SINGAPORE: The Singapore Exchange's regulatory arm has proposed that all listed companies appoint only auditors that are registered locally, the exchange said in a news release on Thursday (Jan 16).
Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) is consulting the market on proposals to strengthen the oversight of audits, by requiring all listed companies to appoint an auditor registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
Foreign issuers that wish to appoint foreign auditors must also appoint an auditor registered with ACRA to act as a joint auditor.
The exchange is also proposing that its regulatory arm be given the authority to direct the appointment of an additional auditor in "exceptional circumstances", according to the news release.
"Reliable and informative financial statements are the bedrock of our financial markets," said SGX RegCo CEO Tan Boon Gin.
"Requiring all listed companies to appoint a Singapore-registered auditor, and giving SGX RegCo the power to appoint an additional auditor, will also increase the accountability of auditors and improve investor confidence in audits."
If this proposal is implemented, audits performed for all Singapore listed companies will effectively be subject to ACRA’s regulatory oversight.
Among other changes, SGX RegCo also wants to raise reporting standards of property valuation by listed companies, and has proposed new rules on property valuers and valuations.
It is proposing that valuers have at least five years' relevant experience and be a member of the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) or a similar professional body in the home jurisdiction.
The valuer should be independent of the issuer, and cannot be a sole practitioner or have an adverse compliance track record.
SGX RegCo also proposed that issuers and listing applicants should be required to comply with SISV standards for the valuation of properties in Singapore, or with International Valuation Standards for overseas properties.
These enhancements are aimed at "raising standards and ensuring quality disclosures on valuations of real estate", said Mr Tan, adding they were the result of collaboration with the industry.
A consultation paper setting out the proposals can be found on SGX's website, and is open for feedback until Feb 14.