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Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday October 30, 2013 MYT 8:43:05 AM
THERE is a growing consensus that lawyers should be gatekeepers who blow the whistle on dubious corporate practices, said Attorney-General Steven Chong.
Speaking at the three-day 26th LawAsia Conference at Suntec convention centre, he called for a “serious consideration” of the idea, explaining that courts and regulators, across various jurisdictions, are expecting more from lawyers now.
Clients may also be demanding more of their lawyers, he added.
He said that “the ground has already begun to shift”.
Meanwhile, expectations have seemingly risen in Britain for market players such as hedge-fund bosses, and in Australia, for in-house counsel, said Chong.
In Singapore, professional advisers must be “diligent” in processing information from their clients and “proactive” in making further inquiries, added Chong.
He cited the censuring of OCBC Bank in 2008 by the Securities Industry Council, over its role in a botched takeover bid for company Jade Technologies.
The council found that the bank fell short of the standard expected of it under the Takeover Code as an adviser to the deal.
The bank had not verified independently the would-be buyer’s finances, or its shareholding in Jade.
“Is there any legitimate reason why the category of such professional advisers should not encompass lawyers, in-house or otherwise?” asked Chong. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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