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Business

Group pushes reforms to protect minority shareholders

Neil Jerome C. Morales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines (SharePHIL) is stepping up the rollout of reforms that aim to protect minority shareholders.

The advocacy organization plans to improve its membership base, form new strategic partnerships and conduct more investor education programs in the coming year, said the group’s incoming president.

“One of the biggest challenges in our market has always been the promotion and protection of minority shareholder interest,” said new SharePHIL president Francis Ed. Lim.

“At SharePHIL, the minority shareholder is truly empowered to make decisions. At SharePHIL, the minority shareholder will find its champion,” Lim said.

Lim, former president and CEO of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), is replacing former SharePHIL president Cherry Bernaldo who served as the founding head of the organization.

For this year, SharePHIL will push forward with its long-term goal of becoming a major player in promoting domestic capital market development through advocacy, education and enlightenment of shareholders.

Specifically, the group plans to broaden its membership base.

“We need members who will unselfishly share their time and even resources to help SharePHIL prove its worth to the general membership and the investing public,” Lim said.

For strategic partnerships with relevant institutions, Lim said there are already discussions with the PSE, Trust Officers Association of the Philippines (TOAP) and Fund Managers Association of the Philippines (FMAP).

SharePHIL will also focus on fostering pro-shareholder reforms like the mail voting for minority stockholders.

“We shall advocate changes in the legal and regulatory framework that will help improve the rights of minority shareholders,” Lim said.

Lim said SharePHIL will encourage mediation initiatives to help resolve shareholder disputes in as peaceful and mutually beneficial manner.

To improve access to services, SharePHIL will create a secretariat and launch a website for members and the general public.

Investor education and relations program is also a priority for the advocacy group.

“From time to time, we shall publish investor pamphlets to help educate our members and the public on the basics of investing and update them on issues affecting them as investors,” Lim said.

For its long-term goal, Lim said the group will roll out the SharePHIL Roadmap that includes guidelines in launching the “Investors’ Choice” award for companies that truly care for their minority investors.

SharePHIL aims to become the leading institution and catalyst in the protection and promotion of shareholder rights, duties and responsibilities by 2020.

In May 2012, SharePHIL was formed by a group of active local investors to push for and protect the rights of minority shareholders.

In 2012, the PSE reported that total investor accounts rose 4.1 percent to 525,850 accounts from 505,054 accounts in 2011. Of the total, retail investors accounted for 96.4 percent while the remaining 3.6 percent were classified as institutional accounts, which are held by corporations and investment firms.

 

ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

CHERRY BERNALDO

FRANCIS ED

FUND MANAGERS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

IN MAY

LIM

MINORITY

PHILIPPINE STOCK EXCHANGE

SHAREPHIL

TRUST OFFICERS ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES

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