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THE CORPORATE LAW STUDIES INTEREST GROUP (CoSIG)

The Policy Oriented Corporate Governance Research Fund ("CG Fund") was established in July 2006 with grants from the CLP Group, Ernst & Young, Noble Group Limited and Tricor Services Limited to support the research of Professor C K Low of The Chinese University of Hong Kong on matters pertaining to corporate governance and regulatory framework of capital markets. The tenure of the CG Fund runs through 31 December 2009 and its output to date includes the publication of seven articles in refereed journals in Australia, Hong Kong, England and the United States of America as well as 29 presentations at various fora and the sponsorship of six events.

Envisaged as a two-year pilot project and designed as an inclusive and collaborative forum within the umbrella of the CG Fund, the Corporate Law Studies Interest Group (CoSIG) seeks to bring together individuals of like mind to debate issues of mutual interest within the rubric of corporate law in Hong Kong. The definition of the term ‘corporate law’ is deliberately expansive so as to include company law, securities regulation, legal aspects of corporate finance and corporate governance, as well as insolvency law.

A key distinguishing feature of CoSIG is its deliberate lack of institutional affiliation. In the true spirit of collaboration it aspires to share its intellectual and financial resources with sister universities that are funded by the University Grants Committee in Hong Kong. In particular, it seeks to achieve three broad objectives namely to:

  • foster greater research collaboration within the rubric of corporate law between academics in Hong Kong;
  • actively engage regulators and professionals in policy-oriented research within the rubric of corporate law to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong as an international financial centre; and
  • participate in the design and provision of continuing professional development programmes that effectively blend theory and practice.

The CoSIG Visiting Scholars Programme is a cornerstone of the vision in achieving the foregoing. Renowned corporate law scholars are invited to visit Hong Kong under the auspices of the CG Fund with the objective of enhancing learning through an open exchange of views. Each CoSIG Visiting Scholar delivers three seminars to different audiences during his or her visit namely a CPD Seminar to practitioners, a Research Seminar for academics and graduate students as well as a Dialogue with Regulators.

The following sets out the profiles of the eight CoSIG Visiting Scholars together with the titles of their 22 presentations since the inception of the programme.

1. Professor Deborah DeMott of Duke Law School (7-11 January 2008)

  • presentation titled “Are Outside Directors Guests at the Table?” at a full-day conference with the theme Corporate Governance at the Crossroad organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries (“HKICS”) on 8 January which list of speakers include (in alphabetical order of surnames):

Ashley ALDER, Head of Asia, Herbert Smith
Phillip BALDWIN, Chief Executive, HKICS
Paul CHOW, Chief Executive, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
Paul GO, Head, Risk Advisory Services, Ernst & Young
Peter GREENWOOD, Executive Director, CLP Holdings Limited
Richard LEUNG, Immediate Past President, HKICS & Chairman, Professional Development Committee
Gage McAFEE, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Capital (HK) Limited
Vernon MOORE, Executive Director, CITIC Pacific Limited
Anthony NEOH QC, SC, Former Chief Advisor, CSRC
Raymond NG, Executive Director, Hong Kong Ethics Development Centre, ICAC
Natalia SENG, President, HKICS
James SIU, Executive Director and Group Chief Compliance Officer, Li & Fung (1937) Limited
Christopher TO, Secretary-General, Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre
Andrew TSUI, Chairman, Korn/Ferry International (Hong Kong) Limited
David WEBB, Editor, Webb-site.com
Martin WHEATLEY, Chief Executive Officer, Securities and Futures Commission

  • a CPD Public Lecture titled “Executive Compensation in the United States of America” jointly organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Directors and the Asian Institute of International Financial Law on 10 January.
 

2. Professor Jennifer Hill of the Sydney Law School (19-23 May 2008)

  • CPD Public Lecture titled “The Shifting Balance of Power Between Shareholders and the Board: News Corp Exodus of Delaware and Other Antipodean Tales” jointly hosted by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“HKICPA”) and HKICS on 20 May;
  • Research seminar titled “The Shareholder Empowerment Debate: Lessons from Newscorp’s Exodus to Delaware” hosted by the Law Faculty of the University of Hong Kong (“HKU Law”) on 22 May; and
  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “Evolving Rules of the Game in Corporate Governance Reform” hosted by the Companies Registry on 23 May.

3. Professor Cindy Schipani of the Stephen M Ross School of Business University of Michigan (10-13 June 2008)

  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “Correlating Fiduciary Liability with Responsibility” hosted by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited on 11 June;
  • Research seminar titled “Dating Games in the US Executive Suite: A Scandal Hong Kong Can Avoid” hosted by HKU Law on 12 June; and
  • CPD Public Lecture titled “Backdating Options – Some Lessons to be Learnt from the United States” hosted by the HKICS on 12 June.

4. Professor Roberta Romano of Yale Law School (25-28 June 2008)

  • CPD Public Lecture titled “Sarbanes-Oxley: The Road Ahead” jointly hosted by the HKICPA, HKICS and the Law Society of Hong Kong (“Law Society”) on 26 June;
  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “The Sarbanes-Oxley Act at a Crossroad” hosted by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited on 27 June; and
  • Research seminar titled “Corporate Governance and Performance” jointly hosted by the Executive MBA and Juris Doctor Programmes of The Chinese University of Hong Kong on 27 June.

5. Professor James Cox of Duke Law School (9-13 September 2008)

  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “There are Plaintiffs and there are Plaintiffs – Class Actions in the USA” hosted by the Securities & Futures Commission on 10 September;
  • CPD Public Lecture titled “Auditor Liability in the USA” jointly hosted by the HKICPA, HKICS and Law Society on 12 September; and
  • Research seminar titled “Financial Market Risks and The Law” hosted by Hong Kong Shue Yan University on 13 September.

6. Professor Jesse Fried of Berkeley Law, University of California (1-5 December 2008)

  • CPD Public Lecture titled “Improving Equity Based Pay – A US Perspective” as part of a half day seminar on “Executive Compensation: Does Performance Matter?” organized by HKICS on 2 December. This presentation was followed by a panel discussion comprising (in alphabetical order of surnames):

Alice AU, Managing Partner CEO/Board Practice Asia Heidrick & Struggles

Susie CHEUNG, General Counsel Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited

Roger KING, Non-Executive Director Orient Overseas (International) Limited

Edith SHIH, Head Group General Counsel Hutchison Whampoa Limited

Kelvin WONG, Deputy Managing Director COSCO Pacific Limited

  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “Current Shareholder Bias in Corporate Governance” hosted by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited on 2 December; and
  • Research seminar titled “Current Shareholder Bias in Corporate Governance” hosted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University on 5 December.

7. Professor Bernard Black of University of Texas at Austin School of Law (16-20 February 2009)

  • CPD Public Lecture titled “Due Diligence – Failures and Remedies” jointly organized by HKICPA, HKICS and Law Society on 16 February which was followed by a panel discussion featuring (in alphabetical order of surnames):

Peter GREENWOOD, Group Executive Director – Strategy, CLP Holdings Limited

Robin NICHOLSON, Executive Director, First Pacific Company Limited

  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “Decoupling, Corporate Governance and Systemic Risk” hosted by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on 17 February;
  • Research seminar titled “How Corporate Governance Affects Firm Value: Evidence on Channels from Korea” hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University on 18 February.

8. Professor Katherine Litvak of University of Texas at Austin School of Law (16-20 February 2009)

  • Dialogue with Regulators titled “Effect of Sarbanes-Oxley on US and Foreign Firms” hosted by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on 17 February;
  • Research seminar titled “Factors That Predict Cross Listing Premia” hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University on 18 February.

CoSIG will co-organise a one-day conference on Company Law Reform with the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, The Hong Kong Institute of Chartered Secretaries and The Law Society of Hong Kong on 19 May 2009 at which Professor the Hon K C Chan Secretary for Financial Services & the Treasury will deliver the keynote. The full-day conference will be held at the HKEx Auditorium at Exchange Square and will carry seven CPD points from each of the three professional bodies. Click here for the programme.

For more information on CoSIG and/or its activities please contact C K Low.

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