How whistleblowing and UK corporate governance can raise Vietnam

09:45 | 10/10/2018
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) recently held a workshop titled “How Whistleblowing and UK Corporate Governance Code Helps Vietnamese Companies” in Ho Chi Minh City (October 4) and Hanoi (October 5) in collaboration with the Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD) and the British Embassy, with the support of the State Securities Commission of Vietnam, as well as the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange.
how whistleblowing and uk corporate governance can raise vietnam
“How the whistleblowing and UK corporate governance helps Vietnamese company” workshop

Leading corporate governance experts from the UK and Vietnam made presentations and held discussions on two of the main topics of interest currently among businesses in Vietnam.

The event, which was also held in Hanoi (October 5), was attended by many local businesspeople and executives of the State Securities Commission and the countries two bourses.

In his opening note to the workshop, Mark Billington, Southeast Asia Regional Director, ICAEW, said: “Vietnam is ranked among the three fastest growing economies in the region and remains a place to be for foreign investors. For businesses in Vietnam to upgrade their competitiveness and build trust with investors, a good whistleblowing and corporate governance system have a vital role.”

“Together, these two components will help businesses resolve internal disputes efficiently and lay down the groundwork for their own sustainable development, which will eventually contribute to the sustainable development of the economy as a whole.”

“That’s why ICAEW joined forces with VIOD and the British Embassy to hold this workshop to share useful and necessary knowledge with the Vietnamese business community.”

British corporate governance is globally respected and is a framework trusted by investors when deciding where to allocate capital. A new Code of Corporate Governance was issued in the UK in July 2018, with significant changes to make sure the nation moves with the times. This code considers economic and social issues and will help guide the long-term success of UK businesses.

“The new Code of Corporate Governance places the relationships between a company, its shareholders, and related parties at the centre of sustainable long-term growth in the UK economy.”

how whistleblowing and uk corporate governance can raise vietnam

Elizabeth Richards, head of Corporate Governance, ICAEW

Elizabeth Richards, head of Corporate Governance, ICAEW, told the workshop: “This Code places emphasis on businesses building trust by forging strong relationships with key stakeholders. The new code underscores that trust is essential in promoting transparency and integrity in business for society as a whole.”

One of the two keynote topics of this morning’s workshop, Elizabeth’s presentation titled “How whistleblowing helps companies,” was much welcomed by local business participants.

Whistleblowing is considered a major factor for businesses in successfully controlling fraud, especially for finance companies. This mechanism not only helps detect wrongdoings at organisations, but is also used as a corporate governance tool which prevents and deters fraudulent activity and helps protect the good name of businesses and their sustainable development.

As Elizabeth pointed out, for an internal whistleblowing system to work, businesses need to keep whistleblowers protected.

“First of all, companies need to keep the whistleblower’s identity confidential, because in many cases, being a whistleblower may mean putting oneself in harm’s way. In the UK now, businesses often refuse to give financial incentives to whistleblowers and instead offer support for them to find a new job.”

“In some lines of work, such as aviation and combating money laundering, whistleblowing has become a must and employees are often made responsible to report on one another. At many companies, the responsibility for internal whistleblowing is even written in the labour contract.”

how whistleblowing and uk corporate governance can raise vietnam

Nguyen Viet Thinh, CEO of Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD)

Nguyen Viet Thinh, CEO of Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD), made a presentation on “Whistleblowing from a local perspective.”

“As businesses from Vietnam are increasingly integrating into the regional and global economies, corporate governance, transparency, and improved trust with investors are critical,” he said.

“We hope that by sharing the best international practices as well as the best practices of corporate governance and whistleblowing we can help BOD members lead their business to success.”

how whistleblowing and uk corporate governance can raise vietnam

Ed Vaizey MP, UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos

Closing the workshop, Ed Vaizey MP, UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said: “I am very impressed by the growth of the Vietnamese economy in the last few years and the robust growth of the stock market. I believe that good corporate governance practices will help Vietnam to attract more UK investors into the country through both foreign direct and indirect investment. The UK is very proud to be one of the world leaders in education and financial services. I am very glad that organisations like ICAEW have been proactive around the world, sharing knowledge, ethical standards, and increasing the capability of finance and accounting professionals.”

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