BlackRock Says Many Hong Kong Firms Ignore Minority Shareholders

Hong Kong-listed companies, often dominated by families with substantial stakes, have been slow to address minority shareholder concerns, according to BlackRock Inc. About one in four companies in the city have fewer than 30 percent of their shares that are tradable, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and about 100 of those have a market value of more than $1 billion. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, wants companies in Hong Kong to improve corporate governance standards and how they interact with shareholders, rather than simply meet requirements set by regulators. “Shareholder engagement is quite new in Hong Kong,” Pru Bennett, Hong Kong-based head of corporate governance in the Asia-Pacific region, said in an interview. “If you look at Australia where you’ve got a market of really predominantly widely held companies, they have been engaging with their shareholders for decades.”

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