A dinner was held in Beijing in November 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (HKICS) Representative Office in Beijing. On behalf of HKICS Council, HKICS President Ivan Tam FCIS FCS, gave a speech at the anniversary dinner looking back at the Institute’s development and accomplishments in Mainland China.
Back in the 1990s, only a handful of companies from Mainland China were listed in Hong Kong. Today, over 60% of total market value of shares traded in Hong Kong are shares of Mainland Chinese companies. In addition, investors from both sides can invest in each other’s market through the Mainland-Hong Kong Stock Connect mechanism. Whilst Hong Kong has grown to be one of the key international financial centres at a global level, HKICS is becoming the fastest-growing professional association for Chartered Secretaries, playing an increasingly prominent role in the development of global corporate governance practice and the company secretary profession.
HKICS traces its initial engagements with Mainland regulatory bodies back to the early 1990s, providing advisory services to the Mainland companies to be listed in Hong Kong with the confidence of its own prominent roles and accomplishments against the backdrop of China growth.
Since the establishment of its Beijing Representative Office, HKICS has been faithful to its own mission and committed to promoting sound corporate governance concepts, best governance practices and the growth of the Chartered Secretarial profession in the Chinese Mainland.
During the initial years of the Representative Office, HKICS primarily focused on engagements with regulators in the Mainland and collaborative efforts in providing training, whilst actively promoting the system and the value of the Hong Kong Chartered Secretarial profession, as well as assisting Mainland China in articulating the responsibilities and the professionalisation of board secretaries. Today, HKICS has established close and regular engagement and visiting channels with, and received guidance and advice from, government agencies such as the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce and self-governing professional associations such as the China Association for Public Companies (CAPCO).
Historical breakthroughs in promoting the profession
Eight years after the establishment of the Beijing Representative Office, HKICS launched its Affiliated Person (AP) programme in 2004 for the board secretaries of H-Share companies listed in Hong Kong. The AP programme has been providing tailor-made continuing professional development training to enhance the professional knowledge and practical skills of the H-share board secretaries, and to provide a platform for experience sharing and exchange. Meanwhile, HKICS organised annual corporate governance forums in the Mainland for three consecutive years after 2006, promoting sound corporate governance concepts and best practices. As of today, 41 sessions of the Institute’s Enhanced Continuing Professional Development (ECPD) programme have been held in the Mainland, attracting a total of 4,500 APs and their colleagues, as well as board members and senior executives of listed companies and other professionals. Over the years, the Institute has had a total of 371 Affiliated Persons and as of October 2016, the Institute has 172 Affiliated Persons (out of 236 H-Share companies listed in Hong Kong) on the register.
IQS examinations in the Mainland
HKICS established its first Mainland-based examination centre for the International Qualifying Scheme (IQS) in Beijing in 2007 and its second in Shanghai in 2015. Moreover, the inaugural Post-graduate Programme in Corporate Governance was launched in Shanghai through the collaboration with The Open University of Hong Kong. As of today, all qualification routes in Hong Kong have been made available in Mainland China. As of October 2016, the Institute has 162 Mainland-based registered students who will sit examinations, and 36 qualified Chartered Secretaries, as recognised by Hong Kong regulatory bodies and accredited internationally. Given the scarcity of qualified Chartered Secretaries in the Mainland, we are convinced that our Mainland-based channels will attract more and more Mainland applicants to get qualified as Chartered Secretaries, facilitating their career path towards company secretaryship at listed companies.
Regional networks for board secretaries
In view of the sheer size of the Mainland, HKICS has established Regional Board Secretary Panels based in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, Chongqing and Chengdu through the Affiliate Persons platform since 2009, based on the success of the Mainland-Hong Kong Board Secretary Leadership Forum. These Regional Board Secretary Panels discuss professional development and technical issues and matters of general concern in Hong Kong and in the Mainland with a view to compliance with regulatory requirements for listed companies. A total of 25 Regional Board Secretary Panel Roundtable sessions have been held as of October 2016, covering a wide range of topics, such as disclosure of inside information, connected transactions, risk management, amendment of mandatory provisions, and enhancing communications and experience sharing among APs in the same region.
Enhancing professionalism through empirical studies
Our Institute also plays a thought leadership role in regulatory and governance-related matters. Since its 2008 publication of A Comparitive Study of Continuing Disclosure in Hong Kong and the Mainland, HKICS has organised its APs to write up the Guidelines on Practices of Inside Information Disclosure of A+H Companies in 2013. More recently, the Institute prepared a special report in collaboration with CAPCO on the Amendment of the Mandatory Provisions of the Articles of Association of Companies Seeking Listings Overseas and submitted the report to the CSRC through CAPCO to facilitate regulatory amendments.
New prospect of full collaboration
HKICS has signed Memoranda of Understanding to collaborate strategically with the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges and the Insurance Association of China in multiple areas such as governance research, training and sharing of information, and the promotion of the professionalisation of board secretaryship in the Mainland.
We are very proud of the development of both HKICS and the company secretarial profession in the Mainland. On this 20th anniversary of our Beijing Representative Office, we would like to express our deep appreciation of the guidance and support from all walks of life for our Institute’s efforts in growing the company secretarial profession in the Mainland. This profession, which is at an initial stage in the Mainland, is embracing opportunities as well as challenges. Looking ahead, the Institute will further its efforts to facilitate the evolution and growth of our profession in close collaboration with our Mainland stakeholders, to share our international professional institutional experience and contribute towards a long-term objective of the establishment of a self-regulatory system for corporate governance professionals.
Ivan Tam FCIS FCS
President, on behalf of the Council of, The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries
The BRO anniversary dinner was held on 18 November 2016 at The Westin Beijing Financial Street Hotel, Beijing. More photos of this event are available on the Gallery section of the Institute’s website: www.hkics.org.hk.
SIDEBAR: BRO 20th anniversary messages of congratulation
Deputy Chief, Main Board Compliance and Disclosure Department, Shenzhen Stock Exchange
The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries is an independent professional association with a long history and superb reputation. Over the years, the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and the Institute have maintained a good cooperative working relationship. We co-sponsored the inaugural Professional Training Programme for Board Secretaries in 1996. We signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in March 2016, marking a new milestone for our future collaboration. Against the backdrop of the upcoming launch of Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Link, both parties are entering into a more extensive space for cooperation to raise the bar for better corporate governance and operational standardisation for listed issuers.
Vice-Chairman & Secretary-General, Shenzhen Listed Companies Association
Congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Representative Office of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries. It has been 23 years since the first H-Share listing in Hong Kong. The market reform and internationalisation initiatives of the Chinese economy have had long-established and close ties with the development of capital markets in Hong Kong. The capital markets in both the Mainland and Hong Kong have supported China’s reform and opening initiatives and witnessed its achievements and will continue to contribute actively to China’s upcoming great renaissance. Best wishes for deeper cooperation between Shenzhen and Hong Kong and more vibrant China and Hong Kong markets through the stock links.
Dr Jin Xiaobin
Former Board Secretary and Joint Company Secretary and Authorised Representative in Hong Kong, Vice-Chair, Investment Banking Committee, Haitong Securities Co Ltd
As a senior board secretary of a listed issuer and a board secretary representative in the PRC securities industry, may I express my warmest congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Beijing Representative Office of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries. As one of the world’s most professional organisations for corporate governance, the Institute has continued to advocate sound corporate governance concepts and best practices to Chinese listed companies through various channels over the last 20 years, resulting in not only enhanced execution capabilities for board secretaries, but also the professionalisation, standardisation and internationalisation of corporate governance practices among China’s listed companies. My best wishes for more value-adding initiatives and greater achievements in the corporate governance space by the Institute’ s Beijing Representative Office in the next 20 years.
Guo Xiangdong FCIS FCS
Board Secretary and Deputy General Manager, Guangshen Railway Co Ltd
The Year 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries Beijing Representative Office, as well as the 20th anniversary of the H-Share listing of Guangshen Railway Co Ltd. “Our mission, our road ahead” is therefore the most appropriate theme for the celebrations. The Institute has equipped its members and Affiliated Persons with broader horizons, enhanced communications and mutual assistance in promoting the vibrancy of the Mainland and Hong Kong markets. My best wishes for successful celebration events.
Board Secretary, China Shenhua Energies Co Ltd
Great accomplishments have been achieved in promoting the professionalisation of board secretaryship through the close ties between The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries and China Association for Public Companies. Wishing both parties greater achievements in moving hand-in-hand towards the internationalisation of board secretaryship.
Company Secretary, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd
The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries has tirelessly promoted better corporate governance practices and talent training programmes for Mainland companies listed in Hong Kong for over 20 years. It has created diverse opportunities for exchange and cooperation to solidify the foundations for the long-term development of corporate governance. Wishing the Institute’s Beijing Representative Office future success on the strength of fruitful accomplishments over the past 20 years.
Vice-President and Board Secretary, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation
For the past 20 years, The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries and its Beijing Representative Office have focused on the popularisation of knowledge and skill set of operational standardisation, corporate governance, regulatory rules and company secretarial practices and have played a unique role in forming the platforms for learning, exchange and research and facilitating the integration of the PRC companies, including Sinopec, into the international capital markets. As a senior board secretary having attended trainings, exchanges and conferences, I praise the high level of professionalism, service standards and training effectiveness of the Institute and its Beijing Representative Office. Looking forward, as China securities industry is accelerating the process of its internationalisation and increasing and deepening the cross-border collaborative exchanges between the Mainland and Hong Kong, the Institute and its Beijing Representative Office will further their success into the world stage.
President, Research Institute of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the PRC State Council
With 20 years’ diligence, the Beijing Representative Office of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries has harvested very significant accomplishments in professionalising and standardising board secretaryship in the Mainland and promoting exchanges and collaborations between professionals from the Mainland and Hong Kong. My utmost tribute to your splendid past and my best wishes for future greater achievements from this new starting point of the 20th anniversary.
Deputy Secretary-General, Head of General Office, The Listed Companies Association of Shanghai
Our Association has formed a great partnership with The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries since the signing of our Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation as early as 2000. The Association has benefited greatly from the support and assistance of the Institute particularly in the areas of professionalism and professionalisation of board secretaryship. Many thanks and many congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute’s Beijing Representative Office.
Aisin Gioro Henglin
Secretary-General, The Listed Companies Association of Beijing
On behalf of The Listed Companies Association of Beijing, my heartfelt congratulations on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Beijing Representative Office of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries. The Institute has adhered to its mission of promoting corporate governance and its objective of raising the standards and increasing the exchanges of the professional skills of board secretaries of domestic and overseas listed companies. The accomplishments of the Institute through diverse and successful events have been duly recognised by all stakeholders. Best wishes for the Institute’s future greater achievements in the areas of corporate governance and professional exchange and progress.
Assistant Director, Investor Education Department (Corporate Training Centre), and Chief Representative, Market Development in Hubei Area, Shanghai Stock Exchange
The 20 years of Beijing Representative Office of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries is a living testimony of the development of China’s capital markets for the last 20 years. The professional mission of promoting better corporate governance has been embedded in each of its training sessions, exchange activities and journals and publications. As a mutual supporter to each other from our humble start, we hope to move forward shoulder to shoulder to achieve our shared dreams.
China Association for Public Companies
It has been a great pleasure to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Representative Office of The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries, a remarkable occasion to celebrate collaboration, openness, mutual benefit and development of the capital markets in the Mainland and Hong Kong. The Institute advocates good corporate governance with the objective of heightening the professionalism of board secretaryship, which is highly consistent with the Association’s mission of perfecting corporate governance and improving the quality of listed issuers. We anticipate further professional collaborations between the parties going forward to contribute collectively to the improvement of the quality of China’s listed companies and the vibrancy of the capital markets in the Mainland and Hong Kong.
公會於2007年在北京開設內地首個國際專業知識評審考試(International Qualifying Scheme, IQS)考點，2015年在上海設立第二個考點，公會透過香港公開大學舉辦的首期高級企業管治研修班也於2016年9月11日在上海開課，至此香港有的專業資格考試途徑已全部在內地落地生根。截至2016年10月，共有162名內地人士註冊參加IQS考試，36人已取得香港監管機構及國際認可的特許秘書專業資格。目前，內地持有擔任公司秘書資格的人士還較為稀缺，相信未來將有越來越多內地業內人士通過此方式獲取特許秘書專業資格，繼而通往擔任上市公司之公司秘書的職業路徑。
譚國榮 FCIS FCS