Singapore’s SGX RegCo to Focus on Shaping Culture

Starling Team

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The right goal for a regulator is to shape a marketplace where the regulator’s presence is hardly felt or necessary and — for this — regulators need to raise standards, said Tan Boon Gin, CEO of SGX RegCo during a recent media briefing.

As reporting on ESG has become more than just about pushing out data, calls for standardization and ways to improve comparability have increased. SGX RegCo is currently finalizing a survey of institutional investors on their views of companies’ ESG reporting. They will then complete a second review of listed companies’ sustainability reports.  Findings will shape what needs to be done to make disclosures more meaningful.

SGX RegCo is stepping up its own game. “You can expect us to come up with our responses to the public consultation feedback on the enhancements to our enforcement framework within this quarter,” Tan said, noting that there will be greater scrutiny from investors, and higher expectations, as the market matures.

Misconduct risk will receive particular attention as a key corporate governance concern, Tan said, and the behavior of firms and individuals will be assessed against the spirit, rather than the letter of the rules, as SGX RegCo moves towards a new phase in market oversight with a focus on “shaping culture.” 

Read the full remarks here.

Corporate Governance, Risk Management & RegTech: Trends across Asia

Starling Team

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On January 14th, the Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHK) and US regtech pioneer Starling led an online discussion about persistent challenges in the governance and supervision of conduct risk, how new technologies may help to correct the conditions that led to past failures, and also to boost operational resiliency during these challenging times — and into the future.  Such questions have deeply occupied regulators, exchanges, and firms in the last years, and relevant trends were considered.

To conduct a meaningful discussion, Starling and the Asia Society convened a panel of experts that included:

  • Starling advisor Gary Cohn, who is Vice Chairman of IBM, past Director of the US National Economic Council and former President & COO of Goldman Sachs;
  • Charles Li, Senior Advisor to the Board and recent past-CEO at the Hong Kong Exchange Group; 
  • Motonobu Matsuo, Secretary General of the Japan Securities & Exchange Surveillance Commission; and 
  • Loretta Yuen, Group General Counsel & Executive Vice-President of Singapore’s OCBC Bank

A full replay of the event is available now and can be seen here.

Risk, Governance & Regtech: Join Starling and the Asia Society to Discuss Trends Across Asia

Starling Team

Work from home orders have resulted in operational difficulties at firms worldwide. In the financial sector, this has exacerbated persistent challenges in the governance and supervision of conduct risk, helping to keep corporate governance and risk management reform high on the agenda across Asia. Leaders and regulators are looking to new technologies to boost operational resiliency during these challenging times — and into the future.

To explore these trends, and project what they may imply in the near term future, the Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHK) and US regtech pioneer Starling will lead an online discussion on January 14th (9am Hong Kong local time).  Attendance for the hour-long session via Zoom, YouTube and Facebook is free of charge.  For a small fee, participants may opt to join an additional 30 minutes of Q&A with the panelists.  (Note: this private session is via Zoom only)

Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman of ASHK, will deliver the Opening Remarks and Starling Founder & CEO Stephen Scott will moderate a panel discussion with:

  • Gary Cohn, Vice Chairman of IBM, former Director of the US National Economic Council, and past President/COO at Goldman Sachs
  • Charles Li, past-CEO and Senior Advisor to the Board at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX)
  • Motonobu Matsuo, Secretary General of the Japan Securities & Exchange Surveillance Commission, and 
  • Loretta Yuen, Group General Counsel & Executive Vice-President of OCBC Bank

Get more details about the event here.


Starling Advisor, Gary Cohn, Named Vice-Chairman of IBM

Starling Team
We are delighted to see that IBM has appointed our advisor, Gary D. Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive and chief economic adviser to the President, as Vice-Chairman and a member of its Executive Leadership Team.

Mr. Cohn will work on business development, public advocacy, client services, and client-relationship management.  “I am honored to be joining IBM, one of the world’s most important companies, providing technology that helps organizations be agile and resilient in unpredictable times,” Cohn said. 

“With the company’s long history of innovation and transformation for every technology era, and a focused growth strategy that will capitalize on the enormous opportunity in hybrid cloud and AI, this is an exciting time to begin working alongside Arvind, the IBM team and IBM’s incredible roster of clients,” he added.

“IBM is very fortunate to have Gary as it’s vice chair,” said Starling CEO Stephen Scott.  “If he brings the leadership at IBM the same energy, talent and intellect as we have benefitted by at Starling, then I have no doubt that his appointment will be transformative for IBM.” 

Starling announced the appointment of Cohn to its Risk & Governance Advisory Board last year. You can click here to see the full announcement.

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Psychological Safety, Emotional Intelligence, and Leadership in a Time of Flux

Starling Team

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Uncertainty, coupled with the new remote-work environment in many companies triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, has created an entirely new set of challenges for organizations and their leaders.  In a June 2020 interview, McKinsey spoke with Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School, to discuss these new challenges and how their leaders can respond.

Before COVID, many leaders would wander around the workplace to foment connections among employees and to inculcate a shared vision for their organizations. Today, such physical interaction is not possible.  But a digitally-driven set of conversations, conducted among small groups, can still work to develop the “connective tissue linking actions to a shared vision for the future,” according to Edmondson.

Edmondson, who recently joined Starling as an Academic Advisor, defines psychological safety as “an absence of interpersonal fear” and stated that, when it is present, “people are able to speak up with work-relevant content.” 

In an environment where everyone is concerned about they physical safety (e.g., the threat of Covid-illness), a focus on psychological safety becomes all the more important.  And shared fears, Edmondson explained, might in fact allow people to become more open with colleagues, and to feel freer to share their thoughts and concerns. As such, if harnessed conscientiously, Covid-driven workplace disruptions may actually work to help increase psychological safety.

In recent years, organizations worldwide have recognized the importance of psychological safety to sound company culture. In a digital workplace, where traditional staff monitoring is much more difficult, it is more important than ever that employees share a sense of purpose and are willing to speak up when something is wrong.  To facilitate this, Edmondson emphasized, leaders must avoid projecting overconfidence and, instead, strive to cultivate team dynamics that aim towards problem-solving amidst uncertainty. 

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