Thu, Sep 10, 2020 – 1:55 PM
FRESH guidelines from the Singapore regulator on the financial industry state that most financial institutions should have a succession plan that is "regularly reviewed and updated".
Such a plan must identify potential candidates in the pipeline, and set out appropriate handover policies and procedures to bring about a smooth transition in the senior management team, according to the guidelines on individual accountability and conduct (IAC) set out by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) on Thursday.
These IAC guidelines are about two years in the making, and will apply in full to all financial institutions unless they are exempted or if the financial firms have fewer than 50 in headcount. MAS said the IAC guidelines supplement the existing regulatory framework.
They are part of moves by the regulator to ensure sound culture and conduct in the financial industry, emphasising ethical business practices, as well as prudent risk-taking behaviour and robust risk management.
In a 2018 consultation paper on the guidelines, some from the financial industry had "queried on the rationale for and necessity of the guidance on succession planning". MAS's response in 2019 was that effective succession planning is "critical to organisational stability" over time.
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"It entails putting in place processes to retain and attract the right talent, by considering means to get the right people with the desired values and cultural fit, skillsets, capabilities and experience to fill important roles," MAS said in response to the industry feedback.
"Succession planning ensures that transitions of leadership and senior manager positions are well-planned and executed, and minimises potential disruptions to continuity of operations and compromises to effectiveness of internal controls due to changes."
But MAS said the time horizon for succession planning will depend on each financial institution's business, saying that boards should institute a succession-planning process that "best meets the financial institution's circumstances and needs".
The 23-page set of IAC guidelines comes alongside international "accountability regimes" in financial centres that include the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Australia.
The IAC guidelines in Singapore will also apply to payment services firms, despite feedback from four respondents seeking to exempt licensed payment services firms because accountability regimes in other jurisdictions do not apply to them. MAS rejected this idea, saying that the expected standard of good governance should be applied in that sector as well.
The guidelines in Singapore rest on five accountability and conduct outcomes. For one thing, senior managers responsible for managing and conducting the financial institutions' core functions should be "clearly identified".
To add, senior managers should not only be appropriate for their roles, but also held responsible for the actions of their employees and the conduct of the business under their purview.
Senior managers' performance should be tracked by a "clear and transparent" management structure as well as reporting relationships, too.
Against that backdrop, the latest guidelines outlined the decision-making authority of Singapore-based senior managers for foreign financial institutions as well.
Some industry players gave feedback in 2018 that decisions on strategic matters may be taken at the regional or head office levels, while local management has delegated authority.
MAS responded in 2019 that if individuals sitting outside of Singapore are directly responsible for the local operations, such overseas-based senior managers should be held responsible in meeting these guidelines.
"It is not appropriate for financial institutions to designate individuals based overseas as senior managers if the relevant decision-making authority has in substance been vested locally," it said.
"Likewise, financial institutions sRead More – Source