Singapore blue-chip companies have higher levels of disclosure than their Hong Kong counterparts, according to a Standard & Poor's (S&P) survey. No Hong Kong company was ranked in the top quarter of the survey, dominated by firms from Singapore and Australia. 'Although Hong Kong companies met basic compliance standards they fell short of Australian and Singapore companies, which were seen as clear leaders by scoring average or above average levels of disclosure,' said S&P's managing director George Dallas. Companies in the S&P Asia-Pacific 100 Index were assessed on their disclosure in annual reports of 98 items of information in the areas of ownership structure, financial information and board and management structures. The survey is bad news for Hong Kong securities regulators who are seeking to raise the level of corporate governance as part of a drive to make the SAR the financial centre of Asia. A Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing spokesman declined to comment on the S&P survey but said the exchange would examine its findings. The Securities and Futures Commission also declined to respond, saying that it had yet to examine S&P's methodology, which would differ from other surveys. 'As a regulator, we are committed to improving the standard of corporate governance,' said an SFC spokesman. 'To change corporate culture cannot be done overnight, and we do believe that there has been an important change in the awareness of the importance of the quality of the markets in Hong Kong.' Mainland companies were ranked alongside Hong Kong firms, a strong result given the mainland markets' early stage of development. Mainland companies in the survey tended to raise capital from more-developed markets, which have higher disclosure requirements than China. Taiwanese companies were the least transparent in the survey, with 21 of the 23 lowest scores. The most transparent firms reported up to 80 per cent of the maximum possible disclosure items in their annual reports. Firms were placed in deciles but were not ranked within the individual bands. Pacific Century CyberWorks was put in the sixth band - the best decile to contain Hong Kong companies. This is in contrast to the ranking in a CLSA Emerging Markets' survey in April that rated CyberWorks as having the worst corporate governance among the 38 Hong Kong companies surveyed. The following month CLSA revised upwards its assessment of CyberWorks. Although CLSA's original report assessed other factors such as accountability and social awareness, it cited 'poor disclosure' as one reason for CyberWorks' initial rating.