholders,” says Cheung Pui Yuen, Singapore divisional president of CPA Australia.

    "This year’s improvement in the index score is most noteworthy. It reflects the ongoing efforts by companies to promote good corporate governance practices. More importantly, it highlights that the foundation for governance has been built and companies are poised to place their emphasis on sustainability going forward. Indeed, sustainable business practices will be most crucial for long-term value creation and stakeholder trust,” says Professor Lawrence Loh, director of the Centre for Governance and Sustainability at NUS’s Business School.

    “Good governance and transparency are the bedrock of Singapore’s success. They serve as catalysts for fostering investor confidence, attracting capital inflows and enabling sustainable growth. The improved SGTI scores are signs of a more resilient ecosystem as we collectively strive to move the needle to greater accountability and sustainability reporting,” says Wong Su-Yen, chair of SID. Upholding ESG with strong governance: Board leadership and regulation as catalysts