Dear Fellow Supporters of the Statement Campaign,
Here are legal memos explaining the fiduciary duty of the board of directors and related topics for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. I owe a big debt of gratitude to Raymond Ang of RHT Corporate Advisory Pte Ltd in Singapore who coordinated these responses via RHTLaw TaylorWessing LLP. And I would like to thank Mikkel Larsen of DBS for the introduction to him.
RHTLaw TaylorWessing is led by Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat, who together with his team of Professor Tan Lay Hong, Ch’ng Li-Ling and Alvin Chen, prepared the legal memo for Singapore. RHTLaw Taylor Wessing is also the founding member of the ASEAN Plus Group and coordinated the responses from their ASEAN Plus partner firms in Indonesia and Malaysia. HPRP Lawyers, under the leadership of Andre Rahadian, prepared the legal memo for Indonesia, while Azmi & Associates, under the leadership of Dato' Azmi Mohd Ali and Ahmad Lutfi Abdull Mutalip, prepared the legal memo for Malaysia. Tim and I would like to thank all of them for this important contribution.
I also owe RHTLaw TaylorWessing an apology. Managing Partner Tan Chong Huat had earlier agreed that his firm will prepare a memo for Singapore. Much to my embarrassment, I realized I’d lost track of this with my primitive Google Spreadsheet skills and ended up with memos from two Singapore law firms. Of course, I can plead the complexity of this global campaign, but that is no excuse. The fact that two leading firms in Singapore were willing to support our Campaign shows the interest in and commitment to it all over the world. I am therefore circulating the memo from RHTLaw Taylor Wessing updated with the latest developments from the Singapore Exchange.
I also owe an apology to Rachel Eng, Joy Tan, Annabelle Yip, and Vivien Yui of WongPartnership who submitted the first legal memo on Singapore.
However, I see a silver lining in this since I’ve inadvertently recognized that as events transpire, it may be useful to update these memos. I’m certainly not expecting the firms who provided the existing ones to do so. Redoing the entire document isn’t necessary. I will think about a way that updates can be posted, perhaps on the ABA website.
We now have memos from 26 countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Another 10 or so countries are in process. As these opinions are completed in the coming months, with the permission of the firms preparing them, I will send them along. I am also in the exploratory phase in another roughly 10 countries. My goal is to have opinions from all of the G20 countries and 10-15 important other ones by the end of the year. In terms of the G20, I’m pleased to say that the firms preparing the ones still in process have promised to get them to me by the end of the year.
As you all now know, these legal memos are being posted on the ABA’s Sustainable Development Task Force website's "Duty of Board Directors" section. My thanks again to Lee DeHihns, the Chair of the Task Force, for making this possible. I very much appreciate the pro bono contributions that have been made so far, all of which are posted here. Tim and I will soon start working with the UN Global Compact to solicit opinions from as many countries where these memos are relevant. We want to have as complete a data base as possible.
The purpose of this campaign, as all of you know, is to urge companies to have their board of directors issue an annual “Statement of Significant Audiences and Materiality.” While this statement is values neutral (e.g., the board can decide that the only significant audience is short-term shareholders so the company can play the earnings game), you all know that my goal for this is to support integrated reporting and the creation of a sustainable society.
Robert G. Eccles | Professor of Management Practice | Harvard Business School
Movement: Meaning, Momentum, Motives, and Materiality