Training is crucial to building confidence
Investors know that markets spring surprises and consistent returns are never guaranteed. What they cannot accept, though, are inadequate controls in the running of a business, or a management team careless of its legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
"We therefore recommend that companies should maintain very specific annual training for the board of directors and have a regular review of their practices," says Roy Lo Wa-kei, FCPA (Aust), a partner with Shinewing (HK) CPA. "As long as the management team is well equipped by regular training and performance reviews, corporate governance or the integrity and ability of the board shouldn't become a concern of investors. Making wrong decisions is another issue."
Having the right procedures is especially important when doing new deals or incorporating acquisitions into a business. But the same basic principle should always apply, no matter the size of the company, its scope of operations, and whether it is listed or not.
This belief is proven to be right as Shinewing is recognised by Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing to take up internal control advisory duty for various listed companies last year.
The Beijing-headquartered firm has seen a period of change and rapid expansion, with the Hong Kong office now one of the largest among 12 across the mainland. Total headcount has almost doubled to about 2,500 in the past 12 months. It means, though, that the firm is stronger and is now in a position to handle listings in Hong Kong.
"We have developed professional teams to do IPO [initial public offering] exercises and will support them with special training and exposure to make sure they are familiar with every part of the process," Lo says. "This includes comprehensive training in technical areas, soft skills and corporate culture because we want to continue our expansion to 25 cities in China - and in Asia - over the next three years."
He notes that Hong Kong will still play a special role as a bridge linking the mainland with financial markets around the world.