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China Mobile AGM speech

Home / Press Centre / China Mobile AGM speech

Christine Chow
25 May 2017
EOS

Good morning Chairman, Directors of the Board and the executive team,

My name is Christine Chow. I am an Associate Director in the Engagement team of Hermes Investment Management. Our stewardship platform represent more than 40 institutional investors with over US$300 billion of assets, 28 of whom are shareholders in China Mobile.

Firstly, we welcome the significant improvements made by the company in ESG disclosure, especially over the last year.  The company has attained Band A in CDP’s climate change disclosure survey (Environment), published a policy and corresponding due diligence guide for responsible supply chain (Social) and publicly disclosed the terms of reference of the nomination committee (Governance).

We are however disappointed to see that the disclosure on dividend strategy has not yet met our expectations.  We would appreciate clear guidance on China Mobile’s overall approach to the use of cash which covers both strategic investment for growth and the free cash for rewarding shareholders. As a representative of long term investors, we would like to see improved disclosure on the long term strategic development of the company that supports the efficient use of resources, not just the dividend payout.   

My question for the board is as follows,

’Since the board evaluation, we have seen initial changes in board composition. However, the telecoms industry is going through revolutionary changes. Given the company’s top 3 materiality issues are network quality, information security and privacy and customer rights protection (as outlined in the 2016 sustainability report), what additional talents do you plan to bring to the board in the next 3-5 years?  We appreciate that Paul Chow with experience at Cybersport, was brought in a few years ago, but how do you plan to bring in additional talents?

Global companies tend to create a skill matrix when evaluating board refreshment requirements.  Has the company conducted a matrix for planning as well? Thank you.’

 

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Christine Chow Dr Christine Chow is responsible for the financial services, technology and extractive sectors in Asia ex-Japan. She has 19 years of experience in portfolio management, research and investment consulting. Christine's PhD thesis on shareholder engagement for responsible investment was short-listed for a UN award in Sweden for industry relevance and academic excellence. She is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Finance at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She is a governor of the London School of Economics and a member of the university’s investment committee. She was also a member of the greater China committee of the Hong Kong Retirement Funds Association between 2014-2016. Christine has worked at a number of multinational corporations such as Merrill Lynch, Schroders and Hewitt. In the 1990s, she was responsible for establishing strategic partnerships in fund management for the Schroders Group, especially in Mainland China. Christine is a graduate of the London School of Economics and the University of Melbourne. She also completed an executive education course on financial engineering at Stanford University.
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