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MAS official encourages improved scrutiny in making investment decisions

Investors can join a financial education programme.

Institutional investors can elevate their investment decisions by evaluating information from issuers and attending government seminars on money investment, an official from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.

“Retail investors should actively consider how well issuers are governed when making investment decisions,” Ho Hern Shin, MAS deputy managing director, told the attendees of the Securities Investors Association Singapore (SIAS) Corporate Governance Conference. 

He said listed issuers on Singapore Exchange are responding to well-researched questions by SIAS, which are then posted on the bourse. 

These responses can be studied to ensure better decisions on investing in a listed firm. 

“We hope that through SIAS’ efforts, retail investors will take a more active interest in their investee companies, pertinent issues surrounding these companies, and ask appropriate questions at annual general meetings,” the MAS official said.

Another way to improve scrutiny in investing is to join the national financial education programme, MoneySense, which helps investors to make sound investment choices.

“We had our first seminar over the weekend, and we were glad to see healthy interest and questions, including on topics like environment, social, and governance (ESG) investing,” said Ho, adding that the programme has a series of seminars offered this month.

Responsible investor stewardship

Institutional investors must also lead in exercising responsible investor stewardship through involvement with investee firms and proxy voting, Ho said.

Ho said they also backed the recent modifications to the Singapore Stewardship Principles (SSP), an initiative by the Stewardship Asia Centre. 

“The principles complement our regulatory frameworks by encouraging investors and intermediaries to pro-actively exercise their rights, constructively engage their investee companies, and responsibly exert market discipline,” said Ho.

He also said that investment stewardship is not just about getting the best returns but also pushing for long-term value creation and sustainable returns.

“This includes factoring in ESG considerations when making investment decisions and when voting on company resolutions. That is one key thrust of the recent SSP revision, and I encourage more market participants to play their part in this collective investment stewardship effort,” he explained.

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