Principle 1: Board of Directors’ Conduct of Affairs
Responsibility for corporate governance and oversight of the business and internal affairs of GIL rests with the Board. The Board has adopted formal charters of directors’ functions and pursuant to the Management Agreement has appointed the Manager to manage GIL’s day-to-day business and internal affairs. The Board meets at least four times per year, or more frequently if required. GIL’s Bye-laws also provide for directors to participate in Board meetings by means of teleconference and videoconference.
Board and Board Committees
In discharging its oversight functions, the Board delegates the authority to make certain decisions to three Board Committees without abdicating its responsibilities. Each Board Committee makes decisions on matters within its terms of reference and reports back to the Board. The terms of reference and the structure of each Board Committee are reviewed on a regular basis and any changes to the terms of reference will require the Board’s approval.
Induction, Orientation and Training
In line with best practices in corporate governance and the Singapore Code, new directors will receive a letter of appointment, which provides details on the key terms of their appointment, duties and obligations as set out in the Board Charter, Audit and Risk Management Committee Charter, Nomination and Governance Committee Charter and Remuneration Charter. For example, as part of the induction process, in-coming directors will be briefed on their duties in relation to conflicts of interests and disclosure of interests. For FY2017, no new directors were appointed.
Directors receive updates on relevant regulatory changes from authorities including the SGX-ST, MAS, ACRA and Bermuda Monetary Authority on a quarterly basis. The external auditor presents the relevant changes to the financial reporting standards to the Board, where applicable.
During the annual strategic review, the Manager updates the Board on the market environment and outlook for the year ahead. A broad overview of risk vs reward environment of the year ahead including the appropriate asset allocation was discussed and decisions were made based on our risk tolerance.
Dedicated training sessions (approximately 12 hours) were conducted for Directors in FY2017 internally
as well as by external advisors covering the following:
- Compliance and financial reporting under the International Financial Reporting Standards
- Corporate Governance Update
- Asset allocation
- Review of risk management, internal controls and corporate governance
- Review of Sustainability Report
- Industry-related matters, including the Asia economic outlook and current world view of different asset classes
Directors also attended external seminars and talks individually in FY2017 to update and enhance their skills and knowledge.
Principle 2: Composition and Guidance of the Board of Directors
The Nomination and Governance Committee (NGC) oversees the size and composition of the Board and its committees and advises the Board on good governance standards and appropriate corporate governance policies. The NGC ensures that the Board has a strong and independent element to exercise objective judgment on corporate affairs independently, in particular, from the Manager and its 5% shareholders1. The NGC has applied a stricter 5% shareholder test as compared to the Singapore Code’s 10% shareholder test for director independence.
The Board has re-examined its size and considered that the appropriate size for the Board to facilitate effective decision making is five. The NGC conducts evaluations to maintain an appropriate balance of expertise and skills sets amongst the Board and the Board Committees and is satisfied that they currently provide the core competencies such as legal, accounting or finance, investment, risk management, business or management, strategy planning and customer-based experience or knowledge.
The Board has five directors, three of whom (the majority) are independent directors. The NGC annually reviews the independent status of directors in accordance with the definitions and guidelines set out in the Singapore Code to ensure no individual will dominate the decision making of the Board.
The non-executive directors are encouraged to meet regularly without the presence of the Manager, to review the Manager’s and GIL’s performance.
Appointment of Lead Independent Director
Under Guideline 3.3 of the Singapore Code, companies are required to appoint an independent nonexecutive director to be the lead independent director (the Lead Independent Director) in the following circumstances:
- Where the chairman and the CEO is the same person
- Where the chairman and the CEO are immediate family members
- Where the chairman is part of the management team or
- Where the chairman is not an independent director
GIL’s Chairman, Mr Boon Swan Foo is considered non-independent because he holds 13.31% of the shares in GIL as at 9 March 2018. Mr Boon Swan Foo is also the ultimate beneficial owner and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SICIM, the Manager of GIL.
In light of that, a Lead Independent Director has been appointed to assist the Chairman and the Board to assure effective corporate governance in managing the affairs of the Board and GIL.
Mr Adrian Chan Pengee who is also the chairman of the NGC, was appointed as the Lead Independent Director of GIL on 25 February 2016.
The Lead Independent Director performs the following responsibilities and duties:
- Assisting the Chairman and the Board to assure effective corporate governance in managing the affairs of the Board and GIL
- Leading and conducting periodic meetings of the independent directors without the presence of the other directors and providing feedback to the Chairman after such meetings
- Coordinating activities of the non-executive directors in circumstances where it would be inappropriate for the Chairman to serve in such capacity
- Acting as the contact point for shareholders where they have concerns and for which contact through the Chairman or the manager of GIL or the staff or officers of the manager have failed to resolve, or is inappropriate
Principle 3: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
GIL has a non-executive, non-independent Chairman of the Board. Mr Boon Swan Foo is considered non-independent because he holds 13.31% of the shares in GIL as at 9 March 2018. Furthermore, Mr Boon Swan Foo is also the ultimate beneficial owner and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SICIM, the Manager of GIL.
However, three out of the five directors on the Board are independent. There are no immediate family member relationships among the Board members, and specifically between the Chairman and Manager Nominated Director. The Chairman and Manager Nominated Director would abstain from voting in respect of any transaction where the Manager is a party. In addition, there are no special or additional voting powers conveyed to the Chairman of the Board. The role of the Chairman is to, among others; promote high standards of corporate governance and to lead the Board to ensure its effectiveness on all aspects of its role.
There is no Chief Executive Officer given that GIL has appointed the Manager. The Chairman is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Manager.
Principle 4: Board Membership
The NGC’s responsibilities include overseeing a continual renewal and membership assessment process of the Board for good corporate governance purposes. The key terms of reference of the NGC are:
- to review and advise the Board on the composition of the Board and its committees;
- to review the performance of the Board, the Chairman, the Deputy Chairman (if any) and other directors of the Board;
- to review training and professional development programs for the Board;
- to ensure that proper succession plans are in place for consideration by the Board;
- to advise the Board on appropriate governance standards and appropriate corporate governance policies for GIL; and
- to critically review GIL’s performance against its corporate governance policies on an annual basis or as otherwise deemed appropriate.
For FY2017, the NGC conducted a self-review against the responsibilities set out in the Nomination and Governance Committee Charter and concluded that the NGC had been adequately fulfilling its duties.
The NGC comprises three Directors, of which two are independent Directors. The Chairman of the Committee is Mr Adrian Chan Pengee who is an independent Director. The other committee members are Mr Boon Swan Foo and Mr Ronald Seah Lim Siang.
The NGC coordinates the assessment of the performance of the Board as a whole, the Board Committees, the Chairman of the Board, and the Board’s individual directors and determines annually if a director should be considered independent. The independence of any director who has served on the Board beyond nine years from the date of his first appointment will be rigorously reviewed. The NGC shall provide its views to the Board when the NGC considers that a director:
- can still be deemed as independent despite the existence of relationships and circumstances enumerated in guidelines 2.3 and 2.4 of the Singapore Code; or
- is not independent even in the absence of relationships and circumstances enumerated in guidelines 2.3 and 2.4 of the Singapore Code.
Process for Selection, Appointment and Re-Election of Directors
The NGC reviews and recommends the size and composition of the Board and, with the assistance of the Manager, identifies and recommends to the Board the relevant directors who are due for retirement, election or re-election at each Annual General Meeting (“AGM”), and for any appointment that is expected or has arisen between AGMs.
Under the Company’s Bye-laws, the directors (other than a Manager Nominated Director) to retire by rotation in each subsequent AGM shall be those who have been longest in office since their last re-election or appointment, and a retiring director (other than a Manager Nominated Director) is eligible for re-election. The Manager Nominated Director will remain in office for a fixed term of three years after appointment, and their term of office is renewable for a further term of three years at the option of the Board. Subject to the provisions of the Bye-laws, GIL ensures that each director (excluding the Manager Nominated Director) submits themselves for re-election at least once every three years.
During the process for the selection, appointment and re-appointment of directors, the NGC reviews the range of expertise, skills, attributes, composition and the need for progressive renewal of the Board as well as each director’s competencies, commitment, contribution and performance. The NGC specifically looks out for directors who possess the core competencies such as legal, accounting and finance, investment, risk management, business of management, strategy planning and customer-based experience or knowledge. When the need for a new director arises (excluding the Manager Nominated Director), the NGC carries out the following process: it identifies GIL’s needs conducts an external search and then prepares a shortlist of candidates with the appropriate profile for nomination or re-nomination. Where necessary, the Committee may seek advice from external consultants. In
FY2017, no new directors were appointed. The Manager has its own succession planning for its senior management and its performance in managing GIL is reviewed annually by the Board.
Directors with multiple board appointments are exposed to a wider organisational practice and diverse operating environments and will be able to enhance the Board’s performance by contributing knowledge and information acquired from different corporations or industries. Directors with multiple directorships must also ensure that sufficient time and attention is given to the affairs of each company which they are appointed as a director. The NGC reviews the performance and commitment of directors holding multiple appointments by taking into consideration the director’s number of listed company board representations and other principal commitments. While the Board acknowledges that the effectiveness of each director is best addressed by a qualitative assessment of the directors’ contributions, the Board has determined the maximum number of listed company board representations to which any director may hold concurrently to be six2. Given the full attendance of all directors at Board and Board committee meetings during FY2017, the NGC is satisfied that all directors have devoted sufficient time and attention to the affairs of GIL and have adequately carried out their duties as a director of GIL for FY2017.
Information on GIL Directors
The key information regarding the directors, such as academic and professional background, shareholdings, chairmanships, directorships and other principal commitments can be found under the “Board of Directors” section and the “Additional SGX-ST Listing Manual Disclosures” section in the Annual Report.
Principle 5: Board Performance
The Board has implemented a process through which the NGC coordinates a formal assessment of the effectiveness and performance of individual directors, including the Chairman of the Board, the Board and the Board committees on an annual basis. The individual directors’, the Board’s and the Board committees’ performance are evaluated by each individual director through an assessment survey (questionnaire) covering performance criteria and competencies agreed by the NGC.
Board and Board Committee Performance Evaluation
Each Board member is invited to complete a Board and Board Committee Performance Questionnaire and to submit it directly to the NGC for evaluation. The questionnaire assesses in particular how effective the Board and the Board Committees have been in caring out their specific roles and functions (e.g. for the NGC, whether it effectively determines the independence of independent directors) as well as areas such as the Board’s size and composition, corporate integrity, strategic review, the appropriateness of knowledge and skills sets within the Board and Board committees to maximise performance, the working relationship between the Board and its Committees as well as the working relationship between the Board members.
Individual Director and Chairman Evaluation
Each director is invited to complete an Individual Director Questionnaire to appraise the performance and contribution of each individual director, including the Chairman of the Board. The questionnaire allows each director to assess his fellow directors in the areas of their respective performance, contribution, knowledge on key drivers, risks and opportunities and special expertise beneficial to the Board and to also give suggestions on what the respective directors should improve on or do differently. The Chairman is also assessed via such questionnaire and specific questions that are only applicable to the Chairman are included in the questionnaire (e.g. whether the Chairman ensures that adequate time is available for discussion of all agenda items, in particular strategic issues).
Compilation of Questionnaires and Evaluation of Performance
The completed questionnaires are submitted to the Manager for compilation. The names of directors are omitted from the summary report to encourage more open and frank discussion. Upon completion of the abovementioned process by the Manager, the NGC will assess the results of the questionnaire and report on key findings and recommendations to the Board. The NGC will supplement the evaluation of the Board Committees’ performance with self-reviews conducted by each of the Board Committees against the responsibilities set out in their respective charters, and report any key findings and recommendations to the Board. For individual director evaluations, the NGC will identify areas for improvement and suggest them to the Board and the directors for consideration. The open discussion between the NGC and the Board members will allow each individual director to discharge his duties more effectively.
For FY2017, the Board, taking into consideration the key findings of the NGC, is satisfied that the Board and its committees, the Chairman and each individual director have adequately fulfilled their responsibilities. No external facilitator has been engaged for the Board and Board committee evaluation.
Principle 6: Access to Information
The Manager provides Board members with complete, adequate and timely information in advance of Board meetings and on an on-going basis, so as to enable the Board to make informed decisions to discharge their duties and responsibilities. For example, the Board has access to monthly management accounts and is provided with such explanation and information as the Board may require from time to time (see Principle 10: Accountability of the Board of Directors and Management below). Directors are also provided with quarterly regulatory updates as well as quarterly updates on global events and risks (see Principle 1: Induction, Orientation and Training above), quarterly results, quarterly risk reports, board papers and related materials one week before the Board and Board committee meetings.
For further enquiries, the directors have independent access to the Manager and Company Secretary at all times. The Company Secretary has defined responsibilities, including advising on good corporate governance practices and compliance with general statutory requirements, as set out in the administration agreement entered into between Horseshoe Fund Services Ltd. and GIL. The appointment and removal of the Company Secretary is a matter for the Board as a whole. In the absence of the Company Secretary, an Assistant Company Secretary attends the board meetings.
Each director is entitled to seek independent professional advice (including, but not limited to, legal, accounting and financial advice) at GIL’s expense on any matter concerned with the proper discharge of his or her responsibilities as a director.
Having considered the adequacy and timeliness of the information made available by the Manager, the directors are satisfied with the access to the information provided by the Manager during FY2017.
- The term “5% Shareholder” shall refer to a person who has an interest or interests in one or more voting shares in the Company and the total votes attached to that share, or those shares, is not less than 5% of the total votes attached to all the voting shares in the Company. “Voting shares” exclude treasury shares.
- This would include analogous positions such as the board of a manager of a listed fund.