(Extracted from the Corporate Governance Report contained in the Company's 2017/18 Annual Report dated 13 September 2018)
Maintaining high standards of business ethics and corporate governance has always been one of the Group's prime tasks. It believes that conducting the Group's businesses in an open and responsible manner and following good corporate governance practices serve its long-term interests and those of its shareholders.
Corporate Governance Practices
Rigorous standards of corporate governance enhance the Group's accountability and transparency, earning the confidence of its shareholders and the public. The Company has complied with the code provisions of the Corporate Governance Code (the "Code") as set out in Appendix 14 to the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Listing Rules") throughout the year ended 30 June 2018, except that there is no separation of the roles of chairman and chief executive.
The Board of Directors of the Company (the "Board") continues to monitor and review the Company's corporate governance practices to ensure compliance.
Board of Directors
The Board currently has 19 Directors comprising eight Executive Directors, three Non-Executive Directors and eight Independent Non-Executive Directors. During the year ended 30 June 2018, Mr. Fan Hung-ling, Henry was appointed as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Company with effect from 1 March 2018.
An updated list of Directors identifying their roles and functions (the "Directors List") is maintained on the websites of the Company and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited ("HKEx"). Independent Non-Executive Directors are identified as such in the Directors List and all other corporate communications containing the names of the Directors.
Mr. Kwok Ping-luen, Raymond is a nephew of Mr. Kwong Chun and an uncle of Mr. Kwok Kai-fai, Adam. He is also the father of Mr. Kwok Kai-wang, Christopher and Mr. Kwok Ho-lai, Edward. Mr. Kwok Kai-wang, Christopher is a cousin of Mr. Kwok Kai-fai, Adam and the younger brother of Mr. Kwok Ho-lai, Edward. In addition, Sir Po-shing Woo is the father of Mr. Woo Ka-biu, Jackson. Save as disclosed above, there are no family or other material relationships among the members of the Board.
Prior to the implementation of the code provision in the Code on board diversity in September 2013, the Company adopted a board diversity policy (the "Diversity Policy") setting out the approach to achieve diversity of the Board members in June 2013. The Company is committed to equality of opportunity and does not discriminate on the grounds of race, gender, age, disability, nationality or any other factors. It also recognizes and embraces the benefits of diversity in Board members. The Company sees diversity as a wide concept and believes that diversity of Board members can be achieved through consideration of a number of factors, including but not limited to background, age, gender, culture, industry experience, skills and knowledge, educational background and other qualities. The Company takes into account these factors based on its own business model and specific needs from time to time as well as the availability of suitable candidates in the market. The Nomination Committee monitors the implementation of the Diversity Policy and reviews the same as appropriate.
The members of the Board come from a variety of different backgrounds and have a diverse range of business, financial services and professional experience. The Company requests the Directors to disclose annually to the Company the number and nature of offices held in public companies or organizations and other significant commitments with an indication of the time involved.
The Board believes that the balance between Executive and Non-Executive Directors (including the Independent Non-Executive Directors) is reasonable and adequate to provide sufficient checks and balances that safeguard the interests of shareholders and the Group. Non-Executive Directors and Independent Non-Executive Directors provide the Group with diversified expertise and experience. Their views and participation in Board and committee meetings bring independent judgment and advice on issues relating to the Group's strategies, performance, conflicts of interest and management process, to ensure that the interests of shareholders are taken into account.
The Company currently has eight Independent Non-Executive Directors, representing more than one-third of the Board, and at least one of them has appropriate professional qualifications or accounting or related financial management expertise. The Company has received from all Independent Non-Executive Directors their confirmation of independence pursuant to the independence guidelines set out in Rule 3.13 of the Listing Rules (the "Independence Guidelines") and considers that they are independent.
Mr. Yip Dicky Peter and Professor Wong Yue-chim, Richard, both being Independent Non-Executive Directors, have served the Company for more than nine years, and will retire and being eligible, have offered themselves for re-election at the forthcoming annual general meeting of the Company (the "AGM"). The Nomination Committee considered that their long service will not affect their exercise of independent judgment and was satisfied that each of them has the required integrity and experience to continue fulfilling the role of an Independent Non-Executive Director. Taking into consideration the above and the confirmations on the Independence Guidelines made by Mr. Yip Dicky Peter and Professor Wong Yue-chim, Richard, the Board is of the view that both Mr. Yip Dicky Peter and Professor Wong Yue-chim, Richard remain independent notwithstanding the length of their service and should be re-elected at the forthcoming AGM. In accordance with the Code, the re-election of Mr. Yip Dicky Peter and Professor Wong Yue-chim, Richard will be subject to separate resolutions to be approved at the forthcoming AGM.
The Board meets at least four times a year, and a tentative schedule for regular Board meetings for each year is provided to the Directors prior to the beginning of each calendar year. In addition, at least 14 days' notice of all regular Board meetings together with the meeting agenda is given to all Directors such that all Directors are given the opportunity to include matters for discussion in the agenda. Meeting agenda and accompanying meeting papers are sent to all relevant Directors at least three days in advance of every regular Board meeting and committee meeting. Directors may participate in meetings in person, by phone or by other communication means. Between regularly scheduled Board meetings, Directors may approve various matters by way of passing written resolutions. Additional Board meetings may be convened, if necessary.
The Company Secretary assists the Chairman in preparing the agenda for the Board meetings and ensures that all applicable rules and regulations regarding the proceedings of the Board meetings are followed. Draft and final versions of minutes of each Board meeting are sent to all Directors for their comments and records respectively within a reasonable time. The Company also keeps detailed minutes of each Board meeting, which are available for inspection by all Directors.
All Directors have confirmed that they have given sufficient time and attention to the affairs of the Group. During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Board discussed the overall strategies of the Group, monitored the financial and operational performance, and approved the annual and interim results of the Group. It also approved the appointment of an Independent Non-Executive Director, the change in board lot size of the shares of the Company and the publication of two announcements with respect to the issuance of debt instruments by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company and a discloseable transaction regarding a successful tender of land by a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company respectively.The Board held four regular meetings during the year under review, and the attendance records of the Directors at the Board meetings are set out below:
# Attended by his Alternate Director, Mr. Woo Ka-biu, Jackson
Directors have access to relevant and timely information, and they can ask for further information or retain independent professional advisors if necessary. They also have access to the advice and services of the Company Secretary, who is responsible for providing Directors with Board papers and related materials and ensuring that Board procedures are followed. Directors are given sufficient time for discussion at the Board meetings. Management is invited to join the Board meetings, where appropriate, to provide information to the Directors to enable the Board to make informed decisions. Where queries are raised by Directors, prompt and full responses will be given if possible.
Directors are required to declare their interests (if any) in the matters to be considered at the Board meetings in accordance with the articles of association of the Company (the "Articles of Association"). Should a potential conflict of interest involving a substantial shareholder or a Director arise, the matter will be dealt with by a physical meeting rather than by written resolution. Independent Non-Executive Directors with no conflict of interest will be present at meetings dealing with such conflict issues. Pursuant to the Articles of Association, a Director who is considered to be materially interested in the matter shall abstain from voting on the resolution approving such matter.
The Company has arranged appropriate directors and officers liability insurance in respect of legal action against Directors. In addition, each Director or other officer of the Company shall be entitled to be indemnified out of the assets of the Company against all losses or liabilities which he or she may sustain or incur in or about the execution of the duties of his or her office or otherwise in relation thereto in accordance with the Articles of Association.
Mr. Kwok Ping-luen, Raymond is the Chairman and Managing Director of the Company. This is at variance with code provision A.2.1 of the Code, which provides that the roles of chairman and chief executive should be separate and should not be performed by the same individual.
Although the positions of Chairman and Managing Director are not separate, the powers and authorities have not been concentrated as all major decisions have been made in consultation with the Board and appropriate Board committees, as well as top management. In addition, there are three Non-Executive Directors and eight Independent Non-Executive Directors on the Board offering their experience, expertise, independent advice and views from different perspectives. The Board is therefore of the view that there are adequate balance of power and safeguards in place.
The Chairman is primarily responsible for leading the Board and ensuring that it functions effectively and smoothly. Directors are encouraged to participate actively in all Board and committee meetings of which they are members.
During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Chairman held a meeting with the Non-Executive Directors (including the Independent Non-Executive Directors) without the presence of the Executive Directors.
Training and Support for Directors
Directors must keep abreast of their collective responsibilities. Each newly appointed Director or Alternate Director would be provided an induction package containing an overview of the Group's businesses and the applicable statutory and regulatory obligations of a director of a listed company, and would receive briefing on the responsibilities under the declaration and undertaking with regard to directors from an external lawyer of the Company.
The Group also provides briefings and other training to develop and refresh the Directors' knowledge and skills. The Group continuously updates Directors on the latest developments regarding the Listing Rules and other applicable legal and regulatory requirements to ensure compliance and enhance their awareness of good corporate governance practices. Circulars or guidance notes are also issued to Directors and senior executives where appropriate to keep them abreast of any latest changes in applicable legal and regulatory requirements and corporate governance practices.
During the year ended 30 June 2018, a presentation on the impact of information and communication technology on globalization was organized by the Company for the Executive Directors and senior executives of the Company. The Directors also participated in the following trainings:
* Topics include corporate governance matters and directors' duties and responsibilities
Compliance with Model Code
The Company follows the Model Code for Securities Transactions by Directors of Listed Issuers in Appendix 10 to the Listing Rules (the "Model Code") as the codes of conduct for the Directors and the relevant employees who are likely to possess inside information of the Group (the "Relevant Employees") in their dealings in the Company's securities.
Before the Group's interim and annual results are announced, notifications are sent to the Directors and the Relevant Employees to remind them not to deal in the securities of the Company during the blackout periods. In response to specific enquiry made by the Company, all Directors have confirmed that they have complied with the Model Code during the year ended 30 June 2018.
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Delegation by the Board
The Board directs and approves the Group's overall strategies. Given the diversity and volume of the Group's businesses, responsibilities for execution and daily operations are delegated to management. The Board gives clear directions as to management's power, and periodically reviews the delegations to management to ensure that they are appropriate and continue to be beneficial to the Group as a whole.
The Board has delegated specific roles and responsibilities to the Executive, Remuneration, Nomination, and Audit and Risk Management Committees. All the Committees have specific terms of reference clearly defining their powers and responsibilities, and they are required by their terms of reference to report to the Board in relation to their decisions, findings or recommendations, and in certain specific situations, to seek the Board's approval before taking any action. Meetings of the Committees are convened as often as necessary and some decisions of the Committees are made by way of passing written resolutions.
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The Executive Committee was established in 1977 and now consists of all eight Executive Directors and four full time senior executives of the Group as its members, including one full time senior executive of the Company who was appointed by the Board as a new member of the Committee in August 2018. In addition, five senior executives of the Company holding major positions in the Group have been invited by the Committee to attend its meetings regularly as associate members, and to contribute their experience and expertise to assist the Committee in its decision-making process.
The Executive Committee meets regularly, usually once every week. It is primarily responsible for formulating business policies, making decisions on key business issues and policies, facilitating the approval of certain corporate actions and exercising the powers and authority delegated by the Board in respect of matters which arise between regularly scheduled Board meetings.
The Board has delegated its responsibilities to the Executive Committee to develop, review and monitor the policies and practices on corporate governance of the Group and make recommendations to the Board, to review and monitor the Company's policies and practices on legal and regulatory compliance, to review and monitor the code of conduct and ethical behaviour applicable to the Directors and employees and the training and continuous professional development of Directors and senior management, and to review the Company's compliance with the Code and disclosures in the corporate governance report.
During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Executive Committee oversaw the daily business operations of the Group and made key business decisions. In addition, the Committee reviewed the Company's compliance with the Code and the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and the disclosure in the corporate governance report. The attendance records of the members at the Committee meetings held during the year are set out below:
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The Remuneration Committee was established in June 2005 and is chaired by Professor Wong Yue-chim, Richard, an Independent Non-Executive Director. Other members of the Committee are Dr. Li Ka-cheung, Eric, Mr. Kwan Cheuk-yin, William and Dr. Leung Nai-pang, Norman. All members are Non-Executive Directors and the majority of them are Independent Non-Executive Directors.
The Company has adopted the model to delegate the determination of the remuneration packages of individual Executive Directors to the Remuneration Committee. The Committee is responsible for formulating and recommending remuneration policy to the Board and reviewing and making recommendations on compensation-related issues. The fees for the Directors are subject to the approval of the shareholders at the general meetings in accordance with the Articles of Association. The Committee, with the assistance of the Head of Internal Affairs, consults with the Chairman on its proposals and recommendations if necessary, and also has access to independent professional advice if necessary. The Committee is also provided with sufficient resources enabling it to perform its duties. The Committee's specific terms of reference are available on the websites of the Company and HKEx.
During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Remuneration Committee reviewed the Directors' fees and the emoluments of the Executive Directors. Particulars of the Directors' emoluments are set out in note 5 to the consolidated financial statements. The Committee held a meeting during the year and the attendance records of the members at the meeting are set out below:
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Nomination Committee and Appointment of Directors
The Nomination Committee was established in June 2005 and is chaired by Professor Wong Yue-chim, Richard, an Independent Non-Executive Director. Other members of the Committee are Mr. Kwan Cheuk-yin, William, Mr. Yip Dicky Peter and Dr. Leung Nai-pang, Norman. All members are Non-Executive Directors and the majority of them are Independent Non-Executive Directors.
The Nomination Committee is responsible for formulating policy and making recommendations to the Board on nominations and appointment of Directors, and Board succession. The Committee develops selection procedures for candidates, and will consider different criteria including appropriate professional knowledge and industry experience, as well as consult external recruitment professionals when required. The Committee also reviews the size, structure and composition of the Board and assesses the independence of the Independent Non-Executive Directors. The Committee is provided with sufficient resources enabling it to perform its duties and it can seek independent professional advice at the Company's expense if necessary. The Committee's specific terms of reference are available on the websites of the Company and HKEx.
During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Nomination Committee reviewed the structure, size and composition of the Board. It also reviewed the retirement and re-election of Directors, including two Independent Non-Executive Directors who have served the Company for more than nine years, and recommended the appointment of an Independent Non-Executive Director to the Board. The Committee held a meeting during the year and the attendance records of the members at the meeting are set out below:
All Directors have formal letters of appointment setting out the key terms of their appointments. In accordance with the Articles of Association, new Director appointed by the Board shall hold office until the next following AGM or general meeting of the Company and shall then be eligible for re-election. In addition, one-third of the Directors are required to retire from office by rotation and are eligible for re-election at each AGM and each Director should be subject to retirement by rotation at least once every three years. Non-Executive Directors (including Independent Non-Executive Directors) will be subject to a term of approximately two years commencing from the date of the AGM at which they are re-elected and expiring at the AGM to be held two years thereafter, and they shall be eligible for re-election at that AGM for a like term upon the expiry of their term of office. In addition, when an Independent Non-Executive Director proposed for re-election has served the Company for more than nine years, his or her re-election will be subject to a separate resolution to be approved at the AGM.
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Audit and Accountability
The Board is responsible for presenting a balanced, clear and comprehensible assessment of the Group's performance and prospects. The Directors also acknowledge their responsibility for preparing the financial statements that give a true and fair view of the Group's financial position on a going-concern basis, and for presenting a balanced, clear and understandable assessments in its annual and interim reports, other inside information announcements and other financial disclosures. All Board members are provided with monthly updates, including contracted property sales updates, projects launched, upcoming projects, leasing and hotel project updates, major investment projects under development and financial position, which give the Directors a balanced and understandable assessment of the performance, position and prospects of the Group. Management provides all relevant information to the Board, giving the members sufficient explanation and information they need to discharge their responsibilities. A statement by the external auditor of the Company in respect of its reporting responsibilities is set out in the Independent Auditor's Report.
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Audit and Risk Management Committee
The Audit Committee was established in 1999 and was renamed as the Audit and Risk Management Committee in June 2016 to reflect its role in risk management. The Committee is chaired by Dr. Li Ka-cheung, Eric, and other members of the Committee are Mr. Yip Dicky Peter, Mr. Leung Kui-king, Donald and Dr. Leung Nai-pang, Norman. All members of the Committee are Independent Non-Executive Directors.
No former partner of the Company's existing auditing firm acted as a member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee within one year from ceasing to be a partner or to have any financial interest in the auditing firm.
The duties of the Audit and Risk Management Committee include:
The Audit and Risk Management Committee is provided with sufficient resources enabling it to perform its duties. The specific terms of reference of the Committee are available on the websites of the Company and HKEx.
The Audit and Risk Management Committee held three meetings during the year ended 30 June 2018. It had reviewed the interim and annual results of the Group and discussed and approved the relevant financial reports; reviewed the Group's risk management and internal control systems, risk assessment result and internal audit activities; and discussed the audit plan for the financial year 2017/18. It had also reviewed the impact of certain new accounting standards, which would be effective for the financial year 2018/19, on the consolidated financial statements of the Group. Two private sessions between the members of the Committee and the external auditor without the presence of management had been arranged in the aforesaid meetings. The attendance records of the members at the Committee meetings are set out below:
There was no disagreement between the Board and the Audit and Risk Management Committee on the selection, appointment, resignation or dismissal of the external auditor.
The Audit and Risk Management Committee monitors the audit and non-audit services rendered to the Group by the external auditor and ensures that the engagement of the external auditor in other non-audit services will not impair its audit independence or objectivity. An independence confirmation has been obtained from the external auditor which confirmed that during the course of its audit on the Group's consolidated financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2018 and thereafter to the date of the annual report, it is independent of the Group in accordance with the independence requirements of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The fees in respect of audit and non-audit services provided to the Company and its subsidiaries by the external auditor for the year ended 30 June 2018 amounted to approximately HK$17 million and HK$6 million respectively. The non-audit services mainly consist of consultancy, taxation, review and other reporting services.
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Risk Management and Internal Control
The Group has diverse business activities in Hong Kong, Mainland China and Singapore and is exposed to different risks in a dynamic environment. Effective risk management is therefore essential for the long-term growth and sustainability of the businesses of the Group. The Board is responsible for the overall strategy and development of the Group's businesses; for setting its corporate goals and risk appetite; for establishing and maintaining sound and effective risk management and internal control systems to safeguard the Group's assets and stakeholders' interests; and for reviewing the effectiveness of the systems. The Board assesses the effectiveness of the risk management and internal control systems through the reviews performed by the Audit and Risk Management Committee, executive management and both internal and external auditors. It should be acknowledged that such systems are designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives, and can only provide reasonable and not absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss.
The Group's risk governance structure is guided by the "Three Lines of Defence" model as shown below:
First Line of Defence
Each department has the duty to manage its own risks in the course of its daily operations, including:
Second Line of Defence
The Risk Management Steering Committee is under the direct supervision of the Executive Committee and also accountable to the Audit and Risk Management Committee. Members of this Committee comprise the two Deputy Managing Directors, the Company Secretary, the Head of Accounting, the Head of Internal Affairs, and the Risk Manager. The Risk Management Steering Committee is primarily responsible for:
Third Line of Defence
The Internal Audit Department is primarily responsible for:
Audit and Risk Management Committee
The Audit and Risk Management Committee assists the Board in overseeing the risk management and internal control systems of the Group, including:
Board of Directors
The Board has the overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining sound and effective risk management and internal control systems, including:
Risk management is integrated with the Group's internal control system which was developed based on the COSO (the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission) principles as follows:
(i) Control Environment
(ii) Risk Assessment
(iii) Control Activities
(iv) Information and Communication
The internal control system aims at safeguarding assets from inappropriate use, maintaining proper accounts, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, and enabling timely identification and management of key risks that may have impact on the Group. Management is primarily responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of the risk management and internal control systems. The Group's internal control system includes a well-established organizational structure with clearly defined lines of responsibility and authority. Policies and procedures are laid down for its key business processes and business units covering project development, tendering, sales and leasing, financial reporting, human resources and computer systems.
The Group's Code of Conduct, freely accessible on the Group's intranet, is maintained and communicated to all employees for compliance. In addition, a whistleblowing policy was established for our employees to raise concerns in confidence about suspected misconducts, malpractices or fraudulent activities relating to the Group. The identity of the whistleblower will be treated with the strictest confidence.
The Company has a policy on inside information in place setting out the principles and procedures for handling and disclosing inside information of the Group in compliance with the relevant requirements under Part XIVA of the Securities and Futures Ordinance and the Listing Rules, and such policy has been communicated to the relevant senior executives of the Group. The policy contains provisions for establishing an internal committee to ascertain whether certain information constitutes inside information of the Group, and (where necessary) for escalating the matter to the senior management of the Group for final determination. To prevent inadvertent disclosure of inside information, the policy also prescribes certain measures in place, including restricting access to inside information to employees on a need-to-know basis, requiring documents and files containing inside information to be kept in a safe place, and requiring that confidentiality agreements be made with external parties in appropriate cases.
Key Risk Factors
The following section lists out the key risks and uncertainties facing the Group. It is a non-exhaustive list and there may be other risks and uncertainties further to the key risk areas outlined below:
Risks Pertaining to the Property Market in Hong Kong
A substantial part of the Group's property portfolio is located in Hong Kong, and a substantial part of the Group's revenue is derived in Hong Kong. As a result, general state of the economy and the property market, legislative and regulatory changes, government policies and political conditions, interest rate changes, labour market conditions, and availability of financing in Hong Kong have a significant impact on the Group's operating results and financial conditions. For instance, profitability of property development business may be affected due to deteriorating economic conditions or intense competition from other developers and property owners. The government may introduce property cooling measures from time to time, which may have a significant bearing on the property market and adversely affect the Group's property sales performance, and financial condition. Further growth of the Group's property development business may also be impacted by the supply and price levels of land in Hong Kong.
Rental levels in Hong Kong are subject to competition arising from supply in the primary sector. In addition to the economic and market conditions mentioned above, other domestic and external economic factors including but not limited to supply and demand conditions, and stock market performance may affect the Group's property investment business.
Risks Pertaining to the Property Market in Mainland ChinaThe Group has material interests in residential and commercial property development and property investment in Mainland China and is therefore subject to the risks associated with China's property market. The Group's operations in Mainland China may also be exposed to the risks of policy changes, currency fluctuation, interest rate changes, demand-supply imbalance, changes in the overall economic conditions, competition in the labour market, and availability of financing, which may pose an adverse impact on the Group's business, financial condition or results of operations.
The Group's operation is subject to a number of risk factors distinctive to property development, property investment, and property related businesses. Default on the part of our buyers, tenants and strategic business partners, inadequacies or failures of internal processes, people and systems, leakage of sensitive information by hacking or accidents, inadequate responses to negative events which may have adverse impact on reputation, or other external factors may have various levels of negative impact on the results of operations. Additionally, accidents may happen despite systems and policies set up for their prevention, which may lead to financial loss, litigation, or damage in reputation.
Mitigating Principal Risks Faced by the Group
The risk management and internal control systems have been designed to operate proactively to ensure that principal risks are not only identified, measured and monitored but also mitigated. Under such systems, management staff of various departments would identify suitable internal controls and countermeasures to mitigate principal risks faced by the Group. When formulating mitigating measures, important factors such as regulatory requirements, risk appetite, adequacy and effectiveness of mitigating actions proposed, risk owners in place to implement and availability to transfer risks to third parties were taken into consideration. The objective of these risk mitigating plans is to ensure that principal risks are well managed and governed effectively.
Past Performance and Forward-Looking StatementsThe performance and the results of operation of the Group as set out in this annual report are historical in nature and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. This annual report may contain forward-looking statements and opinions that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual result may also differ materially from expectations discussed in such forward-looking statements and opinions. Neither the Group nor the Directors, employees or agents of the Group assume (a) any obligations to correct or update the forward-looking statements or opinions contained in this annual report; and (b) any obligations or liabilities in the event that any of the forward-looking statements or opinions does not materialize or turns out to be incorrect.
Effectiveness of Risk Management and Internal Control Systems
During the year ended 30 June 2018, the Risk Management Steering Committee has worked with each department and senior management to enhance the risk management and internal control systems. Activities included updating the risk assessment templates to include matters such as key risk indicators and threshold for monitoring risk performance, adding new risk categories and providing risk training to and maintaining ongoing interactive dialogues with the departments. It has also reviewed the major risks for operations in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
The Group's Internal Audit Department, which has been established for more than 20 years, performs independent appraisal of the adequacy and effectiveness of the Group's risk management and internal control systems. The department has direct access to the Audit and Risk Management Committee and has rights to access all records, assets and personnel as stipulated in the Internal Audit Charter. The department follows a risk-based approach to formulate the audit plan that focuses on the top risks identified. The risks for departments and business units are assessed using the pre-determined risk criteria. The assessment results are consolidated and ranked from an enterprise-wide perspective. The Audit and Risk Management Committee reviews and approves annually the audit plan, which is formulated based on the risk assessment result. Summaries of major audit findings and control weaknesses, if any, are reviewed by the Audit and Risk Management Committee. The department monitors the follow-up actions agreed upon in response to recommendations.
The Board through the Audit and Risk Management Committee reviewed the risk assessment results, and the risk management and internal control systems of the Group for the year ended 30 June 2018, including financial, operational and compliance controls. The review includes considering the internal control evaluations conducted by executive management and the internal and external auditors as well as the adequacy of resources, staff qualifications and experience, training programmes and budget of the Group's accounting, internal audit and financial reporting functions. Based on the result of the review, the Board considered that for the year ended 30 June 2018, the risk management and internal control systems of the Group were effective and adequate.
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The Board established a shareholders' communication policy setting out the principles of the Company in relation to shareholders' communications, with the objective of ensuring that its communications with the shareholders are timely, transparent, accurate and open. Information would be communicated to the shareholders mainly through the Company's corporate communications (such as interim and annual reports, announcements and circulars) and AGMs, as well as disclosure on the website of the Company.
Interim reports, annual reports and circulars are sent to the shareholders in a timely manner and are also available on the websites of the Company and HKEx. The Company's website provides shareholders with its corporate information, such as principal business activities and major property projects, the development of corporate governance and the corporate social responsibilities of the Group. For efficient communication with shareholders and in the interest of environmental protection, arrangements are made to allow shareholders to elect to receive corporate communications of the Company by electronic means through the Company's website.
Shareholders are provided with contact details of the Company, such as telephone hotline, fax number, email address and postal address, in order to enable them to make any queries that they may have with respect to the Company. They can also send their enquiries to the Board through these means. In addition, shareholders can contact the share registrar of the Company if they have any enquiries about their shareholdings and entitlements to dividend.
The Company is committed to protecting the privacy right on all personal data collected from shareholders. When collecting personal data from the shareholders, the Company will specify in the relevant documents the purpose of collection and the use of personal data etc. Contact details are also provided to the shareholders for accessing and correcting their personal data.
The AGM allows the Directors to meet and communicate with shareholders. The Company ensures that shareholders' views are communicated to the Board. The chairman of the AGM proposes separate resolutions on each substantially separate matter to the shareholders for their consideration and approval. Members of the Audit and Risk Management, Remuneration and Nomination Committees and the external auditor also attend the AGM to answer questions from shareholders. Simultaneous interpretation is provided to facilitate smooth and direct communication between shareholders and Directors.
AGM proceedings are reviewed from time to time to ensure that the Company follows good corporate governance practices. The notice of AGM is distributed to all shareholders at least 20 clear business days prior to the AGM and the accompanying circular also sets out details of each proposed resolution and other relevant information as required to be disclosed under the Listing Rules. The chairman of the AGM exercises his power under the Articles of Association to put each proposed resolution to the vote by way of a poll. The procedures for conducting a poll are explained at the meeting prior to the polls being taken and the share registrar of the Company acts as the scrutineer for the vote-taking at the meeting. Voting results are available on the websites of the Company and the HKEx on the day of the AGM.
The 2017 AGM was held on 9 November 2017 at the Company's headquarters with a strong participation by the shareholders. Businesses transacted at the 2017 AGM included the adoption of audited consolidated financial statements, the approval of final dividend, the re-election of Directors and fixing of the Directors' fees, the re-appointment of auditor, and the renewal of general mandates with respect to the buy-back of shares and the issue of shares.The attendance records of the Directors at the 2017 AGM are set out below:
Shareholder(s) holding at least 5% of the total voting rights of all the shareholders of the Company having a right to vote at general meetings can send a request to the Company to convene a general meeting pursuant to Section 566 of the Companies Ordinance. The request must state the general nature of the business to be dealt with at the meeting and may include the text of a resolution that may properly be moved and is intended to be moved at the meeting. The request must be authenticated by the relevant shareholder(s) and sent to the Company in hard copy form or in electronic form.
Besides, Section 615 of the Companies Ordinance provides that (i) shareholder(s) representing at least 2.5% of the total voting rights of all shareholders of the Company who have a right to vote on the resolution at the AGM; or (ii) at least 50 shareholders who have a right to vote on the resolution at the AGM may request the Company to circulate a notice of a resolution for consideration at the AGM. Such request must identify the resolution to be moved at the AGM and must be authenticated by the relevant shareholder(s) and sent to the Company in hard copy form or in electronic form not later than six weeks before the relevant AGM or if later, the time when the notice of the AGM is despatched.
During the year ended 30 June 2018, no amendment was made to the Articles of Association. The latest version of the Articles of Association is available on the websites of the Company and HKEx.
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updated 27th December, 2018
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