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SIAS Recognises Internal Audit Excellence for First Time at Awards Presentation

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by Jared Heng

The SIAS (Securities Investors Association Singapore) 12th Investors’ Choice Awards 2011 presentation on Thursday evening recognised for the first time winners of the newly established Internal Audit Excellence Award.

Singapore Telecommunications was the winner of this year’s Internal Audit Excellence Award category, followed by runner-ups Singapore Airlines and DBS Group Holdings.

Wilmar International and ARA Asset Management each won merit awards under this category, while a ‘special recognition’ award went to Chor Khee Yang of Singapore Telecommunications.

Under the Singapore Corporate Governance Award category, Fraser and Neave was the winner, followed by runner-ups DBS Group Holdings and WBL Corporation.

UOL Group won the ‘most improved award’ under this category.

Under the Most Transparent Company Award category, Singapore Airlines won the Golden Circle Award. Sembcorp Industries won the ‘multi-industry’ sub-category award, while Sembcorp Marine won the ‘non-electronics’ sub-category award. The ‘technology and electronics’ sub-category award winner was Venture Corporation, and Olam International clinched the top spot for ‘commerce’.

Singapore Airlines and Singapore Exchange won the sub-category awards for ‘transport/storage/communications’ and ‘finance’ respectively.

The winners for ‘construction’ and ‘properties’ were Rotary Engineering and CapitaLand respectively.

For ‘REITS’, Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust was the winner, while CDL Hospitality Trust took the lead for ‘hotels and restaurants’.

Wilmar International won the ‘services/utilities/agriculture’ sub-category, while Asiatravel.Com Holdings took the top position for ‘Catalists’.

Qian Hu Corporation clinched the winning spot for ‘Mainboard small caps’, and for ‘new issues’, Hutchison Port Holdings Trust and Sheng Siong Group were the joint winners.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) took the No. 1 spot for ‘foreign listings’.

For the Best Retail Broker Award category, Phillip Securities emerged as the winner, followed by runner-up OCBC Securities.

Kim Eng Securities and UOB Kay Hian each won merit awards under this category.

Speaking at the awards presentation, Mr David Gerald, President and CEO of SIAS, re-iterated the association’s call for all listed companies to have an internal auditor to ensure better corporate governance and risk management.

He also stressed that SIAS, together with the Institute of Internal Auditors Singapore, would call on the authorities to have the internal audit function mandatory under the SGX’s listing rules.

In addition, Mr Gerald called for Singapore’s laws to allow class action suits by retail investors against directors and managers guilty of neglecting their fiduciary duty or who commit criminal acts that cause losses to investors.

“That would be cost effective and may be affordable to them (affected investors) to seek recourse. Currently, retail investors find legal action very costly,” he said.

However, Mr Gerald also said that where investments were not interfered with by misconduct, the preferred way to resolve issues would be “in the boardroom and not in the courtroom.”