2014 - October
Welcome Address by Dr Ernest Kan, Chairman of the ISCA
Steering Committee, for the ISCA Assurance on Roundtable on 10 October 2014 at ISCA House, 60 Cecil Street, Conference Room
10 Oct 2014 Category: Speeches
1. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to welcome all of you to the Integrated Reporting (<IR>) roundtable today. I am particularly excited to welcome our special guest, Mr Michael Nugent, the Technical Director of IIRC, who is visiting Singapore from Australia today. Michael will co-chair this event together with Professor Ho Yew Kee, who is the Head of the Department of Accounting at NUS and the Chair of our <IR> Research and Thought Leadership Work Group.
2. The topic for today’s roundtable is Integrated Reporting and Assurance, and I feel it is very timely for us to learn more about this topic from Michael and Prof Ho and to discuss the different approaches going forward.
3. Singapore, along with other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom, have started the journey towards enhanced corporate reporting, with a strong interest in <IR> that aims to give a fuller picture of a company’s performance beyond its financials. As we move towards <IR> as the future of corporate reporting, the implications for assurance is inevitably one of the topics that people have questions about.
4. Globally, more than 100 businesses and investors from over 25 countries, have participated in the <IR> Pilot Programme and contributed to the development of the International <IR> Framework, which finally launched in December last year.
5. The IIRC has launched the Corporate Reporting Dialogue in July this year, which aims to build international alignment between the efforts of the different international reporting bodies. This indicates a move towards global convergence on corporate reporting.
Singapore Taking the Lead in the Region
6. The developments in Singapore’s corporate reporting mirror the efforts of international reporting bodies, with our accounting bodies and industry leaders working towards adoption of <IR> as the future of corporate reporting.
7. Since 2013, Singapore has been at the forefront of <IR> developments in the region. For example, DBS, headquartered in Singapore, was the first company in the Southeast Asia region to adopt <IR>. We see keen interest by other Singapore corporate leaders and are encouraged as more Singapore companies are joining DBS and adopting <IR>.
8. While we see positive movement towards <IR> starting with our neighbours in Malaysia as well as in India, Singapore is the first country in the region to establish an Integrated Reporting Steering Committee. The <IR> Steering Committee was set up by ISCA and brings together government agencies – including ACRA, SAC and SGX – together with industry leaders, investors and the country’s universities to provide insights, learning, research, and to promote <IR> adoption.
9. ISCA’s <IR> journey started when Paul Druckman, CEO of the IIRC, approached ISCA in early 2013. Since then, we have hosted numerous roundtables and dedicated <IR> forums to bring awareness of <IR> to Singaporean stakeholders, conducted research on challenges and opportunities linked to <IR>, and we are now focusing on practical steps for companies looking to adopt <IR>.
10. On the international front, Singapore is actively engaging stakeholders in the region, and has shared its model of promoting <IR> and its experience of establishing an <IR> Steering Committee at a seminar for the ASEAN Integrated Accounting Profession, hosted by the Indonesian Institute of Accountants and the ASEAN Federation of Accountants conference in June 2014. The recent ISCA <IR> Forum 2014, titled “Telling the Whole Story”, was also well-attended by representatives from other accountancy bodies in the region.
11. Singapore is also represented on the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) through Mrs Chng Sok Hui, CFO of DBS Group, who provides a Singapore voice to the global development of <IR>.
12. We also provide thought leadership through both corporate and academic research on <IR>. Research to date includes an ISCA-NUS study on the state of <IR> in Singapore together with Professor Ho Yew Kee, a study on the connection between <IR> and valuation, and a PwC study on the current reporting trends in Singapore vis-a-vis <IR>. Other publications include the articles “<IR> the Way to Go” and “Should Singaporean companies go for <IR>?” in Business; several articles in the ISCA Journal, with the April 2014 issue dedicated to <IR>; and the article “Integrated Reporting 101” in the SID.
13. Finally, we also appreciate IIRC’s recognition of the efforts of Singapore and its position in the future development of <IR>, through their assignment of Jonathan Labrey, Policy and Strategy Director of IIRC, to Singapore in 2014.
Exciting Developments in the Pipeline
14. Going forward, the Steering Committee and the five Work Groups will continue to build on these achievements. The Members of the Steering Committee and the Chairs of the Work Groups, who are all very senior members of the Singapore business community and handpicked by ISCA, are committed to further raise awareness of <IR> and to conduct further research to provide thought leadership on <IR> for the Asian and global markets.
15. Our various workgroups have been tasked to champion research and thought leadership; promote adoption of <IR>: create a business network to support <IR> adopters; engage stakeholders in Singapore and abroad; and to give due recognition of early adopters of <IR>.
16. One of these workgroups is Asia’s first <IR> Business Network, which has more than 10 of Singapore’s leading companies participating in peer-to-peer-learning and knowledge sharing on how to best approach <IR>. This aims to mirror the success of the IIRC pioneer network and the recently launched International <IR> Business Network, and we believe the Singapore Network is key to supporting our early <IR> adopters.
17. We have several more events, planned with IIRC and other leaders in the <IR> space as we work closely together. Today’s event is an example of the close collaborations with IIRC and we look forward to hear from Michael, who will soon share with us a presentation on <IR> and Assurance.
Future of Assurance on <IR>
18. In August this year, IIRC published two assurance papers which provide an overview of assurance and its relationship to integrated report (<IR>).
19. What priority should be placed on assurance in the context of driving credibility and trust in <IR>? What are the key features of assurance that will best suit the needs of users of integrated reports in years to come?
20. The paper raised challenging questions, with no easy answers. In the same spirit of <IR>, much value is derived from the process. It is recognised that the purpose of the assurance papers’ questions is to raise issues for discussion.
21. I look forward to a fruitful discussion ahead, as we shape and influence the <IR> journey together. With that, I will invite Michael to take over and talk to you about the exciting work that IIRC is doing. Michael, please.