Outspoken investors beware

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SINGAPORE (Oct 8): Companies in Asia have been the subject of the most number of shareholder activism campaigns so far this year, outside of the US. There were 90 such campaigns across Asia in the first eight months of this year, up from 60 over the same period last year. This was pointed out by Tan Cheng Han, chairman of the Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo), in his speech to an audience of company directors on Oct 3.

“Of course, we are nowhere near the hundreds of shareholder activism campaigns that take place in the US each year; nor am I necessarily suggesting that it is good to have anything close to such number[s]. Yet the increasing trend in this part of the world should make us sit up,” Tan says. Investors are becoming more demanding of the companies they invest in, he adds, “and our view is that this is something to be welcomed for the long-term good of our capital markets.”

His comments come in the wake of an ongoing clash between Stamford Land Corp and an outspoken shareholder, Mano Sabnani. The former newspaper editor is being sued by Stamford Land for making defamatory statements during the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) on July 27, as well as in a subsequent Facebook post and letter published in... (Click here to read the full story)