The Hong Kong Society of Accountants (HKSA) is considering issuing guidelines to encourage public bodies and other non-profit making companies to enhance their corporate governance standards. Judy Tsui Sin-lai, deputy chairman of the HKSA's corporate governance committee, said the focus of the committee this year would be on corporate governance of the public bodies. 'Hong Kong's financial market has seen a lot of improvement in the corporate governance standard of listed companies in the past few years. However, there are not many people taking any notice of the corporate governance standards of public bodies,' Professor Tsui said. She said there were no rules or benchmarks to measure whether public bodies were working efficiently, nor any rules on what information these companies should disclose. 'These public bodies are using taxpayers' money . . . it is important to have some sort of benchmark to help these organisations improve their corporate governance standards to safeguard the interests of the public.' She said the HKSA's corporate governance committee would work with the public bodies and other sectors to formulate guidelines for them to follow. The initiative would cover more than 100 public bodies wholly or partly funded by the Government. They would include the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Securities and Futures Commission, the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, the Airport Authority and the Hospital Authority. With the Government struggling to cut down expenses to contain a predicted HK$60 billion budget deficit, it was important to make sure public bodies were working effectively, Professor Tsui said. In the past few years the HKSA corporate governance committee has issued guidelines on corporate governance for listed companies. Professor Tsui said some of the rules applied to listed companies might be suitable for the public bodies, but not in all cases. 'For a listed company, you could determine whether management had fulfilled their duty by looking at the profit or return on equity,' she said. 'But for public bodies, which are not intended to make a profit, we need to find out other measures and benchmarks for them.' Professor Tsui said the benchmarks would be designed to show whether management had used the public money effectively and fulfilled its public duty. If Hong Kong could work out standards or guidelines in public governance, Professor Tsui believes that would make it a pioneer in the area and help increase the competitiveness of the Hong Kong market.