Thai firms lauded for governance efforts

Thai firms lauded for governance efforts

Thai listed companies are making great strides in corporate governance amid the rising trend of sustainable business, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC said Thai corporations were successful in securing the "Asean CG Scorecard" sustainability award, which is granted to listed companies across Southeast Asia.

Thailand had the highest number of firms in the Asean Asset Class PLCs category last year, with 76 companies out of 234 recipients earning at least 75% of the 130 total score, which is 97.5 or above. The number of Thai recipients was nearly double the level in 2019, when 42 Thai firms were granted the award.

Organised by the Asean Capital Markets Forum, the award has three categories and recognises listed companies in the region with business practices that comply with its corporate governance standards.

The awards were handed out at a virtual ceremony last week.

In 2021, Thai public companies had an average score of 102, rising from 96.6 in the previous year's assessment.

A total of seven listed Thai companies were awarded in the second category, which recognises the top 20 listed firms in Southeast Asia. Five firms in the Philippines were awarded, four from Singapore, three from Malaysia, and one from Indonesia.

SEC secretary-general Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol said Thailand's regulations enhanced environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) compliance amongst local listed firms.

"Our revised disclosure rules require listed companies to disclose more of their ESG information, including greenhouse gas emission reduction and human rights protection," she said.

Partnering with regulators across Southeast Asia, every other year the scorecard reviews the top 100 publicly traded companies in terms of market capitalisation in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam on corporate governance advancement.

Public companies may have to raise their corporate governance standards because the assessment criteria could change, said Kulvech Janvatanavit, chief executive of the Thai Institute of Directors, which the SEC recently made the domestic ranking body for corporate governance.

"The scorecard criteria is expected to be amended in 2022 to reflect the most recent recommendations by G20 countries and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development," said Mr Kulvech.

"Topics valued by international investors such as ESG and risk management may be included in the new criteria. It presents a challenge for Thai listed companies to learn and grow their corporate governance to raise the bar so it is sustainable and well-received from both local and foreign investors."

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