THE BOARD'S CONDUCT OF AFFAIRS
1 The company is headed by an effective Board which is collectively responsible and works with Management for the long-term success of the company.
1.1 Directors are fiduciaries who act objectively in the best interests of the company and hold Management accountable for performance. The Board puts in place a code of conduct and ethics, sets appropriate tone-from-the-top and desired organisational culture, and ensures proper accountability within the company. Directors facing conflicts of interest recuse themselves from discussions and decisions involving the issues of conflict.
1.2 Directors understand the company's business as well as their directorship duties (including their roles as executive, non-executive and independent directors). Directors are provided with opportunities to develop and maintain their skills and knowledge at the company's expense2. The induction, training and development provided to new and existing directors are disclosed in the company's annual report.
1.3 The Board decides on matters that require its approval and clearly communicates this to Management in writing. Matters requiring board approval are disclosed in the company's annual report.
1.4 Board committees, including Executive Committees (if any), are formed with clear written terms of reference setting out their compositions, authorities and duties, including reporting back to the Board. The names of the committee members, the terms of reference, any delegation of the Board's authority to make decisions, and a summary of each committee's activities, are disclosed in the company's annual report.
1.5 Directors attend and actively participate in Board and board committee meetings. The number of such meetings and each individual director's attendances at such meetings are disclosed in the company's annual report. Directors with multiple board representations ensure that sufficient time and attention are given to the affairs of each company.
1.6 Management provides directors with complete, adequate and timely information prior to meetings and on an on-going basis to enable them to make informed decisions and discharge their duties and responsibilities.
1.7 Directors have separate and independent access to Management, the company secretary, and external advisers (where necessary) at the company's expense. The appointment and removal of the company secretary is a decision of the Board as a whole.
BOARD COMPOSITION AND GUIDANCE
2 The Board has an appropriate level of independence and diversity of thought and background in its composition to enable it to make decisions in the best interests of the company.
2.1 An "independent" director3 is one who is independent in conduct, character and judgement, and has no relationship with the company, its related corporations4, its substantial shareholders5 or its officers that could interfere, or be reasonably perceived to interfere, with the exercise of the director's independent business judgement in the best interests of the company6.
2.2 Independent directors make up a majority of the Board7 where the Chairman is not independent8.
2.3 Non-executive directors make up a majority of the Board.
2.4 The Board and board committees are of an appropriate size, and comprise directors who as a group provide the appropriate balance and mix of skills, knowledge, experience, and other aspects of diversity such as gender and age, so as to avoid groupthink and foster constructive debate. The board diversity policy and progress made towards implementing the board diversity policy, including objectives, are disclosed in the company's annual report.
2.5 Non-executive directors and/or independent directors, led by the independent Chairman or other independent director as appropriate, meet regularly without the presence of Management. The chairman of such meetings provides feedback to the Board and/or Chairman as appropriate.
CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
3 There is a clear division of responsibilities between the leadership of the Board and Management, and no one individual has unfettered powers of decision-making.
3.1 The Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") are separate persons to ensure an appropriate balance of power, increased accountability, and greater capacity of the Board for independent decision making9.
3.2 The Board establishes and sets out in writing the division of responsibilities between the Chairman and the CEO.
3.3 The Board has a lead independent director to provide leadership in situations where the Chairman is conflicted, and especially when the Chairman is not independent. The lead independent director is available to shareholders where they have concerns and for which contact through the normal channels of communication with the Chairman or Management are inappropriate or inadequate.
4 The Board has a formal and transparent process for the appointment and re-appointment of directors, taking into account the need for progressive renewal of the Board.
4.1 The Board establishes a Nominating Committee ("NC")10 to make recommendations to the Board on relevant matters relating to:
(a) the review of succession plans for directors, in particular the appointment and/or replacement of the Chairman, the CEO and key management personnel11;
(b) the process and criteria for evaluation of the performance of the Board, its board committees and directors;
(c) the review of training and professional development programmes for the Board and its directors; and
(d) the appointment and re-appointment12 of directors (including alternate directors, if any)13.
4.2 The NC comprises at least three directors, the majority of whom, including the NC Chairman, are independent. The lead independent director, if any, is a member of the NC.
4.3 The company discloses the process for the selection, appointment and re-appointment of directors to the Board, including the criteria used to identify and evaluate potential new directors and channels used in searching for appropriate candidates in the company's annual report.
4.4 The NC determines annually, and as and when circumstances require, if a director is independent, having regard to the circumstances set forth in Provision 2.1. Directors disclose their relationships with the company, its related corporations, its substantial shareholders or its officers, if any, which may affect their independence14, to the Board. If the Board, having taken into account the views of the NC, determines that such directors are independent notwithstanding the existence of such relationships, the company discloses the relationships and its reasons in its annual report.
4.5 The NC ensures that new directors are aware of their duties and obligations. The NC also decides if a director is able to and has been adequately carrying out his or her duties as a director of the company. The company discloses in its annual report the listed company directorships and principal commitments15 of each director, and where a director holds a significant number of such directorships and commitments, it provides the NC's and Board's reasoned assessment of the ability of the director to diligently discharge his or her duties.
5 The Board undertakes a formal annual assessment of its effectiveness as a whole, and that of each of its board committees and individual directors.
5.1 The NC recommends for the Board's approval the objective performance criteria and process for the evaluation of the effectiveness of the Board as a whole, and of each board committee separately, as well as the contribution by the Chairman and each individual director to the Board.
5.2 The company discloses in its annual report how the assessments of the Board, its board committees and each director have been conducted, including the identity of any external facilitator and its connection, if any, with the company or any of its directors.
2Rule 210(5)(a) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 406(3)(a) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires any director who has had no prior experience as a director of a listed company to undergo training in the roles and responsibilities of a listed company director.
3Rule 1207(10B) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 1204(10B) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires the Board to identify in the company's annual report each director it considers to be independent.
4 The term "related corporation", in relation to the company, has the same meaning as currently defined in the Companies Act (Chapter 50) of Singapore, i.e. a corporation that is the company's holding company, subsidiary or fellow subsidiary.
5 A "substantial shareholder" is a shareholder who has an interest or interests in one or more voting shares (excluding treasury shares) in the company and the total votes attached to that share, or those shares, is not less than 5% of the total votes attached to all voting shares (excluding treasury shares) in the company, in line with the definition set out in section 2 of the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289) of Singapore.
6 A director who falls under the circumstances described in Rule 210(5)(d) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 406(3)(d) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) is not independent. These circumstances apply to the following: (i) a director being employed by the company or any of its related corporations for the current or any of the past three financial years; (ii) a director who has an immediate family member who is, or has been in any of the past three financial years, employed by the company or any of its related corporations and whose remuneration is determined by the Remuneration Committee; (iii) a director who has been a director for an aggregate period of more than 9 years (whether before or after listing) and whose continued appointment as an independent director has not been sought and approved in separate resolutions by (A) all shareholders; and (B) all shareholders, excluding shareholders who also serve as the directors or the chief executive officer of the company, and associates of such directors and chief executive officers. Rule 210(5)(d)(i) and (ii) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 406(3)(d)(i) and (ii) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) come into effect from 1 January 2019. Rule 210(5)(d)(iii) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) and Rule 410(3)(d)(iii) will come into effect on 1 January 2022. Prior to 1 January 2022, the corresponding Guideline 2.4 in the 2012 Code of Corporate Governance will continue to apply.
7Rule 210(5)(c) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 406(3)(c) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires independent directors to make up at least one-third of the Board. This rule will be come into effect on 1 January 2022. Prior to 1 January 2022, the corresponding Guideline 2.1 in the 2012 Code of Corporate Governance will continue to apply.
8 The Chairman is not independent when (i) he or she is not an independent director, (ii) he or she is also the CEO, (iii) he or she and the CEO are immediate family members as defined in the Listing Manual of the Singapore Exchange (i.e. the person's spouse, child, adopted child, step-child, brother, sister and parent), (iv) he or she and the CEO have close family ties with each other (i.e. a familial relationship between two parties which extends beyond immediate family members and could influence the impartiality of the Chairman) as determined by the Nominating Committee, or (v) he or she is part of the Management team.
9Rule 1207(10A) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 1204(10A) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires the Board to disclose the relationship between the Chairman and the CEO if they are immediate family members.
10Rule 210(5)(e) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 406(3)(e) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires companies to establish one or more committees as may be necessary to perform the functions of an Audit Committee, a Nominating Committee and a Remuneration Committee. Each committee formed has written terms of reference which clearly set out the authority and duties of the committee.
11 The term "key management personnel" shall mean the CEO and other persons having authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the company.
12Rule 720(5) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) /
[Rule 720](4) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires all directors to submit themselves for re-nomination and re-election at least once every three years.
13Rule 720(6) of the SGX Listing Rules (Mainboard) / Rule 720(5) of the SGX Listing Rules (Catalist) requires key information on directors to be provided together with each resolution on the proposed appointment or re-appointment of directors.
14 Such relationships include business relationships which the director, his or her immediate family member, or an organisation which the director, or his or her immediate family member is a substantial shareholder, partner (with 5% or more stake), executive officer or director in has with the company or any of its related corporations, and the director's direct association with a substantial shareholder of the company, in the current and immediate past financial year. Where the director or his or her immediate family member, or a company that he, she or they are a substantial shareholder in, provides to or receives from the company or its subsidiaries any significant payments or material services, the amount and nature of the service is disclosed.
15 The term "principal commitments" includes all commitments which involve significant time commitment such as full-time occupation, consultancy work, committee work, non-listed company board representations and directorships and involvement in non-profit organisations. Where a director sits on the boards of non-active related corporations, those appointments should not normally be considered principal commitments.