What is your role as a governance professional?
‘I have been with ANTA Sports Products for almost six years. Since the company doesn’t have a company secretarial department, our investor relations (IR) department takes on some company secretarial duties. As Investor Relations Manager, my main role is to communicate with investors on the buy-side and research analysts on the sell-side. We provide financial and business information to investors and promote our company to them. Research analysts are also important since their research reports influence investors’ perceptions of our stock. Being an IR professional, I need to handle price-sensitive information carefully. IR professionals need to provide relevant and necessary information to the investment community without breaching the rules applicable to disclosing price-sensitive information. Such a breach could attract civil or criminal liability under the laws of Hong Kong.’.
What was your career path to your current role?
‘I graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Finance degree in Australia. Returning to Hong Kong after graduation, I was looking for work that would be people-facing and finance-related. I worked for a time in a listed company, mainly coordinating meetings with investors. This deepened my interest in IR work and investor engagement. I eventually enrolled in an Executive Certificate in Investor Relations programme, which led me to my current job.’
What value does governance bring to organisations and to wider society?
‘There are many advantages of good governance both to organisations and society, but most relevant for me is the role governance plays in improving business performance. Good governance enhances the value of a company and drives up its share price. Investors are more willing to spend money on companies that perform well in governance, social responsibility and promoting social harmony.’
What qualities do you think are needed to be a successful governance professional?
‘Governance professionals need to be hard working, meticulous and persistent. Being hard working and meticulous is essential for governance professionals to react quickly to the external environment. This includes being up to date and familiar with all relevant listing rules and regulations, as well as properly handling legal documents and providing valuable advice to management. My personal secret of success is persistence – identify your goal and act fearlessly to move forward. I think measuring your success by your own personal improvement is better than comparing yourself to your peers.’
How do you think governance will evolve in the future?
‘When I first joined my company, investor concerns were mainly about the financial numbers and business strategy – the topic of governance rarely came up during conversations. In the last two years however, we have started to receive enquiries relating to governance and environmental, social and governance matters. Investors are particularly interested in topics like board diversity, living wage policies and supply chain management. Our board members have also begun to pay more attention to governance issues. I think governance will continue to gain increasing attention and influence in the future, not only in the investment community but also among managers and directors.’
What inspires you in your life and work?
‘My brother and the mentor I knew from The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries. They both work in finance and have successful careers. They taught me that being passionate about your work is crucial to success and that life is a marathon rather than a sprint. I love my job. It has helped me to recognise my weaknesses, as well as how to improve and advance. I also love spending time reading and watching TV – this too has helped me to overcome hurdles in my life and work.’
How do you fill your time outside work?
‘As my company is a sportswear company, my colleagues and I all play sports. I run and practice yoga. I also watch movies and have fallen in love with cooking during the pandemic. My latest signature dish is dried fish maw and chicken soup with wonton (花膠雲吞雞湯).’