Management Dialogue
Margaret Yan: Guardian of Compliance and Corporate Governance 151
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    Starting this issue, Connections will be bringing you a backstage peek into the working lives of some of our Company's management members. Find out more about their work. Discover what drives and inspires them as leaders. Get insights into their management philosophy and how the different departments in our Company work with a unified vision of making Hang Lung the most admired commercial property developer in mainland China.This issue, we welcome Margaret Yan, Director – General Counsel & Company Secretary. She is responsible for the legal advisory work and company secretarial services for our two listed companies.


    The Law & Our Ethical Responsibilities

    To many, the role of legal counsel probably sounds like a boring one, focusing on pages and pages of laws and regulations and telling people how to comply with them. But actually, the job nowadays is much more stimulating, especially in a Company like Hang Lung. Yan elaborates, "Our portfolio spans from Hong Kong to the Mainland. The laws and regulations are different in every city, and in order to provide effective legal counsel we need to understand the local issues." "The philosophy, We Do It Right points to the most important principle of integrity, which is something the Company holds dear, and which directs our strategic choices," says Yan.


    Laws, guidelines, and regulations change at a fast pace at national, regional, and city levels, and Yan needs to keep abreast of all of these changes and how they impact the way we do business. With a team of talented individuals, Yan is responsible for responding to the changing legal risks that the Company faces in every area of its operations. "The team takes part in regular professional training and at times we solicit help from external lawyers to get their legal advice." Yan continues, "Clear communication about changes to laws and regulations is essential to keep every team member in the loop and aware of risks related to his/her work. We do this through the 'Legal Quarterly Update' which presents a summary of how any changes affect our business."


    Corporate Governance & Our Commitment to Integrity

    The other side of Yan's work involves her in the complicated world of Corporate Governance as the Company Secretary for the two listed companies. So, what exactly does a company secretary do? Yan answers, "It's about working with the Board of Directors, management, and shareholders. It's also about dealing with government and regulatory bodies, which supervise the way large public listed companies like ours are run."


    Good corporate governance is vital for the Company's well-being and continuous success. At the center is the tenet, We Do It Right which guides us to operate our business transparently, with integrity and honesty. "It's also about building trust," says Yan, "at every level, we operate in the same way. Starting with our Chairman, Board of Directors, management team and ultimately the Company as a whole, we are accountable to our shareholders and to society at large. This accountability leads us to work with the highest standards of integrity, under a system of checks and balances that ensures sound governance."


    Corporate governance not only affects the Company at the highest levels but also every member of the Hang Lung family. From timely financial reporting and the release of price-sensitive announcements and disclosures, to the planning and construction of new properties and the Company's work in the area of environmental protection, Margaret and her team have an impact on the way each of us works. She describes how the team instills the principles of good corporate governance into our corporate culture, "through leadership by example, training, and effective controls."


    Sometimes it might seem that a lot of rules and regulations control the way we work, but now we can see more clearly that they are in place for the benefit of the individual and the Company as a whole. By consistently 'doing it right' as individuals, we allow ourselves to grow with the strength that integrity provides. And as we grow as individuals, so too does the Company grow towards becoming the most admired commercial property developer in mainland China.

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