Vietnam, On 4– 5th October, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) held a workshop titled “How the Whistle blowing and corporate governance system supports businesses in Vietnam” in Ho Chi Minh City (4th Oct) and Hanoi (5th Oct) in collaboration with the Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD) and the British embassy, with the support of State Securities Commission of Vietnam, Hanoi Stock Exchange and HoChiMinh Stock Exchange. Leading corporate governance experts from the UK and Vietnam made presentations and held discussions on two of the main topics of interest currently to businesses in Vietnam.
The event, which will also be held in Hanoi (Oct. 5), was attended by many local business people and executives of the State Securities Commission, Hanoi Stock Exchange and HCMC Stock Exchange.
Mr. Vu Bang – Former Chairman of the SSC, Chairman of the Vietnam Corporate Governance Initiative Council & Member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Group
In his opening note to the workshop, Mr. Mark Billington, South East Asia, 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 whistle-blowing and corporate governance system have a vital role.
“Together, these two components will help businesses resolve internal disputes efficiently and lay the groundwork for their own sustainable development, which eventually contributes 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 for 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.”
Ms. Elizabeth Richards – Head of Corporate Governance, ICAEW
Ms. Elizabeth Richards, ICAEW corporate governance director, 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 whistle-blowing supports businesses in the UK”, was much welcomed by local business participants.
Whistle-blowing is considered a major factor in businesses successfully controlling fraud, especially finance companies. This mechanism not only helps detect wrongdoing in 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 whistle-blowing system to work, businesses need to keep whistle-blowers well protected.
“First of all, companies need to keep whistle-blower identity confidential, because in many cases, being a whistle-blower may mean putting oneself in harm’s way. In the UK now, businesses often refuse to give financial incentives to whistle–blowers and instead offer support for them to find a new job.
“In some lines of work such as aviation and combating money laundering, whistle-blowing has become a must and employees are often made responsible to report on one another. At many companies, the responsibility for internal whistle-blowing is even written in the labour contract.”
Mr. Nguyen Viet Thinh – CEO, VIOD
Mr. Nguyen Viet Thinh, managing director of VIOD, made a presentation on “Whistle-blowing and businesses in Vietnam”.
“As businesses from Vietnam are increasingly integrating themselves with the regional and global economies, corporate governance, transparency and improved trust with investors are critical requirements,” he said.
We hope that by sharing the best international practices as well as the best practices of corporate governance and whistle -blowing, this will help the BOD members lead the business to success.”
Mr. Ed Vaizey – UK Prime Minister_s Trade Envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos
Closing the workshop, Mr. Ed Vaizey, MP, the British Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, said: “”I am very impressed by the growth of Vietnam economy in the last few years and robust growth of the stock market. I believe that good corporate governance practices will help Vietnam to attract more UK investors into the countries 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 organizations like ICAEW have been very proactive around the world sharing knowledge, ethical standards and increasing capability of finance and accounting professionals.”
Detailed Press Release (Vietnamese) here
“How the whistleblowing and UK corporate governance helps Vietnamese company” (VIETNAM ECONOMIC NEWS )
How whistleblowing and UK corporate governance can raise Vietnam (Vietnam Investment Review )
ICAEW hosts whistleblowing and corporate governance workshops (Vietnam EconomicTimes )