3E Accounting Commend The New Listing Rules for Regulatory Bite Proposed by SGX
Singapore, 11 February 2018 – The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) is adopting a more “interventionist” approach in a bid to be tougher on audit committees and external auditors of listed companies.
More listing rules have been proposed to increase meticulousness of year-end audits and special audits which are required for further investigation into potential problems of listed companies. Among the new enforcement rules are that some special auditors will now need to report directly to the SGX.
More Listing Rules for Regulatory Bite Proposed by SGX
SGX is also looking to introduced new listing rules which will provide the bourse operator with the authority needed. Under the new listing rules, SGX can require that a company appoint a second auditor in addition to its current existing auditor. This can be enforced in “exceptional circumstances”.
The new changes were proposed after the operator came under fire by market observers for seemingly not doing enough to protect the individuals who invested in Noble Group. The commodities firm had recently finalised a US$3.5 billion (S$4.7 billion) debt restructuring exercise after its shares plummeted due to an accounting scandal. As a result, the company lost 99% of its market value.
As of last December, SGX has met with both the audit committees and external auditors from 15 listed companies. SGX has highlighted the areas of concern based on SGX RegCo’s review conducted based on the companies. Auditors must now address matters which have been raised by the SGX in its company’s annual report, and change their terms of reference for the special auditor if SGX deems it unsatisfactory. There are special auditors who will now have to report directly to SGX too.
SGX has proposed the enforcement of two new listing rules which will grant them power to require the appointment of a second auditor in special circumstances, and requiring listed companies to appoint an auditor which is based in Singapore. A public consultation will be held regarding the two proposals for more transparency for retail investors. These changes took effect in 2016, and auditors are required to include key points which include what the estimated valuation of investments are, which must be more than just an opinion regarding its pass or fail status.
3E Accounting’s Managing Director Commend The New Listing Rules
3E Accounting’s Managing Director, Mr Lawrence Chai, said that the measures which SGX has taken will help increase the quality of its audits, because without its involvement, it could sometimes be hard to inform clients that further checks may be needed. Clients would be left with a mistaken impression that auditors simply want to collect more fees.
Hopefully, with SGX proactively overseeing these changes, both board members and management of listed companies will be focused on improving their processes and controls and be more cooperative when working with auditors.
About 3E Accounting
3E Accounting is Singapore’s leading service provider for company incorporation, accounting, tax, payroll, immigration and compliance services that assist start-ups and SMEs. Our services help Singapore entrepreneurs get off to the right start with their business. With branches in both Singapore and Malaysia, 3E Accounting’s home-grown global accounting network supports business ventures in more than 55 countries worldwide.