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SGX's regulatory unit seeks wider powers to crack down on errant firms


SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore Exchange's regulatory unit is seeking more powers to publicly reprimand companies breaching listing rules, while also making it mandatory for firms to have a whistleblowing policy.

In comments embargoed for release on Thursday, Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) CEO Tan Boon Gin told reporters in a video conference that the frontline regulator is seeking to introduce and implement the changes over the next six months.

"SGX RegCo is acutely aware of the perception that few public enforcement actions have taken place in recent years. We are proposing to widen the scope of direct disciplinary actions available to us so as to speed up the disciplinary process," Tan said.

Currently, an independent listings disciplinary group comprising senior lawyers, bankers and company executives is tasked with issuing public sanctions, while SGX RegCo's powers are largely confined to private actions.

Delays in hearing cases and conflicts of interests in the group had made enforcement actions protracted, Tan said, leading SGX to seek additional powers. Fines can still be imposed only by the disciplinary committee.

SGX has taken many measures in recent years to shore up market liquidity, improve the quality of listings and strengthen its regulatory framework after a penny stocks crash in 2013 battered investor confidence.

SGX RegCo said it will also require all listed companies to put in place and disclose details of their whistleblowing practices. It is consulting the market on the latest changes.

(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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