SGX RegCo Chief Outlines Work Programme for H1 2021

SGX RegCo chief Boon Gin Tan outlined timelines for enhancements to its enforcement framework, sustainability reporting rules, and retail bonds framework, among other initiatives.

SGX RegCo (Singapore Exchange Regulation) is looking to finalise changes to its enforcement framework by Q1 and consult on proposed changes to its sustainability reporting framework by mid-year.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday (11 January), SGX RegCo chief Boon Gin Tan the end goal is to eventually shape a marketplace where the regulator’s presence is “hardly felt or necessary”.

“This means the market and participants are effectively self-governing. We want new jurisdictions and new products to be introduced on our platform, and to do so, the market community must also be ready to handle the associated risks.”

To enhance the maturity of Singapore’s market, SGX RegCo is focused on raising standards through a community approach.

> Video: SGX RegCo’s Community-based Approach to Market Regulation (27 Feb 2020)

Among its recent initiatives, SGX RegCo has loosened certain “blunt tools” like the minimum trading price and quarterly reporting in favour of more targeted and risk-based policies. It has also collaborated with ABS (The Association of Banks in Singapore) to enhance the listings due diligence guidelines for issue managers and sponsors.

This week, SGX RegCo also announced changes to its Listing Rules to impose new requirements for auditors and property valuers that deal with listed companies. The new rule will take effect from 12 February 2021.

“We also provide specific guidance in the form of regulator’s columns, best practice guides and listing decisions,” Tan said. “Over time, we hope that these will set the standard for new norms in a more mature market.”

In August, SGX RegCo also launched a consultation on enhancements to its enforcement framework. According to Tan, the regulator is finalising the required changes and plans to publish its responses to the consultative feedback within Q1 this year.

SGX RegCo is meanwhile exploring how best to standardise and improve comparability of sustainability reports from listed companies. It is now finalising a survey of institutional investors on their views of companies’ ESG reporting, with a second review of listed companies’ sustainability reports scheduled this current quarter.

“The findings will shape what we need to do to make disclosures more meaningful, useful and impactful especially in relation to climate-related disclosures,” Tan said, adding that SGX RegCo is planning to consult on proposed changes to its sustainability reporting framework by mid-year.

He also pointed to Singapore’s introduction of a new Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act, or IRDA, which is aimed at making company restructuring easier and positioning Singapore as an international restructuring hub.

SGX RegCo is exploring how to amend its Listing Rules to ensure they are supportive of and aligned with the intentions of the IRDA. These proposals are expected by end-June.

The regulator is also considering reviving a 2010 consultation on listings of SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies), given their popularity in other markets. SPACs are typically formed for the sole purpose of fundraising, often with no explicit business operations or acquisition targets declared.

SGX RegCo also plans to consult on proposed changes to its retail bonds framework in the next few months, Tan added.


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