The Role of Shareholders in Engaging with Companies in which they Invest

The Code on Corporate Governance focuses on providing principles and guidelines to listed companies and their Boards to spur them towards a high standard of corporate governance. To ensure that these standards are achieved and sustained in practice, active and constructive shareholder relations is crucial. Bearing in mind the diversity of shareholders in a listed company and their differing investment objectives, this statement sets out certain broad views on the role of shareholders.

The objective of creating sustainable and financially sound enterprises that offer long-term value to shareholders is best served through a constructive relationship between shareholders and the Boards of companies.

Shareholder inputs on governance matters are useful to strengthen the overall environment for good governance policies and practices, and convey shareholders' expectations to the Board. By constructively engaging with the Board, shareholders can help to set the tone and expectation for governance of the company.

A shareholder's vote at general meetings is a direct way of expressing views and expectations to the Board. Hence, shareholders should exercise their right to attend general meetings and vote responsibly. Where relevant, shareholders should communicate to the Board their reasons for disagreeing with any proposal tabled at a general meeting.

Where appropriate, specific shareholder groups and their associations are encouraged to consider adopting international best practices. Initiatives by relevant industry associations or organisations to develop guidelines on their roles as shareholders of listed companies will be welcomed.

For the avoidance of doubt, this statement does not form part of the Code of Corporate Governance. It is aimed at enhancing the quality of engagement between shareholders and companies, so as to help drive higher standards of corporate governance and improve long-term returns to shareholders.