YBhg Dato’ Zarinah Anwar
Chairman, Securities Commission Malaysia
MoU Signing Ceremony
Securities Industry Development Corporation (SIDC) & ACCA
17 January 2008
Mr Allen Blewitt, Chief Executive of the ACCA worldwide
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
I am delighted to be witnessing the signing of this historic MOU between the ACCA and SIDC.
Why this MOU matters
The SC places the greatest importance on good corporate governance and ethical business practices. Over the past twenty years Malaysia has made great strides in improving its corporate governance standards and practices, but that does not mean there is any room for complacency.
Jurisdictions compete for foreign investment and today’s investors have more choices than ever where to put their precious funds. The standards expected of jurisdictions and companies are ever more demanding as a result; corporate governance and professional business practices are not a destination; they are a never-ending journey. We recognize therefore that we must continue to strengthen the regulatory framework and corporate governance standards, as well as insist on continuing improvement in the performance of directors in public listed companies. What was good enough for yesterday is unlikely to be good enough for today, and certainly will not be good enough for tomorrow.
At the regulatory level, we have updated the Code of Corporate Governance; we have strengthened our enforcement efforts; and we will continue to take the necessary measures to ensure the adherence to the spirit and practice of good governance by all public listed company directors.
But if we are to satisfy the ever-increasing demands of sophisticated investors who are free to choose where they place their money, what is needed to complement a better regulatory regime is a corresponding improvement in the behaviour and professionalism of public listed company directors. However, for the behaviour of directors to change, we need to provide them with the necessary tools through targeted training and conferences designed specifically to take their understanding and practices to the next level of good governance and ethical business practices. As a result we will continue to emphasise the importance of continuous self-development and learning if directors are to meet the spirit and substance of the revised code and the more demanding standards of tomorrow.
This MOU focuses on creating and implementing tools to do just that in three ways. First, the Diploma in Financial Management is about enhancing the skills of directors in the areas of strategy-setting, financial analysis and risk management. Second, the MOU is about providing suitable forums for directors to deal with the key issues of the day, in particular in the areas of governance and professional ethics. Third, the two organizations will be co-developing a new training programme, based on the ACCA’s current Professional Ethics programme.
The need for the programmes covered by the MOU is self evident. I am therefore satisfied that the direction and content of the MOU is fully aligned with the objectives of the SC as the regulator and will help reposition the Malaysian capital market and Malaysia as a preferred investment destination.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am also confident that the this partnership between the SIDC and the ACCA in this important venture will bear success. Both organisations are brand leaders in their own right. The ACCA is 100 years old and is the largest and fastest-growing global professional accountancy body with 296,000 students and 115,000 members in 170 countries. With more than 50 global accountancy partnerships worldwide, the ACCA understands how to work collaboratively. Here in Malaysia this can work to the benefit of not just the accounting profession, but by ensuring that its members are the standard bearers of ethical behaviour and good governance in their organisations, it will benefit the Malaysian capital market as a whole.
The SIDC, while focused on developing and training Malaysian capital market participants to meet world class standards, through globally recognized learning programs and accredited examinations, is also an acknowledged training provider for the capital market in the emerging markets. Through flagship programmes such as the Emerging Markets Program (which last year attracted participants from 29 countries) and the Islamic Markets Programme it has achieved recognition as a leading training provider for capital market regulators in the emerging jurisdictions.
I believe the alignment between both organisations’ mission and values is precisely what is needed for this MOU to succeed, as I am certain it will.
As in all truly successful partnerships there will be “give” and “take” by both parties. ACCA will provide new materials for SIDC’s target customers so that they can benefit from ACCA’s global expertise, while SIDC will provide materials designed specifically for the Malaysian capital market for ACCA members so that they can help raise standards in the companies in which they work.
I welcome this MOU as an important element in helping raise the standards of governance, ethics and professionalism in Malaysia, and look forward to many years of successful collaboration between the SIDC and ACCA.