Standard & Poor's (S&P) has granted a high corporate governance score to Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, reflecting high transparency in accounting practices and protection of shareholder interests. HKEx is the first SAR company to hire S&P to review its corporate governance standards. The agency conducted the review of HKEx in four areas: ownership structure, communication with stakeholders, financial disclosure, and the structure of the board. From a score system of one to 10, HKEx received an overall score of 8.3. Its strongest area was a high degree of disclosure, for which it scored 9.3. S&P said HKEx has given financial information which met international accounting standards. It received a score of eight in the other three areas. 'The HKEx has taken a strong lead in demonstrating its commitment to good governance practices,' said George Dallas, managing director and head of S&P's governance and advisory division. Charles Lee Yeh-kwong, chairman of HKEx, said the exchange was pleased with the score, although it showed there was still room for improvement. 'I hope our example will encourage other companies to seek an objective assessment of the quality of their corporate governance,' Mr Lee said.