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Plea to Taiwan regulators on corp gov

Monday 28 February 2011 - by Will Henley

Taiwanese regulators should initiate wide-ranging reforms to the country's corporate governance regime, an influential Asian industry body has said.

A white paper published by the Asian Corporate Governance Association argues that "urgent" changes to shareholder voting, rights and board effectiveness are required.

"We encourage financial regulators to undertake, as a matter of urgency, a systematic review of the entire shareholder voting system in Taiwan," the paper, published late last week, states.

The Hong Kong-based association claims that foreign investors often find it difficult to exercise their right to vote "in an informed manner" at shareholder meetings in Taiwan.

As a result, regulators should pass a rule requiring meeting agendas remain fixed, eliminate extemporary resolutions and allow foreign institutional investors to give proxies to other investors, it says.

The paper calls on authorities to facilitate electronic voting and permit split voting so that a registered shareholder and a custody institution may divide up its votes.

It also demands regulators to require companies to hold their annual general meetings earlier than June to avoid clustering.

Contributed to by ACGA members, the paper is the third in a series of policy reviews by the association, following on from previous studies on Japan and India.

"We believe that if Taiwan brings its corporate governance regime more closely into line with global best practices, this would help to attract more investment and make its capital markets more internationally competitive," it continues.

"Our underlying philosophy is that common standards across markets help to lower transaction costs, enhance investor confidence and communication, and boost trade and investment."

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