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SINGAPORE – Singapore-listed companies’ codes of conduct are the least effective compared with their global counterparts, said ethics and compliance company LRN in a report on Wednesday.

The report, which covered 200 of the top-traded companies in Asia, Europe and North America, included findings from Japan and Singapore for the first time.

The study found that companies included in the Straits Times Index (STI) generally had the lowest code-effectiveness scores. The STI is a market capitalisation-weighted index tracking the performance of the Singapore Exchange’s top 30 companies.

The poorer score for STI companies contrasts with companies in the US S&P 100, where codes outperformed those in other indices overall.

Globally, the codes of conduct of only 43 per cent of companies studied were deemed “effective”, even if they met the minimum standards. Around 40 per cent were scored as “less effective”, falling below expectations of a code counted as effective.

Notably, about 64 per cent of codes of conduct reviewed had a section on speaking up, but only 57 per cent had a strong non-retaliation policy for employees who whistle-blow about misconduct. Just 17 per cent had explanations on procedures on the investigation of misconduct.

LRN noted that 17 per cent of codes reviewed exceeded the minimum expectations. It said that companies with more effective codes are 10 times more likely to include hotline or helpline details.

LRN added that only 48 per cent of codes extended to a company’s contractors, agents and other third parties who worked on their behalf. THE BUSINESS TIMES Singapore-listed companies’ codes of conduct least effective among global peers: LRN report

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