Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Israeli corp governance standards are much higher than those in Singapore

I wrote before that Singapore has clearly better CG than Malaysia. In my opinion, for a good part because of much better enforcement.

But according to Mak Yuen Teen, in a letter written to the Business Times, Israel has much better standards than Singapore.

An excerpt (emphasis mine) including a few interesting issues and the way they are handled in Israel:

"Israeli Company Law imposes higher standards of corporate governance in a number of key areas compared to what currently exists in our (note: Singaporean) regime. For example, an "external director" who is independent and possesses special qualifications (such as accounting or finance expertise) must be elected by a majority of shareholders who are not controlling or interested shareholders, or not objected to by more than 2 per cent of non-interested shareholders ("special majority").

Another important requirement is for a comprehensive remuneration policy for officers to be approved by a similar special majority, although the board can still adopt the remuneration policy if it is rejected by shareholders. In general, the remuneration packages of the CEO, controlling shareholders and their relatives also require the approval of the special majority.

Rules on disclosure and approval of related-party transactions have also been enhanced to improve minority shareholder protection. What this means is that minority shareholders in Sarin (note: a company based in Israel, listed in Singapore), including Singapore shareholders, will have more say over the appointment of the "external director" and approval of a transparent remuneration policy and remuneration packages of key officers, and greater protection in general, compared to minority shareholders in even Singapore-incorporated companies.

It is ironic that an emerging market like Israel (albeit classified as "developed" by MSCI) has now run ahead of us in key corporate governance requirements because it recognises the importance of protecting minority shareholders. It should certainly make us humble when we make claims about our own "world-class" standards of corporate governance."

As noted, "us" and "our" in the above text refers to Singapore. Since Singapore has higher standards than Malaysia, their authorities also might want to pay attention. It is really about getting a more even playing field for the minority shareholders versus the majority shareholders. And Malaysia still has a long way to go on that area.


  1. No wonder Mr Warren Buffet are willing to invest in Israeli company! Boleh Land sucks yet they are still labeling as a hero in the world and cry for foul if someone criticize them!

  2. Corporate governance is as dynamic as it is evolving. Consequently, countries must, as a matter of course, keep their corporate governance codes constantly reviewed to keep abreast of contemporary developments in corportae governance. This is a common challenge!