ARA showing big changes for 10th edition

February 23, 2017 | 17:13
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Vietnam’s 2017 Annual Report Awards (ARA) programme will bring several changes to celebrate its 10th milestone.

For the first time, the annual reports will be evaluated by four leading audit firms, including Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). This is the weightiest change in the contest aiming to ensure a more accurate and objective qualifying process.

Furthermore, contestants will get bonus points for preparing their financial reports under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) with English versions. This move aims to encourage more companies to make international-standard reports and provide better access for foreign investors. Each report can earn a maximum of five points before entering the final round.

Along with the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) and VIR, the 10th ARA will be co-organised by the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), urging listed companies on the HNX platform to participate in the competition.

The number of judges for this year’s event will increase to nine people with the addition of two new members from Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). As usual, norms, transparency, professionalism, creativity, and sustainability continue to be the major focus.

There are three award categories: the Top 10 (the 10 reports with the highest scores), the Top 30 (the next 20 reports), and the Top 50 (the remaining 20 reports from the 50 highest scores). It is notable that there will be a number of additional categories to honour firms with the best reports as well as individuals who made special contributions to the programme over the past 10 years.

The award is expected to attract a total of 700 reports from listed Vietnamese companies on the HNX and HOSE platforms. The deadline for companies to submit reports is April 20. The marks earned throughout the preliminary round will have a greater impact on the final results, with the new proportions being 20 and 80 per cent, respectively. Annual reports can only enter the final round after fulfilling the main criteria set by the judges. The finalists will be assessed by content (75 per cent) and presentation (25 per cent).

There will be three awards in the best corporate governance category. Similarly, the Sustainability Reporting Awards (SRA) will hand out three main prizes and three consolation prizes for content, reliability, and presentation.

Le Hai Tra, deputy managing director of the HOSE and head of the Organising Committee and Selection Board, highlighted that this year the event will mark its 10th edition, a special milestone for a significant event that has affected listed firms, investors, and the stock market in Vietnam.

“The participation of the Big 4 in particular is expected to enhance sustainability and transparency. They will assist the Selection Board with new ideas on evaluation criteria as well as reviewing the annual reports in the final round to detect anything amiss in both the financial and non-financial information,” he added.

In his remarks, Le Trong Minh, VIR’s editor-in-chief and co-head of the Organising Committee, commented that more Vietnamese firms, including listed companies, have taken a proactive approach in reaching out to the community and promoting sustainable development in lieu of perfunctory plans to comply with the law and shareholders.

“Sustainability is now at the heart of business strategies. This trend is becoming more prevalent among companies to keep up with the development of society. Therefore, sustainable annual reports are projected to become indispensible in the relationship between listed firms and their shareholders,” he said.

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By By Thanh Van

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