Conveying a clear message
In addition to financial disclosure, the Hong Kong Exchanges (HKEx) 2010 Annual Report was designed to explain the challenges including short and long-term goals as well as any likely obstacles, in order to enable shareholders and other stakeholders to obtain a better understanding of the company's prospects.
'As we implement the various initiatives under our Strategic Plan 2010-2012, our report provides a more forward-looking, analytical and informative review of each of the important initiatives as they proceed from 2010,' says Joseph Mau, HKEx company secretary.
Mau says the theme of the 2010 Annual Report came at a critical juncture for the HKEx.
'It was produced during a time when we faced both China's accelerating pace of opening, particularly in the internationalisation of the renminbi, and the intensifying international competition in the global exchange industry,' says Mau.
He says the opportunities are as abundant as the challenges are unprecedented.
'We believe that with the perseverance and the diligence of bulls, we can continue to turn opportunities into rewards. For this reason, we made use of the 2010 Annual Report to convey the message to our stakeholders the HKEx is ready to pursue these opportunities and face these challenges with the renewed focus and rigour under our Strategic Plan 2010-2012,' says Mau.
The annual report is the product of all divisions and departments of HKEx, he says. Producing the report is also an important annual task.
'A high quality annual report can help demonstrate HKEx's commitment to accountability, transparency, fairness and integrity,' says Mau.
As the stock exchange controller, Mau says the HKEx has the public duty to ensure an orderly, informed and fair securities and futures market takes into account the interests of a wide spectrum of stakeholders.
While ensuring sufficient information is disclosed, the HKEx ensures plain language is used to make the report transparent and comprehensible. This is helped by the use of graphs, tables and charts to present financial data and explain complex complicated information.?
'We undertake multiple stages of checking, verification, confirmation and proofreading to safeguard its integrity and accuracy,' says Mau.
The report also includes coverage of a number of new initiatives and highlights the progress of continuing projects. At the same time, a target was achieved to reduce the physical size of the report by 10 per cent.
Mau says about 10,000 reports were printed last year. This included a Chinese version preferred by a growing number of stakeholders.
'We continue to use plain English and Chinese to make the report user-friendly and make certain the content is both precise and concise and in order to reduce the size of the report to meet environmental targets,' says Mau.
He says with the aim of promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) best practices and meeting mandatory requirements, the HKEx includes a Corporate Governance Report in its annual report. A standalone CSR report is also published on the HKEx website.
'To enable our stakeholders to understand our CSR commitment and share our view that CSR is a business philosophy that creates long-term shareholder value, we strive to open up effective channels to communicate with our stakeholders,' says Mau. 'We will continue to report on our CSR performance and initiatives in our annual CSR Report while highlighting the work of our Environmental, Social and Governance Committee (formerly known as CSR Committee) in our annual report.'