Monday, 27 May 2013

"Handshakes" system joins the dots in the capital market

".... the executive chairman and CEO of [Singapore listed] Ocean Sky Edward Ang Boon Cheow and independent director Albert Ng Ya Ken, who sits on the audit and remuneration committees, are brothers-in-law"

One of the amazing findings of "Handshakes" (giving a new meaning to the word "independent"), a system developed by two ex-Singapore Exchange regulators that promises to bring a whole new level of transparency to the capital market in Singapore. The website can be found here, it's credo:

"From forgotten IPO prospectuses to daily announcements, Handshakes draws relationship maps that connect People, Listed Companies and Major Financial Transactions, all in one browser window."

Another example of a finding:

"Type in China Sky and Fiberchem, and one is able to find out that besides sharing the same principal banker, Quanzhou City Commercial Bank, they also shared the same audit partner from Deloitte & Touche, and that a Chinese entity - Deluxe Dragon International - which used to own Fibrechem pre-IPO and was its top 20 shareholder, ended up as a subsidiary of China Sky in 2008."

Mr Neo and Mr Poon (right) see Handshakes driving the Singapore capital market into a more advanced state than the rest of the world.

The above information comes from a frontpage article in the The Business Times (Singapore), which continues:

"Handshakes" has electronically uploaded information disclosed in some 16,000 documents going as far back to 1997. It is able to show all the past and current associations any entity or person has with others.

The idea came about while both were toiling at their jobs in SGX, trying to enforce compliance by listed companies with the listing rules. For example, they had to ensure the suitability of directors and ascertain that placements and purchases of assets to and from related parties were disclosed.

The company now has 10 people in Singapore and another 10 people in a neighbouring country [I hope Malaysia] doing the data entry. Some 700 new documents are added every day, said Mr. Neo. It adopts a maker-checker system to ensure data accuracy.

The service costs money, a simple report S$ 500 while a more extensive search may cost S$ 1,000 to S$ 2,000. Understandable, the website is run by a for-profit company. David Webb delivers a similar service free of charge, as a way to give back to society.

Hopefully regulators, researchers and journalists (both in Singapore and Malaysia) will be subscribers to this service, and many nuggets of information will be found and revealed to the public.


  1. Just wondering if stakeholders, including bankers, investors and etc are willing to pay for this kind of service.

  2. Regulators etc, I hope so. The big players (fund managers who manage hundreds of millions and above), I think they are willing to do so. But smaller players, private investors etc, not sure, it sounds quite pricey. Corporate professionals who have to do due diligence etc, if the deal is large enough, they probably have to use the service also.