Our primary role as the manager of CRCT (Manager) is to set the strategic direction of CRCT and make recommendations to HSBC Institutional Trust Services (Singapore) Limited, in its capacity as trustee of CRCT (Trustee), on any investment or divestment opportunities for CRCT and the enhancement of the assets of CRCT in accordance with the stated investment strategy for CRCT. The research, evaluation and analysis required for this purpose are coordinated and carried out by us as the Manager.
As the Manager, we have general powers of management over the assets of CRCT. Our primary responsibility is to manage the assets and liabilities of CRCT for the benefit of the unitholders of CRCT (Unitholders). We do this with a focus on generating rental income and enhancing asset value over time so as to maximise returns from the investments, and ultimately the distributions and total returns to Unitholders.
Our other functions and responsibilities as the Manager include:
- using our best endeavours to conduct CRCT’s business in a proper and efficient manner;
- preparing annual business plans for review by the directors of the Manager (Directors), including forecasts on revenue, net income and capital expenditure, explanations on major variances to previous years’ financial results, written commentaries on key issues and underlying assumptions on rental rates, operating expenses and any other relevant assumptions;
- ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations, including the Listing Manual of Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited (SGX-ST) (Listing Manual), the Code on Collective Investment Schemes (CIS Code) issued by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) (including Appendix 6 of CIS Code (Property Funds Appendix)), the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289 of Singapore), written directions, notices, codes and other guidelines that MAS may issue from time to time, and the tax rulings issued by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore on the taxation of CRCT and Unitholders;
- attending to all regular communications with Unitholders; and
- supervising CapitaLand Retail (Shanghai) Management & Consulting Co., Ltd. and its branches (Property Managers), the property manager which performs the day-to-day property management functions (including leasing, marketing, promotion, operations coordination and other property management activities) for CRCT’s malls.
The Manager also considers sustainability issues (including environmental and social factors) as part of its responsibilities. CRCT’s environmental sustainability and community outreach programmes are set out on pages 54 to 59 of this Annual Report.
CRCT, constituted as a trust, is externally managed by the Manager. The Manager appoints experienced and well qualified personnel to run its day-to-day operations.
The Manager was appointed in accordance with the terms of the trust deed constituting CRCT dated 23 October 2006 (as amended, varied or supplemented from time to time) (Trust Deed). The Trust Deed outlines certain circumstances under which the Manager can be removed, including by notice in writing given by the Trustee upon the occurrence of certain events, or by resolution passed by a simple majority of Unitholders present and voting at a meeting of Unitholders duly convened and held in accordance with the provisions of the Trust Deed.
The Manager is a wholly owned subsidiary of CapitaLand Limited (CL) which holds a significant unitholding interest in CRCT. CL is a long-term real estate developer and investor, with a vested interest in the long-term performance of CRCT. CL’s significant unitholding in CRCT demonstrates its commitment to CRCT and as a result, CL’s interest is aligned with that of other Unitholders. The Manager’s association with CL provides the following benefits, among other things, to CRCT:
- a stable pipeline of property assets through CL’s development activities;
- wider and better access to banking and capital markets on favourable terms;
- fund raising and treasury support; and
- access to a bench of experienced management talent.
OUR CORPORATE GOVERNANCE CULTURE
The Manager aspires to the highest standards of corporate governance. The Manager is committed to continuous improvement in corporate governance. It has developed and, on an ongoing basis, maintains sound and transparent policies and practices to meet the specific business needs of CRCT and to provide a firm foundation for a trusted and respected business enterprise. The Manager remains focused on complying with the substance and spirit of the principles of the Code of Corporate Governance 2012 (Code) while achieving operational excellence and delivering CRCT’s long-term strategic objectives. The Board of Directors (Board) is responsible for the Manager’s corporate governance standards and policies, underscoring their importance to the Manager.
This corporate governance report (Report) sets out the corporate governance practices for financial year (FY) 2017 with reference to the principles of the Code. For FY 2017, save as stated in this Report, CRCT has complied in all material aspects with the principles and guidelines in the Code. Where there are deviations from any of the guidelines of the Code, an explanation has been provided within this Report.
(A) BOARD MATTERS
The Board's Conduct of Affairs
Principle 1: Every company should be headed by an effective Board to lead and control the company. The Board is collectively responsible for the long-term success of the company. The Board works with Management to achieve this objective and Management remains accountable to the Board.
The Manager is led by the Board which presently comprises a majority of non-executive independent directors (IDs). This exceeds the recommendations in the Code. The Board has diversity of skills and knowledge, experience, educational background and gender. Each Director brings to the Board skills, experience, insights and sound judgement which, together with his or her strategic networking relationships, serves to further the interests of CRCT.
The Board oversees the affairs of the Manager, in furtherance of the Manager’s primary responsibility to manage the assets and liabilities of CRCT for the benefit of Unitholders. The Board provides leadership to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the management team (Management) and sets the strategic vision, direction and long-term objectives for CRCT. The CEO, assisted by Management, is responsible for the execution of the strategy for CRCT and the day-to-day operations of CRCT’s business.
The Board provides leadership to Management, sets strategic directions and oversees the management of CRCT. The Board establishes goals for Management and monitors the achievement of these goals. It ensures that proper and effective controls are in place to assess and manage business risks and compliance with requirements under the Listing Manual, the Property Funds Appendix, as well as any other applicable guidelines prescribed by the SGXST, MAS or other relevant authorities, and applicable laws. It also sets the disclosure and transparency standards for CRCT and ensures that obligations to Unitholders and other stakeholders are understood and met.
The Board has reserved authority to approve certain matters and these include:
- material acquisitions, investments and divestments;
- issue of new units in CRCT (Units);
- income distributions and other returns to Unitholders; and
- matters which involve a conflict of interest for a controlling Unitholder or a Director.
The Board has established various Board Committees to assist it in the discharge of its functions. These Board Committees are the Audit Committee (AC), the Corporate Disclosure Committee (CDC) and the Executive Committee (EC). Each of these Board Committees operates under authority delegated from the Board, with the Board retaining overall oversight, and has its own terms of reference. The composition of the various Board Committees is set out on page 46 of this Annual Report.
The Board may form other Board Committees as dictated by business imperatives. Membership of the various Board Committees is managed to ensure an equitable distribution of responsibilities among Board members, to maximise the effectiveness of the Board and to foster active participation and contribution from Board members. Diversity of experience and appropriate skills are considered in the composition of the respective Board Committees.
The Board has adopted a set of internal controls which establishes approval limits for capital expenditure, investments, divestments, bank borrowings and issuance of debt instruments. Apart from matters that specifically require the Board’s approval, the Board delegates authority for transactions below those limits to Board Committees and Management.
The Board meets at least once every quarter, and as required by business imperatives. Board and Board Committee meetings are scheduled prior to the start of each financial year. Where exigencies prevent a Director from attending a Board meeting in person, the Constitution of the Manager permits the Director to participate via audio or video conference. The Board and Board Committees may also make decisions by way of resolutions in writing. In each meeting where matters requiring the Board’s approval are to be considered, all members of the Board participate in the discussions and deliberations; and resolutions in writing are circulated to all Directors for their consideration and approval. The exception is where a Director has a conflict of interest in a particular matter, in which case he or she will be required to recuse himself or herself from the deliberations and abstain from voting on the matter. This principle of collective decisions adopted by the Board ensures that no individual influences or dominates the decision making process.
During Board meetings, non-executive Directors review the performance of Management in meeting agreed goals and objectives and monitor the reporting of performance. During the Board meeting to discuss strategies, nonexecutive Directors constructively challenge and help develop proposals on strategy.
A total of four Board meetings were held in FY 2017. A record of the Directors’ attendance at Board and Board Committees’ meetings in FY 2017 is set out on page 46 of this Annual Report. The Manager believes in the manifest contributions of its Directors beyond attendance at formal Board and Board Committee meetings. To judge a Director’s contributions based on his or her attendance at formal meetings alone would not do justice to his or her overall contributions, which include being accessible to Management for guidance or exchange of views outside the formal environment of Board and Board Committee meetings.
In view of the increasingly demanding, complex and multi-dimensional role of a director, the Board recognises the importance of continual training and development for its Directors so as to equip them to discharge the responsibilities of their office as Directors to the best of their abilities. The Manager has in place a training framework to guide and support the Manager towards meeting the objective of having a Board which comprises individuals who are competent and possess up-to-date knowledge and skills necessary to discharge their responsibilities. The Manager also maintains a training record to track the Directors’ attendance at training and professional development courses. The costs of training are borne by the Manager. Upon appointment, each Director is provided with a formal letter of appointment and a copy of the Director’s Manual (which includes information on a broad range of matters relating to the role and responsibilities of a director). All Directors, upon appointment, also undergo an induction programme which focuses on orientating the Director to CRCT’s business, operations, strategy, organisational structure, responsibilities of key management personnel, and financial and governance practices.
Following their appointment, Directors are provided with opportunities for continuing education in areas such as directors’ duties and responsibilities, changes to regulations and accounting standards, and industry-related matters, so as to be updated on matters that affect or may enhance their performance as Directors or Board Committee members. Directors may contribute by highlighting relevant areas of interest. Directors also receive on-the-job training through being engaged in actual Board work. In FY 2017, the training and professional development programmes for Directors included forums and dialogues with experts and senior business leaders on issues facing boards and board practices.
Board Composition and Guidance
Principle 2: There should be a strong and independent element on the Board, which is able to exercise objective judgement on corporate affairs independently, in particular, from Management and 10% shareholders. No individual or small group of individuals should be allowed to dominate the Board’s decision making.
The Board reviews from time to time the size and composition of the Board, with a view to ensuring that the size of the Board is appropriate in facilitating effective decision making, taking into account the scope and nature of the operations of CRCT and its subsidiaries (CRCT Group), and that the Board has a strong independent element.
The Board presently comprises 10 Directors, six of whom (including the Chairman) are IDs. Profiles of the Directors are provided on pages 18 to 22 of this Annual Report. The recommendation in the Code for the appointment of a lead ID does not apply to the Manager as the Chairman is an ID, and he and the CEO are separate individuals, and they are not related to each other.
The Board assesses the independence of each Director in accordance with the guidance in the Code and the Securities and Futures (Licensing and Conduct of Business) Regulations (SFR). An ID is one who has no relationship with the Manager, its related corporations and its shareholders who hold 10% or more of the voting shares of the Manager, or Unitholders who hold 10% or more of the Units in issue, or its officers that could interfere, or be reasonably perceived to interfere, with the exercise of his or her independent business judgement; and is independent from any management and business relationship with the Manager and CRCT, the substantial shareholder of the Manager and the substantial unitholder of CRCT and has not served on the Board for a continuous period of nine years or longer.
The Board has established a process for assessing the independence of its Directors. As part of the process, each of the relevant non-executive Directors is required to confirm upon appointment, as well as on an annual basis, that there are no material relationships which would render him or her non-independent. The confirmations are reviewed by the Board during which the Board also considers the Directors’ respective contributions at Board meetings.
The Board has carried out the assessment of each of its Directors for FY 2017 as well as Ms Kuan Li Li who was appointed on 1 January 2018. The paragraphs below set out the outcome of the assessment.
Each of Mr Fong Heng Boo, Professor Tan Kong Yam and Mr Neo Poh Kiat is a non-executive director of a few subsidiaries and/or associated corporations of Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (Temasek). Temasek is deemed to be a substantial Unitholder through its direct and indirect interest in CL, which is a substantial Unitholder of CRCT. Each of Mr Fong, Professor Tan and Mr Neo’s role in these organisations is non-executive in nature and is not involved in the day-to-day conduct of the business of these organisations. These roles also do not pose any conflict of interest issues for Mr Fong, Professor Tan and Mr Neo. The Board therefore considers that the relationships set out above did not impair their independence and objectivity.
The Board also considered whether each of Mr Fong Heng Boo, Professor Tan Kong Yam and Mr Neo Poh Kiat had demonstrated independence of character and judgement in the discharge of his responsibilities as a Director in FY 2017, and is satisfied that each of Mr Fong, Professor Tan and Mr Neo had acted with independent judgement.
With respect to Mr Soh Kim Soon, Mr Christopher Gee Kok Aun and Mr Liew Cheng San Victor, the Board also considered whether each of them had demonstrated independence of character and judgement in the discharge of his responsibilities as a Director in FY 2017, and is also satisfied that each of Mr Soh, Mr Gee and Mr Liew had acted with independent judgement. Mr Liew stepped down as a Director and Chairman with effect from 20 April 2017.
It is noted that all of the current Directors have served on the Board for fewer than nine years.
On the bases of the declarations of independence provided by the relevant non-executive Directors and the guidance in the Code and the SFR, the Board has determined that Mr Soh, Mr Fong, Mr Gee, Professor Tan, Mr Neo, Ms Kuan and Mr Liew are independent directors. Each of them had recused himself or herself from the Board’s deliberations respectively on his or her own independence.
At all times, the Directors are collectively and individually obliged to act honestly and with diligence, and in the best interests of CRCT. The Manager has established a policy that its Directors disclose their interests in transactions and any conflicts of interests, and recuse themselves from any discussions concerning a matter in which they may be in a conflict of interest situation. Each of the Directors has complied with this policy. Compliance by the Directors is duly minuted.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Principle 3: There should be a clear division of responsibilities between the leadership of the Board and the executives responsible for managing the company’s business. No one individual should represent a considerable concentration of power.
To maintain an appropriate balance of power, increased accountability and greater capacity of the Board for independent decision making, the roles and responsibilities of the Chairman and the CEO are held by separate individuals.
The non-executive independent Chairman, Mr Soh Kim Soon, is responsible for leading the Board and ensuring that the Board is effective in all aspects of its role. The CEO, Mr Tan Tze Wooi, has full executive responsibilities over the business directions and operational decisions of CRCT and is responsible for implementing CRCT’s strategies and policies and conducting CRCT’s business.
The Chairman is responsible for leadership of the Board and for facilitating the conditions for the overall effectiveness of the Board, Board Committees and individual Directors. This includes setting the agenda of the Board in consultation with the CEO and promoting constructive engagement among the Directors as well as between the Board and the CEO on strategic issues. The Chairman plays a significant leadership role by providing clear oversight, direction, advice and guidance to the CEO and Management on strategies.
The Chairman and the CEO are not immediate family members. The separation of the roles of the Chairman and the CEO and the resulting clarity of roles provide a healthy professional relationship between the Board and Management, and facilitate robust deliberations on the business activities of CRCT and the exchange of ideas and views to help shape CRCT’s strategic process. Given that the roles of the Chairman and CEO are held by separate individuals and the Chairman is an ID, no Lead ID is required to be appointed.
Principle 4: There should be a formal and transparent process for the appointment and re-appointment of directors to the Board.
The Board undertakes the functions of a nominating committee and therefore, the Manager does not have a nominating committee. The Board performs the functions that such a committee would otherwise perform, namely, it administers nominations to the Board, reviews the structure, size and composition of the Board, and reviews the performance and independence of Board members. The Board seeks to ensure that the composition of the Board provides an appropriate balance and diversity of skills, experience and knowledge of the industry and that the Directors, as a group, have the necessary core competencies relevant to CRCT’s business.
The current Board comprises individuals who are business leaders and professionals with financial, banking, real estate, legal, investment and accounting backgrounds. The Board recognises the benefits of having a diverse Board. Diversity in the Board’s composition not only contributes to the quality of its decision making through diversity of perspectives in its boardroom deliberations, it also enables Management to benefit from their respective expertise and diverse backgrounds. The Board also considers gender an important aspect of diversity alongside factors such as the age, ethnicity and educational background of its members. The Board is committed to diversity and will continue to consider the differences in the skillsets, gender, age, ethnicity and educational, business and professional background in determining the optimal composition of the Board in its Board renewal process.
In the year under review, no alternate directors were appointed. In keeping with the principle that a Director must be able to commit time to the affairs of the Manager, the Board will, generally, not approve the appointment of alternate directors.
The Board is able to undertake the functions of a nominating committee because:
- the Manager is a dedicated manager to CRCT and in general, REITs (including CRCT) have a more focused scope and scale of business compared to those of listed companies. For this reason, the Board’s capacity would not be unduly stretched if the responsibilities of a nominating committee were also undertaken by the Board as the Board would be able to give adequate attention to such issues;
- the focused scope of the business of CRCT also means a manageable competency requirement for the Board such that the Board is able to manage the duties of a nominating committee; and
- IDs form at least half of the Board and the Chairman is an ID, which demonstrates that the IDs play a substantive role, and assures the objectivity and independence of the decision making process concerning nomination. This also mitigates any concerns of conflict which can be managed by having the conflicted Directors abstain from the decision making process. Further, conflict situations are less likely to arise in matters of nomination.
The Board has adopted the following criteria and process for selecting, appointing and reappointing Directors and for reviewing the performance of Directors:
- The Board, on an annual basis, carries out a review of the Board composition as well as on each occasion when an existing ID gives notice of his or her intention to retire or resign. The review includes assessing the collective skills, knowledge and experience of Directors represented on the Board to determine whether the Board, as a whole, has the skills, knowledge and experience required to achieve the Manager’s objectives for CRCT. In carrying out this review, the Board considers the need for the Board composition to reflect balance in matters such as skills representation, tenure, experience, age spread and diversity (including gender diversity), taking into account benchmarking within the industry as appropriate.
- The Board reviews the suitability of any candidates put forward by any Director for appointment, having regard to the skills required and the skills represented on the Board and whether a candidate’s skills, knowledge and experience will complement the existing Board and whether he or she has sufficient time available to commit to his or her responsibilities as a director, and whether he or she is a fit and proper person for the office in accordance with the Guidelines on Fit and Proper Criteria issued by MAS (which require the candidate to be, among other things, competent, honest, to have integrity and be financially sound).
- External consultants may be engaged from time to time to access a wide base of potential directors.
- No member of the Board is involved in any decision of the Board relating to his or her own appointment, reappointment or assessment of independence.
- A newly appointed Director receives a formal appointment letter and a copy of the Director’s Manual (which includes information on a broad range of matters relating to the role and responsibilities of a director).
- All Directors undergo an induction programme on appointment to help familiarise them with matters relating to CRCT’s business and the Manager’s strategy for CRCT.
- The performance of the Board, Board Committees and directors is reviewed annually.
- The Board proactively addresses any issues identified in the board performance evaluation.
The adopted process takes into account the requirements in the Code that the composition of the Board, including the selection of candidates for new appointments to the Board as part of the Board’s renewal process, be determined using the following principles:
- the Board should comprise Directors with a broad range of commercial experience, including expertise in funds management, the property industry, banking, finance and legal fields; and
- at least one-third of the Board should comprise IDs. Where, among other things, the Chairman of the Board is not an ID, at least half of the Board should comprise IDs.
As at least half of the Board comprises IDs, the Manager will not be voluntarily subjecting any appointment or reappointment of directors to voting by Unitholders. The Chairman of the Board is presently an ID. The Board intends to continue to keep to the principle that at least half of the Board shall comprise IDs.
The Board seeks to refresh Board membership progressively and in an orderly manner. In this regard, board succession planning is carried out through the annual review of Board composition as well as when an existing ID gives notice of his or her intention to retire or resign. On the issue of Board renewal, the Manager believes that Board renewal is a necessary and continual process, for good governance and ensuring that the Board has the skills, expertise and experience which are relevant to the evolving needs of CRCT’s business; renewal or replacement of a Director therefore does not necessarily reflect his or her performance or contributions to date.
Guideline 4.4 of the Code recommends that the Board determine the maximum number of listed company board appointments which any director may hold and disclose this in the annual report. In view of the responsibilities of a director, the Board is cognisant of the need for Directors to be able to devote sufficient time and attention to adequately perform their roles. However, the Board has not imposed any limit as it has taken the view that, the limit on the number of listed company directorships that an individual may hold should be considered on a case-by-case basis, as a person’s available time and attention may be affected by many different factors, such as whether he is in full-time employment and the nature of his or her other responsibilities. A Director with multiple directorships is expected to ensure that sufficient attention can be and is given to the affairs of the Manager in managing the assets and liabilities of CRCT for the benefit of Unitholders. The Board believes that each Director is best placed to determine and ensure that he is able to devote sufficient time and attention to discharge his or her duties and responsibilities as a director of the Manager, bearing in mind his or her other commitments. In considering the nomination of any individual for appointment, and in its annual review of each Director’s ability to commit time to the affairs of the Manager, the Board takes into account, among other things, the attendance record of the Directors at meetings of the Board and Board Committees, the competing time commitments faced by any such individual with multiple Board memberships as well as his or her other principal commitments. All Directors had confirmed that notwithstanding the number of their individual listed company board appointments and other principal commitments, which each of them held, they were able to devote sufficient time and attention to the affairs of the Manager in managing the assets and liabilities of CRCT for the benefit of Unitholders. The CEO, who is also a Director, is fully committed to the dayto- day operations of the Manager. The Board also notes that, as at the date of this Report, none of the IDs serves on more than three listed company boards. Taking into account also the attendance record of the Directors at meetings of the Board and Board Committees in FY 2017 (set out on page 46 of this Annual Report) and contributions to the Board’s deliberations as well as availability outside formal Board and Board Committee meetings, the Board is of the view that the current commitments of each of its Directors are reasonable and each of the Directors is able to and has been adequately carrying out his or her duties.
Principle 5: There should be a formal annual assessment of the effectiveness of the Board as a whole and its board committees and the contribution by each director to the effectiveness of the Board.
The Manager believes that oversight from a strong and effective board goes a long way towards guiding a business enterprise to achieving success.
The Board strives to ensure that there is an optimal blend in the Board of backgrounds, experience and knowledge in business and general management, expertise relevant to CRCT’s business and track record, and that each Director can bring to the Board an independent and objective perspective to enable balanced and well-considered decisions to be made in the interests of CRCT.
Whilst board performance is ultimately reflected in the long-term performance of CRCT, the Board believes that engaging in a regular process of self-assessment and evaluation of board performance in order to identify key strengths and areas for improvement is essential to effective stewardship and to attaining success for CRCT.
As part of the Manager’s commitment towards improving corporate governance, the Board has approved and implemented a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the Board as a whole and the Board Committees on an annual basis. As part of the process, questionnaires were sent to the Directors, and the results were aggregated and reported to the Chairman of the Board. The areas of evaluation covered in the survey questionnaire included Board composition, Board processes, strategy, performance and governance, access to information and Board Committee effectiveness. As part of the survey questionnaire, the Board also considers whether the creation of value for Unitholders has been taken into account in the decision making process. The results of the survey were deliberated upon by the Board, and the necessary follow up action will be taken with a view to enhancing the effectiveness of the Board in the discharge of its duties and responsibilities. The outcome of the evaluation was satisfactory with positive ratings received for all the attributes in the evaluation categories.
The Board was also able to assess the Board Committees through their regular reports to the Board on their activities. In respect of individual Directors, their contributions can take different forms including providing objective perspectives on issues, facilitating business opportunities and strategic relationships, and accessibility to Management outside of the formal environment of Board and/or Board Committee meetings.
The Manager also believes that the collective Board performance and the contributions of individual Board members are also reflected in, and evidenced by, the synergistic performance of the Board in discharging its responsibilities as a whole by providing proper guidance, diligent oversight and able leadership, and lending support to Management in steering CRCT in the appropriate direction, as well as the long-term performance of CRCT whether under favourable or challenging market conditions.
Access to Information
Principle 6: In order to fulfil their responsibilities, directors should be provided with complete, adequate and timely information prior to board meetings and on an on going basis so as to enable them to make informed decisions to discharge their duties and responsibilities.
An effective and robust Board, whose members engage in open and constructive debate to develop and refine proposals on strategy, is fundamental to good corporate governance. In this regard, the Board must be kept well-informed of CRCT Group’s business and affairs and the industry in which CRCT Group operates. The Manager recognises the importance of providing the Board with relevant information on a timely basis prior to Board meetings and on an ongoing basis, to enable the Directors to make informed decisions to discharge their duties and responsibilities. Reports on CRCT’s performance are also provided to the Board on a regular basis.
The Board meets regularly and Board meetings, in general, last up to half a day. At each Board meeting, the CEO provides updates on CRCT’s business and operations, as well as financial performance. Presentations in relation to specific business areas are also made by key executives and external consultants or experts; this allows the Board to develop a good understanding of the progress of CRCT’s business and also promotes active engagement between the Board and the key executives of the Manager.
As a general rule, Board papers are sent to Board members at least five working days prior to each Board meeting, to allow members of the Board to prepare for the Board meetings and to enable discussions to focus on any questions that they may have.
In line with the Manager’s ongoing commitment to limit paper waste and reduce its carbon footprint, the Manager does not provide printed copies of Board papers. Instead, Directors are provided with tablet devices to enable them to access and read Board and Board Committee papers prior to and in meetings. This initiative also enhances information security as the papers are downloaded to the tablet devices through an encrypted channel.
In addition to providing complete, adequate and timely information to the Board on Board affairs and issues requiring the Board’s decision, Management also provides ongoing reports relating to the operational and financial performance of CRCT, such as monthly management reports.
Where appropriate, informal meetings are also held for Management to brief Directors on prospective transactions and potential developments in the early stages before formal Board approval is sought.
The Board has separate and independent access to Management, including the company secretary of the Manager (Company Secretary), at all times. The Company Secretary attends to corporate secretarial administration matters and is the corporate governance advisor on corporate matters to the Board and Management. The Company Secretary attends all Board meetings and assists the Chairman in ensuring that Board procedures are followed. The appointment and the removal of the Company Secretary is subject to the Board’s approval. The Board, whether as an individual Director or as a group, is also entitled to have access to independent professional advice where required, with expenses borne by the Manager.
There were no meetings of the IDs without the presence of other Directors in FY 2017 because no Lead ID is required to be appointed.
The AC also meets the internal and external auditors separately at least once a year, without the presence of the CEO and Management. The Board has unfettered access to any Management staff for any information that it may require.
Through the training framework adopted for the professional development of the Directors, Directors also receive on a regular basis, reading materials on topical matters or subjects and regulatory updates and implications. Where appropriate, Management will also arrange for briefings by industry players or consultants.
(A) REMUNERATION MATTERS
Procedures for Developing Remuneration Policies
Principle 7: There should be a formal and transparent procedure for developing policy on executive remuneration and for fixing the remuneration packages of individual directors. No director should be involved in deciding his own remuneration.
Level and Mix of Remuneration
Principle 8:The level and structure of remuneration should be aligned with the long-term interest and risk policies of the company, and should be appropriate to attract, retain and motivate (a) the directors to provide good stewardship of the company, and (b) key management personnel to successfully manage the company. However, companies should avoid paying more than is necessary for this purpose.
Disclosure on Remuneration
Principle 9: Every company should provide clear disclosure of its remuneration policies, level and mix of remuneration, and the procedure for setting remuneration, in the company’s Annual Report. It should provide disclosure in relation to its remuneration policies to enable investors to understand the link between remuneration paid to directors and key management personnel, and performance.
The Board is able to undertake the functions of a remuneration committee because:
- the Manager is a dedicated manager to only CRCT and in general, REITs (including CRCT) have a more focused scope and scale of business compared to those of listed companies. For this reason, the Board’s capacity would not be unduly stretched by reason of it undertaking the responsibilities of a remuneration committee and the Board would be able to give adequate attention to such issues relating to remuneration matters; and
- the IDs form at least half of the Board and the Chairman is an ID, which demonstrates that the IDs play a substantive role and assures the objectivity and independence of the decision making process concerning remuneration. This also mitigates any concerns of conflict which can be managed by having the conflicted directors abstain from the decision making process. Further, conflict situations are less likely to arise in matters of remuneration.
In undertaking this functions, the Board oversees the design and implementation of the remuneration policy and the specific remuneration packages for each Director and senior executives including the CEO. No member of the Board, however, will be involved in any decision of the Board relating to his or her own remuneration.
In terms of the process adopted by the Manager for developing policies on remuneration and determining the remuneration packages for Directors and executive officers, the Manager, through an independent remuneration consultant, takes into account compensation benchmarks within the industry, as appropriate. It also considers the compensation framework of CL as a point of reference. The Manager is a subsidiary of CL which also holds a significant stake in CRCT. The association with the CL group puts the Manager in a better position to attract and retain better qualified management talent; it provides an intangible benefit to the Manager such that it allows its employees to associate themselves with an established corporate group which can offer them the depth and breadth of experience and enhanced career development opportunities. In FY 2017, an independent remuneration consultant, Mercer (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Mercer), was appointed to provide professional advice on Board and executive remuneration. Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments with operations in more than 130 countries and employs more than 22,000 people globally. The consultant is not related to the Manager, its controlling shareholder, its related corporations or any of its Directors.
The principles governing the Manager’s key management personnel remuneration policy are as follows:
Remuneration for Key Management Personnel
Remuneration for key management personnel comprises fixed components, variable cash components, Unit-based components and employee benefits:
A. Fixed Components
The fixed components comprise the base salary, fixed allowances and compulsory employer contribution to an employee’s Central Provident Fund.
A. Fixed Components
The fixed components comprise the base salary, fixed allowances and compulsory employer contribution to an employee’s Central Provident Fund.
B. Variable Cash Components
The variable cash components comprise the Balanced Scorecard Bonus Plan (BSBP) that is linked to the achievement of annual performance targets for each key management personnel as agreed at the beginning of the financial year with the Board.
Under the Balanced Scorecard framework, CRCT Group’s strategy and goals are translated to performance outcomes comprising both qualitative and quantitative targets in the dimensions of Financial, Execution, Growth and People; these are cascaded down throughout the organisation, thereby creating alignment across the CRCT Group.
After the close of each year, the Board reviews CRCT Group’s achievements against the targets set in the Balanced Scorecard, determines the overall performance taking into consideration qualitative factors such as the business environment, regulatory landscape and industry trends and approves a bonus pool that is commensurate with the performance achieved.
In determining the payout quantum for each key management personnel under the plan, the Board considers the overall business performance and individual performance as well as affordability.
C. Unit-based Components
Unit awards were granted in FY 2017 pursuant to the CapitaLand Retail China Trust Management Limited Performance Unit Plan (PUP) and CapitaLand Retail China Trust Management Limited Restricted Unit Plan (RUP) (together, the Unit Plans), approved by the Board.
The obligation to deliver the Units is expected to be satisfied out of the Units held by the Manager.
CapitaLand Retail China Trust Management Limited Performance Unit Plan
In FY 2017, the Board granted awards which are conditional on targets set for a performance period, currently prescribed to be a three-year performance period. A specified number of Units will only be released to the recipient at the end of the qualifying performance period, provided that minimally the threshold targets are achieved. An initial number of Units (baseline award) is allocated according to the Relative Total Unitholder Return (TUR) of CRCT Group measured as a percentile ranking of CRCT Group’s TUR against the REITs in the FTSE ST REIT Index.
The above performance measure has been selected as a key measure of wealth creation for Unitholders. The final number of Units to be released will depend on the achievement of pre-determined targets over the threeyear qualifying performance period. No Units will be released if the threshold targets are not met at the end of the qualifying performance period. On the other hand, if superior targets are met, more Units than the baseline award can be released up to a maximum of 200% of the baseline award. Recipients will receive fully paid Units at no cost.
In respect of the Unit awards granted in FY 2016 and FY 2017, the respective qualifying periods have not ended as at the date of this Report.
CapitaLand Retail China Trust Management Limited Restricted Unit Plan
In FY 2017, the Board granted awards which are conditional on targets set for a qualifying period, currently prescribed to be a one-year performance period. A specific number of Units will only be released to the recipients at the end of the qualifying performance period, provided that minimally the threshold targets are achieved. An initial number of Units (baseline award) is allocated according to the following performance conditions:
- Net property income of CRCT Group
- Distribution per Unit of CRCT Group
The above performance measures have been selected as they are the key drivers of business performance and are aligned to unitholder value. The final number of Units to be released will depend on the achievement of pre-determined targets at the end of the one-year qualifying performance period and the release will be over a vesting period of three years. No Units will be released if the threshold targets are not met at the end of the qualifying performance period. On the other hand, if superior targets are met, more Units than the baseline award can be delivered up to a maximum of 150% of the baseline award. Recipients can receive fully paid Units, their equivalent cash value or combinations thereof, at no cost.
In respect of the award granted in FY 2017, based on the Board’s assessment that the performance achieved by the CRCT Group has met the pre-determined performance targets for the qualifying performance period of FY 2017, the resulting number of units released has been adjusted accordingly to reflect the performance level.
To further promote alignment of Management’s interests with that of Unitholders, the Board has approved unit ownership guidelines for senior management to instill stronger identification by senior executives with the longer term performance and growth of CRCT Group. Under these guidelines, senior management participants are required to retain a prescribed proportion of CRCT’s units received under the Unit Plans.
The benefits provided are comparable with local market practices.
The remuneration for the CEO in bands of S$250,000, and a breakdown of the remuneration of the CEO and all of the key management personnel of the Manager in percentage terms, are provided in the Key Management Personnel’s Remuneration Table on page 46 of this Annual Report.
At present, there are only three key management personnel of the Manager (including the CEO). The Manager outsources various other services to a wholly owned subsidiary of CL (CL Subsidiary). CL Subsidiary provides the services through its employees (Outsourced Personnel). This arrangement is put in place so as to provide flexibility and maximise efficiency in resource management to match the needs of CRCT from time to time, as well as to leverage on economies of scale and tap on the management talent of an established corporate group which can offer enhanced depth and breadth of experience. However, notwithstanding the outsourcing arrangement, the responsibility for due diligence, oversight and accountability continues to reside with the Board and Management. In this regard, the remuneration of such Outsourced Personnel, being employees of CL Subsidiary, is not included as part of the disclosure of remuneration of key management personnel of the Manager in this Report.
The Manager has decided (a) to disclose the CEO’s remuneration in bands of S$250,000 (instead of on a quantum basis), and (b) not to disclose the remuneration of the other key management personnel of the Manager (whether in bands of S$250,000 or otherwise). In arriving at its decision, it took into account the commercial sensitivity and confidential nature of remuneration matters. The Manager is of the view that disclosure in such manner is not prejudicial to the interests of Unitholders as the indicative range for the CEO’s remuneration, as well as the total remuneration for the CEO and other key management personnel of the Manager, is made known to Unitholders, and sufficient information is provided on the Manager’s remuneration framework to enable Unitholders to understand the link between CRCT’s performance and the remuneration of the CEO and other key management personnel. In addition, the remuneration of the CEO and other key management personnel of the Manager is paid out of the fees (the quantum and basis of which have been disclosed) that the Manager receives, rather than borne by CRCT.
The Board seeks to ensure that the remuneration paid to the CEO and key management personnel of the Manager are strongly linked to the achievement of business and individual performance targets. The performance targets approved by the Board are set at realistic yet stretched levels each year to motivate a high degree of business performance with emphasis on both short- and longer-term quantifiable objectives.
In FY 2017, there were no termination, retirement or post-employment benefits granted to Directors, the CEO and key management personnel of the Manager. There was also no special retirement plan, ‘golden parachute’ or special severance package for any of the key management personnel of the Manager.
There were no employees of the Manager who were immediate family members of a Director or the CEO in FY 2017. “Immediate family member” refers to the spouse, child, adopted child, step-child, sibling or parent of the individual.
Non-executive Director Remuneration
The Directors’ fees for FY 2017 are shown in the table below. The CEO as an executive director does not receive any fees for serving as a Director. Instead, he is remunerated as part of the key management personnel of the Manager. Directors’ fees are a fixed sum and generally comprise a basic retainer fee as a Director, an additional fee for serving on any of the Board Committees and an attendance fee for participation in meetings of the Board and any of the Board Committees, project meetings and verification meetings. The framework for Directors’ fees remains unchanged from that for the previous financial year.
The compensation package is market benchmarked, taking into account the responsibilities on the part of the Directors in light of the scope and nature of CRCT Group’s business.
Non-executive Directors (save for Directors who are employees of CL) receive Directors’ fees which are payable by way of cash and Units. The Manager believes that the payment of a portion of the Directors’ fees in Units will serve to align the interests of such Directors with that of Unitholders and CRCT’s long-term growth and value. In order to encourage the alignment of the interests of the non-executive Directors with the interests of Unitholders, a nonexecutive Director is required to hold Units worth at least one year of his or her basic retainer fee or the total number of Units awarded under the above policy, whichever is lower, at all times during his or her Board tenure.
(C) ACCOUNTABILITY AND AUDIT
Principle 10: The Board should present a balanced and understandable assessment of the company’s performance, position and prospects.
The Manager provides Unitholders with quarterly and annual financial statements within the relevant periods prescribed by the Listing Manual after they are reviewed by the AC and approved by the Board. These financial statements are accompanied by news releases issued to the media and which are also posted on the SGXNet. In presenting the quarterly and annual financial statements to Unitholders, the Board aims to provide Unitholders with a balanced, clear and understandable assessment of CRCT’s performance, position and prospects. In order to achieve this, Management provides the Board with management accounts on a monthly basis and such explanation and information as any Director may require, to enable the Directors to keep abreast, and make a balanced and informed assessment, of CRCT’s financial performance, position and prospects.
In addition, the Manager also keeps the Unitholders, stakeholders and analysts informed of the performance and changes in CRCT or its business which would be likely to materially affect the price or value of the Units on a timely and consistent basis, so as to assist Unitholders and investors in their investment decisions.
The Manager believes in conducting itself in ways that seek to deliver maximum sustainable value to Unitholders. Best practices are promoted as a means to build an excellent business for Unitholders and the Manager is accountable to Unitholders for CRCT’s performance. Prompt fulfilment of statutory and regulatory reporting requirements is but one way to maintain Unitholders’ confidence and trust in the capability and integrity of the Manager.
Risk Management and Internal Controls
Principle 11: The Board is responsible for the governance of risk. The Board should ensure that Management maintains a sound system of risk management and internal controls to safeguard shareholders’ interests and the company’s assets, and should determine the nature and extent of the significant risks which the Board is willing to take in achieving its strategic objectives.
The Manager has in place an adequate and effective system of risk management and internal controls addressing material financial, operational, compliance and information technology (IT) risks to safeguard Unitholders’ interests and CRCT’s assets.
The Board has overall responsibility for the governance of risk and oversees the Manager in the design, implementation and monitoring of the risk management and internal controls systems. The AC assists the Board in carrying out the Board’s responsibility of overseeing the risk management framework and policies for CRCT Group.
Under its terms of reference, the AC’s scope of duties and responsibilities is as follows:
- makes recommendations to the Board on Risk Appetite Statement (RAS) for CRCT Group;
- assesses the adequacy and effectiveness of the risk management and internal controls systems established by the Manager to manage risks;
- oversees Management in the formulation, updating and maintenance of an adequate and effective risk management framework, policies and strategies for managing risks that are consistent with CRCT Group’s risk appetite and reports to the Board on its decisions on any material matters concerning the aforementioned;
- makes the necessary recommendations to the Board such that an opinion relating to the adequacy and effectiveness of the risk management and internal controls systems can be made by the Board in the annual report of CRCT in accordance with the Listing Manual and the Code; and
- considers and advises on risk matters referred to it by Management or the Board including reviewing and reporting to the Board on any material breaches of the RAS, any material non-compliance with the approved framework and policies and the adequacy of any proposed action.
The Manager adopts an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Framework which sets out the required environmental and organisational components for managing risk in an integrated, systematic and consistent manner. The ERM Framework and related policies are reviewed annually.
The Manager consistently seeks to improve and strengthen its ERM Framework. As part of the ERM Framework, the Manager, among other things, undertakes and performs a Risk and Control Self-Assessment (RCSA) annually. As a result of the RCSA, the Manager produces and maintains a risk register which identifies the material risks the CRCT Group faces and the corresponding internal controls it has in place to mitigate those risks. The material risks are reviewed annually by the AC and the Board. The AC also reviews the approach of identifying and assessing risks and internal controls in the risk register. The system of risk management and internal controls is reviewed and, where appropriate, refined regularly by the Manager, the AC and the Board. Where relevant, reference is made to the best practices and guidance in the Risk Governance Guidance for Listed Boards issued by the Corporate Governance Council.
The Manager has established an approach on how risk appetite is defined, monitored and reviewed for CRCT Group. Approved by the Board, CRCT Group’s RAS addresses the management of material risks faced by CRCT Group. Alignment of CRCT Group’s risk profile to the RAS is achieved through various communication and monitoring mechanisms put in place across the various functions within the Manager.
More information on the Manager’s ERM Framework can be found in the Enterprise Risk Management section on pages 47 to 49 of this Annual Report.
The internal and external auditors conduct reviews that involve testing the effectiveness of the material internal controls addressing financial, operational, compliance and IT risks. This includes testing, where practicable, material internal controls in areas managed by external service providers. Any material non-compliance or lapses in internal controls together with corrective measures recommended by the internal and external auditors are reported to and reviewed by the AC. The adequacy and effectiveness of the measures taken by the Manager in response to the recommendations made by the internal and external auditors are also reviewed by the AC.
The Board has received assurance from the CEO and the Head, Finance of the Manager that:
- the financial records of CRCT Group have been properly maintained and the financial statements for FY 2017 give a true and fair view of CRCT Group’s operations and finances; and
- the system of risk management and internal controls in place for CRCT Group is adequate and effective to address the financial, operational, compliance and IT risks which the Manager considers relevant and material to the current business environment.
The CEO and the Head, Finance of the Manager have obtained similar assurance from the respective risk and control owners.
In addition, in FY 2017, the Board has received quarterly certification by Management on the integrity of financial reporting and the Board has provided a negative assurance confirmation to Unitholders as required by the Listing Manual.
Based on the ERM Framework established and the reviews conducted by Management and both the internal and external auditors, as well as the assurance from the CEO and the Head, Finance of the Manager, the Board concurs with the recommendation of the AC and is of the opinion, that CRCT Group’s system of risk management and internal controls is adequate and effective to address the financial, operational, compliance and IT risks which the Manager considers relevant and material to the current business environment as at 31 December 2017.
The Board notes that the system of risk management and internal controls established by the Manager provides reasonable assurance that CRCT Group, as it strives to achieve its business objectives, will not be significantly affected by any event that can be reasonably foreseen or anticipated. However, the Board also notes that no system of risk management and internal controls can provide absolute assurance in this regard, or absolute assurance against poor judgement in decision making, human error, losses, fraud or other irregularities.
Principle 12: The Board should establish an Audit Committee with written terms of reference which clearly set out its authority and duties.
At present, the AC comprises four non-executive Directors, the majority of whom (including the Chairman of the AC) are IDs. The members bring with them invaluable recent and relevant managerial and professional expertise in accounting and related financial management domains. None of the AC members was previously a partner of the incumbent external auditors, KPMG LLP (KPMG), within the previous 12 months, nor does any of the AC members hold any financial interest in KPMG.
The AC has explicit authority to investigate any matter within its terms of reference. Management is required to provide the fullest co-operation in providing information and resources, and in implementing or carrying out all requests made by the AC. The AC has direct access to the internal and external auditors and full discretion to invite any Director or executive officer to attend its meetings. Similarly, both the internal and external auditors are given unrestricted access to the AC.
Under its terms of reference, the AC’s scope of duties and responsibilities is as follows:
- reviews the significant financial reporting issues and judgements so as to ensure the integrity of the financial statements of CRCT Group, and any announcements relating to CRCT Group’s financial performance;
- reviews and reports to the Board at least annually the adequacy and effectiveness of the Manager’s internal controls, including financial, operational, compliance and IT controls, and risk management systems;
- reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of the Manager’s internal audit and compliance functions;
- reviews the scope and results of the external audit and independence and objectivity of the external auditors;
- makes recommendations to the Board on the proposals to Unitholders on the appointment, reappointment and removal of the external auditors, and approving the remuneration of the external auditors;
- reviews and approves processes to regulate transactions involving an Interested Person (as defined in Chapter 9 of the Listing Manual) and/or Interested Party (as defined in the Property Funds Appendix) (each, an Interested Person) and CRCT and/or its subsidiaries (Interested Person Transactions), to ensure compliance with the applicable regulations. The regulations include the requirement that Interested Person Transactions are on normal commercial terms and are not prejudicial to the interests of CRCT and its minority Unitholders. In respect of any property management agreement which is an Interested Person Transaction, the AC also carries out reviews at appropriate intervals to satisfy itself that the Manager has reviewed the Property Managers’ compliance with the terms of the property management agreement and has taken remedial actions where necessary; and
- reviews the whistle-blowing policy and arrangements by which employees of the Manager and any other persons may, in confidence, report suspected fraud or irregularity or suspected infringement of any laws or regulations or rules, or raise concerns about possible improprieties in matters of financial reporting or other matters with a view to ensuring that arrangements are in place for such concerns to be raised and independently investigated, and for appropriate follow-up action to be taken.
The AC has reviewed the nature and extent of non-audit services provided by the external auditors in FY 2017 and the fees paid for such services. The AC is satisfied that the independence of the external auditors has not been impaired by the provision of those services. The external auditors have also provided confirmation of their independence to the AC. The aggregate amount of fees paid and payable to the external auditors for FY 2017 was S$463,000, of which audit and audit-related fees amounted to S$453,000 and non-audit fees amounted to S$10,000.
In FY 2017, the AC also met with the internal and external auditors, without Management’s presence, to discuss the reasonableness of the financial reporting process, the system of internal controls, and the significant comments and recommendations by the auditors. Where relevant, the AC makes reference to best practices and guidance for Audit Committees in Singapore including practice directions issued from time to time in relation to the Financial Reporting Surveillance Programme administered by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore.
In its review of the financial statements of CRCT Group for FY 2017, the AC had discussed with Management the accounting principles that were applied and their judgement of items that might affect the integrity of the financial statements and also considered the clarity of key disclosures in the financial statements. The AC reviewed, among other matters, the following key audit matters as reported by the external auditors for the financial year ended 31 December 2017.
Changes to the accounting standards and accounting issues which have a direct impact on the financial statements were reported to and discussed with the AC at its meetings.
The Manager confirms, on behalf of CRCT, that CRCT complies with Rule 712 and 715 of the Listing Manual.
Principle 13: The company should establish an effective internal audit function that is adequately resourced and independent of the activities it audits.
The Manager has in place an internal audit function supported by CL’s Internal Audit Department (CL IA) which reports directly to the AC and administratively to the CEO. The AC is of the view that the internal audit function performed by CL IA is adequately resourced and has appropriate standing within CRCT Group. CL IA plans its internal audit schedules in consultation with, but independently of, Management and its plan is submitted to the AC for approval prior to the beginning of each year. The AC also meets with CL IA at least once a year without the presence of Management. CL IA has unfettered access to the Manager’s documents, records, properties and employees, including access to the AC.
CL IA is a corporate member of the Singapore branch of the Institute of Internal Auditors Inc. (IIA), which has its headquarters in the United States of America (USA). CL IA subscribes to, and is guided by, the International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards) developed by the IIA, and has incorporated these Standards into its audit practices. With respect to FY 2017, the AC has reviewed and is satisfied as to the adequacy and effectiveness of the IA function.
To ensure that internal audits are performed by competent professionals, CL IA recruits and employs suitably qualified professional staff with the requisite skill sets and experience. For instance, CL IA staff who are involved in IT audits are Certified Information System Auditors and members of the Information System Audit and Control Association (ISACA) in the USA. The ISACA Information System Auditing Standards provide guidance on the standards and procedures to be applied in IT audits.
CL IA identifies and provides training and development opportunities for its staff to ensure that their technical knowledge and skill sets remain current and relevant.
(D) SHAREHOLDER RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES Shareholder Rights
Principle 14: Companies should treat all shareholders fairly and equitably, and should recognise, protect and facilitate the exercise of shareholders’ rights, and continually review and update such governance arrangements.
The Manager is committed to treating all Unitholders fairly and equitably. All Unitholders enjoy specific rights under the Trust Deed and the relevant laws and regulations. These rights include, among other things, the right to participate in profit distributions. They are also entitled to attend general meetings and are accorded the opportunity to participate effectively and vote at general meetings (including through appointment of up to two proxies, if they are unable to attend in person or in the case of a corporate Unitholder, through its appointed representative). Unitholders such as nominee companies which provide custodial services for securities are not constrained by the two proxy limitation, and are able to appoint more than two proxies to attend, speak and vote at general meetings of CRCT.
More information on Unitholder participation in general meetings can be found in the section on Principle 16: Conduct of Shareholder Meetings of this Report.
Communication with Shareholders
Principle 15: Companies should actively engage their shareholders and put in place an investor relations policy to promote regular, effective and fair communication with shareholders.
The Manager is committed to keeping all Unitholders and other stakeholders and analysts informed of the performance and changes in CRCT or its business which would be likely to materially affect the price or value of the Units, on a timely and consistent basis, so as to assist Unitholders and investors in their investment decisions.
The Manager has in place an Investor Relations and Group Communications team which facilitates effective communication with Unitholders, analysts, fund managers and the media.
The Manager actively engages with Unitholders and has put in place a Unitholders’ Communication and Investor Relations Policy (Policy) to promote regular, effective and fair communications with Unitholders. The Policy is available on CRCT’s website at www.crct.com.sg.
The Board has established the CDC which assists the Board in the discharge of its function to meet the obligations arising under the laws and regulations of Singapore relating to and to conform to best practices in the corporate disclosure and compliance process. The views and approvals of the CDC were sought throughout the year through emails on various announcements and news releases.
More information on the Manager’s investor and media relations with Unitholders can be found in the Investor & Media Relations section on pages 50 to 51 of this Annual Report and the Policy, which is available on CRCT’s website.
CRCT’s distribution policy is to distribute at least 90.0% of its taxable income (other than gains from the sale of real estate properties by CRCT which are determined to be trading gains), with the actual level of distribution to be determined at the Manager’s discretion. Distributions are generally paid within 35 market days after the relevant book closure date.
Conduct of Shareholder Meetings
Principle 16: Companies should encourage greater shareholder participation at general meetings of shareholders, and allow shareholders the opportunity to communicate their views on various matters affecting the company.
The Manager supports the principle of encouraging Unitholders’ participation and voting at general meetings. Unitholders receive a CD-ROM containing the CRCT annual report (printed copies are available upon request) and notice of the general meeting. Notices of the general meetings are also advertised in the press and issued on SGXNet. The requisite notice period for a general meeting is adhered to. All Unitholders are given the opportunity to participate effectively in and vote at general meetings.
At general meetings, Unitholders are encouraged to communicate their views and discuss with the Board and Management matters affecting CRCT. Representatives of the Trustee, Directors (including the chairpersons of the Board and the AC), the Manager’s senior management and the external auditors of CRCT, would usually be present at general meetings to address any queries from Unitholders. All the Directors attended the last general meeting. A record of the Directors’ attendance at the general meeting can be found in the records of their attendance at meetings set out at page 46 of this Annual Report.
To safeguard Unitholders’ interests and rights, a separate resolution is proposed for each substantially separate issue at general meetings. To ensure transparency in the voting process and better reflect Unitholders’ interests, the Manager conducts electronic poll voting for all the resolutions proposed at the general meetings. Voting procedures are explained and vote tabulations are disclosed at the general meetings. An independent scrutineer is also appointed to validate the vote tabulation procedures. Votes cast, for or against and the respective percentages, on each resolution are tallied and displayed ‘live’ on-screen to Unitholders immediately at the general meetings. The total number of votes cast for or against the resolutions and the respective percentages are also announced on SGXNet after the general meetings. Voting in absentia and by email, which are currently not permitted may only be possible following careful study to ensure that the integrity of information and authentication of the identity of Unitholders through the web are not compromised, and legislative changes are effected to recognise remote voting.
Minutes of the general meetings, recording the substantial and relevant comments made and questions raised by Unitholders are prepared and are available to Unitholders for their inspection upon request. Minutes of the annual general meetings are also available on CRCT’s website at www.crct.com.sg.
Unitholders also have the opportunity to communicate their views and discuss with the Board and Management matters affecting CRCT after the general meetings.
(E) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Apart from the AC and CDC, the Board has also established an EC.
The EC oversees the day-to-day activities of the Manager and that of CRCT, on behalf of the Board. The EC is guided by its terms of reference. In particular, the EC:
- approves specific budgets for capital expenditure on development projects, acquisitions and enhancements/ upgrading of properties within its approved financial limits;
- reviews management reports and operating budgets; and
- awards contracts for development projects.
The members of the EC also meet informally during the course of the year.
Dealings with Interested Persons
Review Procedures for Interested Person Transactions
The Manager has established internal control procedures to ensure that all Interested Person Transactions are undertaken on an arm’s length basis and on normal commercial terms, which are generally no more favourable than those extended to unrelated third parties, and are not prejudicial to the interests of CRCT and Unitholders. In respect of such transactions, the Manager would have to demonstrate to the AC that such transactions are undertaken on normal commercial terms and are not prejudicial to the interests of CRCT and Unitholders which may include obtaining (where practicable) third party quotations or obtaining valuations from independent valuers (in accordance with applicable provisions of the Listing Manual and the Property Funds Appendix). The internal control procedures also ensure compliance with Chapter 9 of the Listing Manual and the Property Funds Appendix.
In particular, the procedures in place include the following:
1 This table does not include the procedures applicable to Interested Person Transactions falling under the exceptions set out in Rules 915 and 916 of the Listing Manual.
2 Any transaction of less than S$100,000 in value is disregarded.
3 In relation to approval by Unitholders for transactions that are equal to or exceed 5.0% of CRCT’s latest audited net tangible assets/net asset value (whether singly or aggregated), any transaction which has been approved by Unitholders, or is the subject of aggregation with another transaction that has been approved by Unitholders, need not be included in any subsequent aggregation.
Role of the Audit Committee for Interested Person Transactions
The Manager’s internal control procedures are intended to ensure that Interested Person Transactions are conducted at arm’s length and on normal commercial terms, and are not prejudicial to CRCT and Unitholders’ interests
The Manager maintains a register to record all Interested Person Transactions which are entered into by CRCT (and the basis on which they are entered into, including the quotations obtained to support such basis). All Interested Person Transactions are subject to regular periodic reviews by the AC, which in turn obtains advice from CL IA, to ascertain that the guidelines and procedures established to monitor Interested Person Transactions, including the relevant provisions of the Listing Manual and the Property Funds Appendix, as well as any other guidelines which may from time to time be prescribed by the SGX-ST, MAS or other relevant authorities, have been complied with. The review includes an examination of the nature of the transaction and its supporting documents or such other information deemed necessary by the AC. If a member of the AC has an interest in a transaction, he is to abstain from participating in the review and approval process in relation to that transaction. In addition, the Trustee also reviews such audit reports to ascertain that the Listing Manual and the Property Funds Appendix have been complied with.
Details of all Interested Person Transactions (equal to or exceeding S$100,000 each in value) entered into by CRCT in FY 2017 are disclosed on page 161 of this Annual Report.
Dealing with Conflicts of Interest
The following principles and procedures have been established to deal with potential conflicts of interest which the Manager (including its Directors, executive officers and employees) may encounter in managing CRCT:
- the Manager is a dedicated manager for CRCT and will not manage any other REIT or be involved in any other real property business;
- all resolutions at meetings of the Board in relation to matters concerning CRCT must be decided by a majority vote of the Directors, including at least one ID;
- in respect of matters in which CL and/or its subsidiaries have an interest, whether direct or indirect, any nominees appointed by CL and/or its subsidiaries to the Board will abstain from voting. In such matters, the quorum must comprise a majority of IDs and shall exclude such nominee Directors of CL and/or its subsidiaries;
- in respect of matters in which a Director or his or her associates have an interest, whether direct or indirect, such interested Director will abstain from voting. In such matters, the quorum must comprise a majority of the Directors and shall exclude such interested Director(s);
- if the Manager is required to decide whether or not to take any action against any person in relation to any breach of any agreement entered into by the Trustee for and on behalf of CRCT with an affiliate of the Manager, the Manager is obliged to consult with a reputable law firm (acceptable to the Trustee) which shall provide legal advice on the matter. If the said law firm is of the opinion that the Trustee, on behalf of CRCT, has a prima facie case against the party allegedly in breach under such agreement, the Manager is obliged to pursue the appropriate remedies under such agreement; and
- at least one-third of the Board shall comprise IDs.
In respect of voting rights where the Manager would face a conflict between its own interests and that of Unitholders, the Manager shall cause such voting rights to be exercised according to the discretion of the Trustee.
Dealings in Securities
The Manager has devised and adopted a securities dealing policy for the Manager’s officers and employees which applies the best practice recommendations in the Listing Manual. To this end, the Manager has issued guidelines to its Directors and employees as well as certain relevant executives of the CL group, which set out prohibitions against dealings in CRCT Group’s securities (i) while in possession of material unpublished price sensitive information, (ii) during the two weeks immediately preceding, and up to the time of the announcement of, CRCT’s financial statements for each of the first three quarters of CRCT’s financial year, and (iii) during the one month immediately preceding, and up to the time of the announcement of, CRCT’s financial statements for the full financial year. Prior to the commencement of each relevant period, an email would be sent out to all Directors and employees of the Manager as well as certain relevant executives of the CL group to inform them of the duration of the period. The Manager will also not deal in CRCT Group’s securities during the same period. In addition, employees and Capital Markets Services Licence Appointed Representatives of the Manager are required to give pre-trading notification to the CEO and Compliance department before any dealing in CRCT Group’s securities.
Directors and employees of the Manager as well as certain relevant executives of the CL group are also prohibited from dealing in securities of CRCT Group if they are in possession of unpublished price-sensitive information of CRCT Group by virtue of their status as Directors and/or employees. As and when appropriate, they would be issued an advisory to refrain from dealing in CRCT Group’s securities.
Under the policy, Directors and employees of the Manager as well as certain relevant executives of the CL group are also discouraged from trading on short-term or speculative considerations. They are also prohibited from using any information with respect to other companies or entities obtained in the course of their employment in connection with securities transactions of such companies or entities.
(E)Code of Business Conduct
The Manager adheres to an ethics and code of business conduct policy which deals with issues such as confidentiality, conduct and work discipline, corporate gifts and concessionary offers. Clear policies and guidelines on how to handle workplace harassment and grievances are also in place.
The policies and guidelines are published on CL’s Intranet, which is accessible by all employees of the Manager.
The policies that the Manager has implemented aim to help to detect and prevent occupational fraud in mainly three ways.
First, the Manager offers fair compensation packages, based on practices of pay-for-performance and promotion based on merit to its employees. The Manager also provides various healthcare subsidies and financial assistance schemes to alleviate the common financial pressures its employees face.
Second, clearly documented policies and work procedures incorporate internal controls which ensure that adequate checks and balances are in place. Periodic audits are also conducted to evaluate the efficacy of these internal controls.
Finally, the Manager seeks to build and maintain the right organisational culture through its core values, educating its employees on good business conduct and ethical values.
Bribery and Corruption Prevention Policy
The Manager adopts a strong stance against bribery and corruption. In addition to clear guidelines and procedures for the giving and receipt of corporate gifts and concessionary offers, all employees of the Manager are required to make a declaration on an annual basis where they pledge to uphold the Manager’s core values and not to engage in any corrupt or unethical practices. This serves as a reminder to all employees to maintain the highest standards of integrity in their work and business dealings.
The Manager’s zero tolerance policy towards bribery and corruption extends to its business dealings with third parties. Pursuant to this policy, the Manager requires that certain agreements incorporate anti-bribery and anticorruption provisions.
A whistle-blowing policy and other procedures are put in place to provide employees of the Manager and parties who have dealings with the Manager with well defined, accessible and trusted channels to report suspected fraud, corruption, dishonest practices or other improprieties in the workplace, and for the independent investigation of any reported incidents and appropriate follow up action. The objective of the whistle-blowing policy is to encourage the reporting of such matters so that employees or external parties making any reports in good faith will be able to do so with the confidence that they will be treated fairly and, to the extent possible, be protected from reprisal.
Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Measures
As a holder of a Capital Markets Services licence issued by MAS, the Manager abides by the MAS’ guidelines on the prevention of money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. Under these guidelines, the main obligations of the Manager are:
- evaluation of risk;
- customer due diligence;
- suspicious transaction reporting;
- record keeping;
- employee screening and representative screening; and
The Manager has developed and implemented a policy on the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing and is alert at all times to suspicious transactions. Where there is a suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing, the Manager performs due diligence checks on its counterparties in order to ensure that it does not enter into business transactions with terrorist suspects or other high risk persons or entities. Suspicious transactions are also reported to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office of the Commercial Affairs Department.
Under this policy, the Manager must retain all relevant records or documents relating to business relations with its customers or transactions entered into for a period of at least five years following the termination of such business relations or the completion of such transactions.
All prospective employees, officers and representatives of the Manager are also screened against various lists of terrorist suspects issued by MAS. Periodic training is provided by the Manager to its Directors, employees and representatives to ensure that they are updated and aware of applicable anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations, the prevailing techniques and trends in money laundering and terrorist financing and the measures adopted by the Manager to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.