Taiwan records corporate governance progress

Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission has published the Securities and Futures Institute’s second evaluation of Taiwan’s  5-year Corporate Governance Roadmap published in December 2013. This is an assessment of the corporate governance of 1,447 companies in 2015 – made up of  824 TWSE-listed companies and 623 listed on the Taipei Exchange (TPEx). Half of these companies have then been ranked according to the adherence to Taiwan’s corporate governance roadmap. This list included 412 TWSE-listed companies and 312 TPEx-listed companies, which were divided into groups by score – top 5%, top 6% to 20%, top 21% to 35%, and top 36% to 50% accordingly.

The TWSE said that the implementation of corporate governance evaluation was considered one of the major projects with the goal to assist investors and companies in better understanding the performance of corporate governance by comparing the evaluation result among companies. There has been improvement in various aspects of corporate governance since the first assessment covering 2014, according to the TWSE. For example, in 2015 the number of companies that adopted voting by poll or electronic voting increased by 64% and 38%, respectively; the number of companies that mandated a director or supervisor candidate nomination system in their articles of incorporation increased by 62%.  Regarding board composition, the number of companies that have independent directors has increased by 24% and those having audit committees have increased 45%. Meanwhile the number of companies that filed their financial statements by the end of February this year grew to 97 in 2016, compared to 72 in 2015 and 32 in 2014. In addition, the number of companies that prepare corporate social responsibility reports is growing at a rate of over 50% every year, the TWSE said.

To encourage the top performing companies, an award ceremony is scheduled to take place in June to honour companies in the top 5%  of the ranking – there are 41 from the TWSE and 31 from  the TPEx.

Meanwhile, the TWSE also held a seminar recently focusing on the implementation of its stewardship principles for instititutional investors.  The seminar was co-chaired by the chairman of TCGA, Lu Daung-Yen, and the president of TWSE, Michael Lin. Among the speakers were the founding Secretary General of the Asian Corporate Governance Association, Jamie Allen and Hans Christoph Hirt, chief executive of Hermes EOS, , who looked at the trends of stewardship internationally and the best practice approaches taken by institutional investors when engaging with companies.

A consultation was held until 5th February on Taiwan’s stewardship principles and the finalised text will be published later this year.

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