Taiwan's bilingual IR Platform kicks off to better serve global investors

Under the country's latest corporate governance guideline, bilingual financial report and shareholders meeting agenda will be mandated

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- To improve corporate governance and investor relations, Taiwan's financial authorities are demanding that listed companies publish English-language financial reports, annual reports, and shareholders meeting agendas, while a bilingual investor relations platform was recently kicked off to complement the efforts.

The new investor relations platform (IR Platform) was built by the Taiwan Depository and Clearing Corporation (TDCC). A launching ceremony was held on Friday, March 15, followed by an international forum which features an emerging but critical practice used by investors to evaluate corporate behavior and to determine the future financial performance of companies - ESG.

The ESG Conference, hosted by the TDCC, reviewed the demands, challenges and opportunities of ESG implementation. ESG stands for a set of environmental, social and governance criteria as a special evaluation model.

TDCC Chairman Sherman Lin said at the ceremony that the company continues to expand its electronic voting ecosystem since its debut in 2009 through an array of innovations including the launch of stock vote for shareholders meeting, e-passbook and its mobile app, Straight Through Processing (STP) for cross-border voting, and several upgrades to the e-passbook app with the addition of features such as notification and cloud backup, with an aim to facilitate the communications between the listed companies and foreign/Taiwanese or institutional/retail investors, enhance market transparency, as well as Taiwan's competitiveness in the world's capital market.

The newly-launched well-rounded bilingual IR platform developed by the company, Lin added, will provide updated corporate governance policies, contact persons and details of all listed companies, ESG reports among others.

Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said the country's latest corporate governance guideline - the Corporate Governance Blueprint 2018~2020 - requires the Taiwan Stock Exchange and Taipei Exchange listed companies have to offer English-language financial reports, annual reports, and shareholder meeting agendas to allow international investors to better understand their investments, as well as the risks.

As to the ESG reporting trends, Koo said a total of 448 Taiwanese listed companies filed their annual ESG reports by the end of 2018.

Stephan James, head of International Business at ISS Corporate Solution, said at the conference that more mindful investors are seeking comprehensive information rather than merely financial information to better understand as well as mitigate the risk of their investments; companies with more comprehensive and systemic ESG data disclosure have a clear advantage in managing risks for a higher valuation.

"Taiwan's companies score well on climate change and GHG emission related disclosures in terms of quantity, while they perform less well compared to their global counterparts in terms of quality," James says.