Earlier, the winners for the International Finance Transparency Forum & Global Commercial Banks Transparency Ranking have been announced in Beijing. The selection was based on a scorecard measured information disclosed by some 100 major listed banks around the world. Besides, category awards were conferred to the banks that excelled in transparency. The ranking placed ICBC No.1 in Asia Pacific in recognition of the Bank's excellence in information disclosure. The award also demonstrated ICBC's corporate governance at par with the international peers.
Winning 31 major corporate governance awards last year is a testimony to ICBC's best practices of corporate governance standards. Among them were: "Hong Kong Corporate Governance Excellence Award" from Chamber of Hong Kong Listed Companies, "2012 Best Corporate Governance Disclosure Platinum Award" from Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, "Platinum Award for All-Round Excellence" from The Asset (HK), "Corporate Governance Asia Recognition Award" from Corporate Governance Asia, and "Best Corporate Governance" from Finance Asia. Among all banks in China, ICBC bagged the highest number of prestigious awards.
Since restructuring and going public, ICBC has made efforts in building a robust framework aiming at improving corporate governance, which is seen by the Bank as a vital means of enhancing its core competitiveness. The Bank follows regulatory rules in and outside China to set up a modern corporate governance framework, drawing successful governance experience of international financial firms and factoring in its own circumstances.
First, ICBC is seeking to become a leading modern financial firm. To realize this goal, efficient corporate governance structure and mechanism are set up. Specifically, after restructuring and going public in China and Hong Kong as a shareholding company, ICBC sets up a corporate governance structure comprising shareholders meeting, board of directors, board of supervisors, and top management. Further, ICBC hires independent directors into the Board, elects supervisors on behalf of staff and appoints Chief Risk Officer and Chief Information Officer. These practices lead to more effective governance and smooth communication between shareholders meeting, board of directors, board of supervisors and top management. The Bank now has well-defined rights and duties that all its committees (management, decision-making, execution, supervision) are expected to follow, coordinate and counterbalance with each other. The result is good corporate governance underpinned by scientific decision-making and effective oversight. The improved corporate governance has brought good revenue to the Bank in recent years.
Second, ICBC as a bank, attaches high importance to risk management, internal audit and internal control in line with the governance principles of a modern company. In recent years, while improving its corporate governance structure, ICBC Board of Directors has also strengthened its internal audit and control as well as risk management, which can be illustrated by its risk management system made up of board of directors and special committees, top management and special committees, risk management departments and internal audit departments. This system examines, verifies and implements risk management strategy, risk management policy, risk preference, risk management and internal control process throughout operation. With that, ICBC has materialized full and quantified risk management which accords with its overall objective. Moreover, the independent internal audit system and internal control system have been established under the leadership of the Board. All these efforts result in effective internal control, risk management and internal/external audit procedures. They serve to minimize risks so that ICBC can ensure asset quality and control risks which are central for the Bank's continuous and sound development.
To public companies, the responsibility is to protect the rights and interests of all shareholders (especially small-and-medium shareholders) and other stakeholders, which is also the basic requirement for corporate governance. In recent years, ICBC provides exact, adequate and transparent data on the Bank's operation to customers and investors, in accordance with regulatory laws and corporate governance requirements. ICBC has taken the lead in announcing self-assessment report on annual internal control and auditors' views of it as well as annual social responsibility report. These practices have guaranteed the right of shareholders, depositors, consumers and other stakeholders to know the real situation of ICBC. To protect the shareholders at home and abroad that they can exercise their rights according to the their own free will, ICBC improves the shareholder meeting system and the way it is held. Since 2006 ICBC opened shareholders meeting simultaneously in Beijing and Hong Kong every year through video conference for shareholders in mainland China and Hong Kong to participate, vote, suggest and inquire. This new approach has been well received by ICBC investors at home and abroad.
While generating profits and maximizing return for shareholders, ICBC also actively fulfills its social responsibility complying with business ethics, provides a safe workplace for all employees and protects their rights and interests, uses fewer resources and protects the environment. ICBC strives to create a corporate culture that allows all employees working in a harmonious environment and are motivated to be at their best every day. The Bank endeavors to build a "Value Bank", "Green Bank", "Charity Bank", "Harmonious Bank", "Creditworthy Bank" and "Branded Bank", to achieve balanced, coordinated and sustainable development which contributes to shareholders, employees, customers and the society as a whole.