May 19, 2020

Australia far more lenient on competition law breaches – OECD

OECD
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
Addie Thomes
2 min
Australia far more lenient on competition law breaches – OECD

An OECD report has found that average Australian penalties for competition law breaking are significantly lower than those imposed in other comparable OECD jurisdictions.

The OECD report, Pecuniary Penalties for Competition Law Infringements in Australia, which compared the penalties for companies which breach competition laws in Australia with the EU, the UK, Germany, Japan, Korea and the USA, was released this week.

This has prompted the country’s competition watchdog, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), to rethink its approach to penalising offending organisations.  

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ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said: “The OECD report provides valuable insight and a vital point for debate and discussion about the future of penalties in the context of competition law enforcement in Australia.”

The report found that Australia is particularly lenient in comparison to other OECD countries when it comes to larger firms and long-standing anti-competitive activity, in some cases by a factor of more than 12.

OECD Economist Dr Sean Ennis said: “This difference does not prevent Australia from imposing substantial and deterrent sanctions for competition law violations.

“Clearer guidance on the size of penalties could be useful in Australia to ensure penalties deter and that companies are aware of the likely size of fines.”

The OECD report says that in most OECD countries financial penalties are based on a set methodology which includes sales of the infringing company’s product. In Australia the penalties are determined by the Federal Court following an “instinctive synthesis” of various factors.

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Jun 7, 2021

Business Chief Legend: Ho Ching, CEO of Temasek

hoching
legend
singapore
Temasek
3 min
Singaporean Ho Ching created the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia, before leading Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund to global success

Ask Singaporeans who Ho Ching is, and the majority will answer the ‘wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’. And that’s certainly true. However, she’s also the CEO of Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and one of the world’s largest investment companies.

Well, she is until October 1, 2021, as she recently announced she would be retiring following 16 years as CEO of the investment giant.

Since taking the reins in 2004, two years after joining Temasek as Executive Director, Ho has gradually transformed what was an investment firm wholly owned by Singapore’s Government into an active investor worldwide, splashing out on sectors like life sciences and tech, expanding its physical footprint with 11 offices worldwide (from London to Mumbai to San Francisco) and delivering growth of US$120 billion between 2010-2020.

Described by Temasek chairman Lim Boon Heng as having taken “bold steps to open new pathways in finding the character of the organisations”, Ho is credited with building Temasek’s international portfolio, with China recently surpassing Singapore for the first time.

As global a footprint as Ho may have however, she has her feet firmly planted on Singapore soil and is committed to this tiny city-state where she was not only educated (excluding a year at Stanford) but has remained throughout her long and illustrious career – first as an engineer at the Ministry of Defence in 1976, where she met her husband, and most notably as CEO of Singapore Technologies, where she spent a decade, and where she is credited with repositioning and growing the group into the largest listed defence engineering company in Asia.

It’s little wonder Ho has featured on Forbes’ annual World’s Most Powerful Women list for the past 16 years, in 2007 as the third most powerful woman in business outside the US, and in 2020 at #30 worldwide.

But it’s not all business. Ho has a strong track record in Singapore public service, serving as chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research and as deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board; and is a committed philanthropist with a focus on learning difficulties and healthcare.

As the pandemic kicked off, she not only led active investments in technology and life sciences, with German COVID-19 vaccine developer BioNTech among the most recent additions to Temasek’s portfolio, but through the Temasek Foundation – the firm’s philanthropic arm which supports vulnerable groups close to Ho’s heart, handed out hand sanitiser and face masks.

So, you would be forgiven for thinking that at age 68, Ho might simply relax. But in March 2021, just as she announced her retirement from Temasek, Ho joined the Board of Directors of Wellcome Leap, a US-based non-profit organisation that’s dedicated to accelerating innovations in global health. Not ready to put her firmly grounded feet up yet it seems.

 

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