Singapore Exchange (SGX) unveiled the winners of the second edition of its SGX Orb Awards in August. These awards seek to recognise excellence in financial news and content in an evolving media landscape.
Following the theme of “Connecting Perspectives and Inspiring Conversations,” the initiative builds on SGX’s efforts to enhance financial education and empower individuals to become savvier investors. The awards are open to all local and overseas producers of content that demonstrate relevance to Singapore as a financial hub.
The top entries can be found at www2.sgx.com/sgx-orb-awards. Here’s what the winners had to say:
Story of the Year – Securities
Global equity and fixed income markets have had to contend with unprecedented change and uncertainty, from de-globalisation to heightened volatility and an increasing focus on sustainability. What does this mean for investors? This year’s winner focuses on corporate governance, which remains an important touchstone for investment decision-makers around the world.
Buffett’s methods ought to be as much of an inspiration to corporate boards as to investors (13 May 2019, The Edge Singapore)
Ben Paul, Editor-at-Large at The Edge Singapore
“Being recognised at the SGX Orb Awards was a great honour. Our piece titled ‘Buffett’s methods ought to be as much of an inspiration to corporate boards as to investors’ was a comment on the importance of corporate governance, which has been a key theme in our reporting over the past year. We contrasted the manner in which billionaire investor Warren Buffett candidly explained how value was created or lost at Berkshire Hathaway to his fellow shareholders every year with the way that most other public companies report their financial results. The point we were making is that rules and regulations can only achieve so much in fostering good corporate governance. It is much more important that public companies are run by people who are deeply interested in their businesses, and who are prepared to treat minority investors as co-owners.”
Story of the Year – Derivatives
Commodity trading is being digitalised and this year’s winner tells the story from Singapore, one of the world’s most important hubs for raw materials from oil to rubber to iron ore. It is not just technology for the sake of disruption: for this traditionally opaque industry, digitalisation is making an impact on transparency and risk management.
A multitrillion-dollar industry is getting turned on its head (23 July 2018, CNBC.com)
Huileng Tan, Reporter at CNBC.com
“I am pleasantly surprised and honoured that I have won this award for the second time. The story about technological disruption in the commodity industry was a difficult one to source and to write in a way that would be accessible to a general readership. I am glad that it was well-received. These are challenging times for the media industry that is now operating on a 24-hour news cycle, so I am thankful for understanding editors who give me the time and the space required to work on such reports. I have been in this line for a long time and still see ups and downs all the time, so I hope my perseverance serves as a small reminder for younger journalists to stay the course.”
SGX is celebrating its 20th anniversary, so for this special category, content producers shared their thoughts on what a financial marketplace of the future may look like. This year’s winner dives into sustainability reporting: for many companies around the world, it is no longer just about turning a profit, but putting ESG into practice to create long-term value for shareholders.
Sustainability is key to sustain a thriving SGX for the next 20 years (July 2019, The Edge Singapore)
Trinity Chua, Former Assistant Editor at The Edge Singapore
“I think a lot of companies treat ESG like a marketing tool. I have had investors laugh in my face when I bring up ESG. It is, to them, a way to appease overly zealous institutional investors. It is a way to look good in front of middle-class consumers. But the truth is, for a long time, no one put a price on the damage we cause to the environment, communities and other stakeholders. Often, profitability is our only benchmark because corporate KPIs are seldom tied to externalities. Although I am heartened that more and more companies are beginning to realise this and take serious efforts to change the way they do things, these companies are few and far between. Presenting a sustainability report once a year isn't going to cut it.”
The Visual Treat
For newcomers to investing, particularly the younger generation, a world of financial jargon and an ever-increasing range of investment choices can be daunting. This year’s winner provides first-timers a platform – on Facebook – to arm themselves with the essentials in financial education. Its creative use of infographics aims to entertain and help kick-start the consumer’s investment journey.
The Woke Salaryman
He Ruiming and Goh Wei Choon, Co-founders at The Woke Salaryman
“We're super happy to win this SGX Orb Award and meet up with like-minded people all working towards the same goal of financial education. Of course, it's also nice to get some validation for the effort that we put into our page. More importantly, we think it kind of paves the way for other artists and smaller outfits to talk about personal finance – we hope more people can join the conversation. The more people talk about it, the more Singaporeans will benefit. To people starting out, the world of finance and investing is insanely daunting. It's easy for people to tune out simply because things get too complicated and simply give up. By adding more visual elements and tiny jokes in our content, we want to sustain people interest in getting financially independent or financially free. More than telling people how they can get there, equally important is telling people that it is in fact possible.”
The Hidden Gem
Unearthing a hidden gem and not following the herd are winning strategies for the smart money everywhere. In markets around the world, there are stocks that are overlooked by the professionals and under-covered by analysts – and Singapore has no lack of opportunities for savvy investors ready to do their homework for an outsized return.
Isetan needs more than a store refresh (6 May 2019, The Business Times)
Marissa Lee, Financial Journalist at The Business Times
“Undervalued companies are not necessarily a bad thing because it means that investors can hunt for turnaround stories. Of course we can never know for certain if a company’s really a gem or still a long way from it, and this daily tug of war between different bull and bear perceptions is also what makes the Singapore market fun to track. In my experience as a reporter I’ve found that there’s still a very strong punting scene in Singapore, so active investing is definitely not dead. In my story on Isetan, I also tried to bring the discussion back to corporate governance. I believe that responsible boards of directors who do their duty to look out for minority investors can create value for all. Finally, the great thing about investing in your local stock market is the opportunity to attend annual general meetings where you get to meet the management and the board, and experience how they interact with shareholders, which can tell you more than you might see in any annual report.”
At a time when trust and engagement have never been more important to news consumers globally, which investment website or blogger is your go-to for independent content? This year’s winner demonstrated versatility in covering topics that are useful to rookies and veterans alike. The goal: to empower everyday investors to make educated decisions with their money.
Timothy Ho, Co-founder and Managing Editor at DollarsAndSense
“For DollarsAndSense to win the SGX Orb Awards for best GoTo.com site in 2019 means a lot to us. We have been writing extensively on personal finance and investment-related articles since we started in 2012. Winning the award is a good testimonial to what the team has done, and serves as great motivation for us to continue striving to do our best to support investor education in Singapore.”