SINGAPORE: Companies listed on Singapore Exchange will no longer be required to file quarterly reports, in line with practices in global markets including Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the European Union, the bourse's regulatory unit said.
"Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) will apply quarterly reporting requirements only for companies associated with higher risks while strengthening continuous disclosure requirements on all listed companies," SGX RegCo said in a statement on Thursday (Jan 9).
Under the new changes that come into effect from Feb 7, SGX RegCo will require companies to report quarterly results if it has regulatory concerns with them or where there are other issues. It will also mandate more disclosures from companies.
SGX, a global listing hub for business trusts and real estate investment trusts, has taken several measures in recent years to shore up market liquidity, improve quality of listings and strengthen its regulatory framework after a penny stocks crash in 2013 battered investor confidence.
It also introduced a dual-class share system with an eye on potential IPOs from Southeast Asian startups with billion-dollar valuations.
"In a rapidly evolving business landscape, it is important for companies to take a long-term perspective on growth, while communicating meaningfully with their stakeholders on how they are navigating through these changes," said SGX RegCo's CEO Tan Boon Gin.
Singapore Exchange began reviewing mandatory quarterly reporting for companies in 2017 and conducted public consultations, citing a need to balance transparency for investors with concerns about rising compliance costs.
"The international trend is moving away from quarterly reporting," Tan said. In December 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission opened a public consultation on ways to ease the reporting burden, including by potentially moving to a semiannual cycle.
The Singapore Business Federation welcomed the move.
"This change away from mandatory quarterly reporting for listed companies is an important signal that business regulations are beginning to allow companies to adopt a longer-term perspective for their plans," CEO Ho Meng Kit said in a statement on Thursday.
"One good outcome is that this would enable companies greater scope to look after their other stakeholders and not just their shareholders.”
Currently, Singapore-listed companies with a market value of more than S$75 million (US$55.5 million) are required to issue quarterly results, which would account for about 70 per cent of the 750-odd companies listed on the exchange.
Companies will now only need to file semi-annual reports.
SGX RegCo said it is also strengthening continuous disclosures requirements in areas of high investor interest such as interested person transactions, significant financial assistance, significant transactions and secondary fund-raising.
Tan said SGX RegCo will soon seek a public consultation on its proposals for companies required to have a second auditor in certain cases and a Singapore-based auditor for all listed companies.