Corporate Governance

Extracted from Annual Report 2023

Sarine’s shares were listed for trade on the SGX-ST on the 8th of April 2005.

The Company’s corporate governance practices are described with specific reference to the Code. The Company has exercised its best efforts to adhere to the principles and guidelines of the Code. In the few cases where the Company did not do so, the Company has explicitly specified the respective background, circumstances and reasons.


Principle 1: Board’s Conduct of its Affairs

The Board of Directors of the Company (the "Board") is entrusted with the responsibility for the overall management of our Company. The Board’s primary roles are: to (i) provide entrepreneurial leadership and set strategic objectives, which should include appropriate focus on value creation, innovation and sustainability; (ii) ensure that the necessary resources are in place for the Company to meet its strategic objectives; (iii) establish and maintain a sound risk management framework to effectively monitor and manage risks, and to achieve an appropriate balance between risks and Company performance; (iv) constructively challenge the management of the Company (the "Management") and review its performance; (v) instill an ethical corporate culture and ensure that the Company’s values, standards, policies and practices are consistent with the culture; and (vi) ensure transparency and accountability to key stakeholder groups.

All directors are well aware of their professional and fiduciary duties and responsibilities as officers of the Company (including their duties of care and duties of trust). In particular, and in accordance with applicable law, directors who may be deemed as having a personal interest in any matter related to the Company disclose such (actual or deemed) conflict of interest and recuse themselves from discussions and decisions involving such matters.

The Board is authorised to delegate some of its authorities to permanent or ad-hoc Board committees. The Board has thus established the Audit Committee, the Remuneration Committee, the Nominating Committee, the Executive Committee and, as of 2023, the ESG Committee. The tasks, powers and authorities of each of these committees have been set forth in each committee's charter. The terms of reference play an important role in ensuring good corporate governance in the Company and within the Group and will be reviewed by the respective Board committees on a regular basis to enhance the effectiveness of these Board committees. The Board has also authorised its senior officers to issue shares upon the exercise of options under the Company's share option plans. Notwithstanding any delegation of powers as aforesaid, the Board remains responsible, at all times, for any acts or omissions of any of the Board committees.

In line with applicable law, the Board is entrusted with all matters related to the Company's share capital, assumes the responsibility for the approval of the Company's financial statements and sets the Company's goals and policies. The Board also appoints the CEO and oversees the performance of his or her duties.

Within this framework, the Board discusses and resolves any matters, which require the Board’s approval under any applicable law (including, without limitation, interested persons’ transactions) and/or any activities conducted pursuant to the guidelines set by the Board. In general, any material issue concerning Sarine (e.g. strategic planning, material research and development milestones, risk assessment and risk management, material market and/or business development issues, potential material transactions, substantial capital investments, etc.) is brought to the attention of the Board.

The Nominating Committee and the Board also consider multiple board representations of members of the Board, so to ascertain that Board members have sufficient time and attention necessary for the exercise of their duties as directors (the Nominating Committee and the Board have considered the directorship positions of Mr. Lim, Ms. Shine, Mr. Sin and Ms. Zruya-Hashai and are of the opinion that such do not interfere with their service as independent directors of the Company).

Please see below further discussion of the powers, authorities and activities of the Nominating Committee, the Remuneration Committee, and the Audit Committee also in Sections 4, 6 and 10 below.

The Board meets regularly and in any event no less frequently than five times every calendar year. The Company's Articles of Association (the "Articles") and the Israeli Companies law allow the convening of meetings of the Board using conference calls or any other device allowing each director participating in such meeting to hear all the other directors participating in such meeting. Board materials and Committees’ materials are disseminated to the members of the Board and to the members of the respective Board Committees in a timely manner, prior to each meeting.

The attendance (in person or remotely) of the directors in the Board meetings held in 2023 was as follows (in addition, a written resolution was passed on one occasion):

The attendance (in person or remotely) of the directors in the Board committees' meetings held in 2023 was as follows (in addition, one written resolution was passed by each of the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee on one occasion):

As a rule, the Board has delegated to Management the authority to approve transactions within certain thresholds, as set forth in the Board's respective written resolutions. Notwithstanding the above: (a) all strategic matters are brought before the Board; and (b) the Board committees and Management remain accountable to and report back to the Board. Minutes of meetings of all Board Committees in FY2023 are available to the Board, and the Chair of each Board Committee provided updates at Board meetings in FY2023 on matters discussed in Board Committee meetings.

The Management of the Company provides the Board with interim and periodical (quarterly/annual) financial reports (in line with the SGX RegCo’s announcement of 9 January 2020, the Company publishes semi-annual and annual financial statements, but the Board discusses the Company’s performance at least on a quarterly basis), budget control reports and additional financial and operational information. The Board has separate and independent access to senior Management of the Company. Requests for information from the Board are dealt with promptly. The Board is informed on all material events and transactions as and when they occur. Professional advisors (e.g. with regard to securitiesrelated matters, compliance, insurance, cyber-security, audit, etc.) may be appointed to advise the Board, or (in special circumstances – as provided by Israeli law) any of its members, if the Board or any individual member thereof seeks independent professional advice (under Israeli law, the retention of an independent counsel by a director is subject to the Board or the court's approval, as applicable; when considering a director's request in this regard, the court will consider the adequacy of the advice rendered by the Board's counsel(s) and the fees charged by an independent counsel, in view of the matter in question and the Company's financial situation).

The Board is involved in the appointment and removal of the Company secretary. The Company secretary (who also serves as an external legal counsel to the Company) attends all Board and Board committees' meetings and is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures are followed and for the recording of the minutes. Together with the Chairman and the Management, the Company secretary is responsible for compliance with the applicable laws, rules and regulations in this regard.

All Board members are instructed and advised, on an ongoing basis, with regard to their roles, responsibilities, powers and duties. Such direction includes dissemination of written materials, prepared by the Company and its counsels, periodical updates with regard to legal and corporate governance developments affecting the Board and the directors, personal communication with the Company's secretary and ongoing discussions at Board meetings.

Principle 2: Board Composition and Guidance

The Nominating Committee of the Board, in its meeting of 5 January 2020, opined that the following general criteria should be applied to the Board of Directors composition:

  • The Board should comprise 7 to 9 directors. The current structure (7 directors) is sufficient and effective. The Board may consider adding additional directors, on a case-by-case basis, giving proper weight to the potential contribution of the additional member/s visà-vis the effects on the effectiveness of the Board.
  • The majority of the Board should be comprised of independent directors.
  • The Board should be comprised of directors having appropriate expertise and experience in areas related to the operations of the Group. Specifically, if 7 directors, preferably three from the diamond industry, preferably from the various segments thereof (upstream production (mining), midstream polishing and wholesale trade, and downstream retail trade), preferably two with relevant technological background, at least one with accounting / financial review and reporting expertise and at least one with corporate governance expertise. If 9 directors, an additional one from the diamond industry and an additional one with relevant technological background.
  • The Board should be gender diversified.

The Board has ratified the above guidelines in 2021 and again in 2023 and incorporated them into the Board’s diversity policy, and based on such the Board is of the opinion that its structure and composition are in line with such policy and duly address the Company's needs and plans.

As of the date of this report, the Board comprises seven directors, the majority of who are independent (two of those directors, namely Ms. Neta Zruya-Hashai and Mr. Sin Boon Ann also qualify as “External Directors”, under Israeli law) and six directors out of the seven are NonExecutive Directors. Thus, the Board is able to exercise objective judgment, independently from Management and no individual or small group of individuals can dominate the decisions of the Board.

The Board is of the opinion that its current size is adequate. However, the Board may consider the addition of up to two additional directors in the future, optimally with strong technological and/or business development record, taking into account the optimal Board's size on the one hand, and the benefits of diversity and complementary expertise on the Board on the other hand.

The Board committees reflect an appropriate balance and mix of skills, knowledge, experience, and other aspects of diversity such as gender, nationality and age, so as to avoid groupthink and foster constructive debate. In accordance with the criteria noted above, Ms. Shine has vast experience in the upstream production segment of the diamond industry, having had an extensive career at DeBeers culminating in being CEO of its rough diamond selling arm, Mr. Eshed has over 50 years' experience in the midstream polishing segment, and Mr. Lim has extensive ongoing experience in the downstream retail segment, being the CEO of a chain of retail outlets throughout the APAC market. Mr. Glinert and Mr. Levami have together close to a century of experience in various high-tech endeavors in assorted fields. Ms. Zruya-Hashai has broad accounting and financial review knowledge, having been a partner in a big four accounting firm for many years, and Mr. Sin has many years of experience on corporate governance issues, having served in senior positions in the legal practice in Singapore, focused on capital markets, public listings, etc. Clearly, the Board draws from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, ages, genders, competencies and disciplines: from the diamond and gemstones industry (including “upstream”, “midstream” and “downstream” segments of the industry) the high-tech industry, the business community, accounting, legal practice and management. As noted above, the Company is also considering seeking additional directors who will enrich and diversify the Board.

More information with regard to the directors' experience may be found in the Board of Directors section of this Annual Report.

Ms. Varda Shine was initially appointed by the 2020 Annual General Meeting as the Lead Independent Director and was reappointed at the 2023 Annual General Meeting.

The Nominating Committee and the Board have reviewed the independence of each of the Company’s independent directors and applied the Code’s definition (as well as the definitions of Israeli law) of independent director qualifications in its review.

As noted below (under the discussion re Principle 4), according to the Articles, each director shall serve, unless the Annual General Meeting appointing him or her provides otherwise, until the third Annual General Meeting following the Annual General Meeting at which such director was appointed, or his or her earlier resignation or removal pursuant to the provisions of the Articles. The current directors were elected in 2023.

The directors of the Company in office at the date of this report are:

There are no permanent alternate directors (in the past alternate directors have been appointed in very few cases and only for specific meetings; during 2023 no alternate director was appointed).

The Non-Executive Directors participate actively in developing strategy and in reviewing the performance of the Company.

The independent directors also meet without the presence of the Management of the Company, to the extent necessary or advisable.

Principle 3: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

The Executive Chairman and the CEO of the Company are separate individuals. They are not related.

According to the resolution of the Board:

“The Company is of the view that a distinct separation of responsibilities between the Chairman and the CEO will indeed ensure an appropriate balance of power, increased accountability and greater capacity of the Board for independent decision making.

As the most senior executive in the Company, the CEO bears executive responsibility for the Company’s day-to-day business according to the policies set by the Board and subject to the Board’s directives, and works with the Board on strategic planning, business development and generally charting the growth of the Company.

The CEO shall report to the Board on a periodic basis and shall seek the Board's advice and consent.

The Chairman bears responsibility for the proper functioning of the Board and the Board's committees (and of the Non-Executive Directors in particular), maintains on-going supervision over the Management of the Company and over the flow of information from the Company’s Management to the Board, and assists in promoting high standards of corporate governance and ensuring compliance with the Company's guidelines of corporate governance.

The Chairman ensures that Board meetings are held when necessary and sets the Board meetings agenda in consultation with the CEO.

The Chairman ensures effective communication between the Board and the Company's shareholders.”

Ms. Varda Shine is the Lead Independent Director. As Lead Independent Director, she is the principal liaison on Board issues between the Independent Directors and the Chairman. She is available to shareholders where they have concerns in which contact through the normal channels of the Executive Chairman and Executive Directors has failed to resolve or is inappropriate.

The Board’s Executive Committee (comprised of Messrs. Glinert and Levami and Ms. Shine) meets regularly with the CEO to discuss strategic matters. As noted above, the Executive Committee serves as an advisory committee only and as an interface between the CEO and the Board. All members of the Executive Committee have broad experience in the Group's spheres of endeavour along with extensive expertise in technological development and/or the diamond industry.

Principle 4: Board Membership

According to the Articles, each director shall serve, unless the Annual General Meeting appointing him or her provides otherwise, until the third Annual General Meeting following the Annual General Meeting at which such director was appointed, or his or her earlier resignation or removal pursuant to the provisions of the Articles. A director who has completed his or her term of service or has been removed as aforesaid shall be eligible for re-election. The directors who qualify as “External Directors” may be removed from office only if they no longer qualify to serve as such.

The Nominating Committee comprises four directors, the majority of whom, including the Chairman, is independent. As at the date of this Report, the Nominating Committee members are:

Our Nominating Committee is responsible for:

  1. the review of succession plans for directors, in particular the appointment and/or replacement of the Chairman, the CEO and key management personnel;

  2. the process and criteria for evaluation of the performance of the Board, its board committees and directors;

  3. the review of training and professional development programmes for the Board and its directors; and

  4. the appointment and re-appointment of directors (including alternate directors, if any).

In performing its duties, the Nominating Committee considers the considerations set forth in Principles 1 & 2.

The Nominating Committee determined, based on information provided to it by all independent directors, that all directors designated as Independent Directors are indeed independent.

The Nominating Committee has also evaluated the performance of the Board as a whole and the performance of each member of the Board in particular (based, among others, on questionnaires filled by each director) and determined that all directors have been adequately carrying out their duties as directors of the Company.

Based on the information provided to the Company by the members of the Board, the following directors hold the following directorship positions in publicly traded companies and/or other commitments:

The Nominating Committee is of the view that all directors are able to and have adequately carried out their duties as directors of the Company, notwithstanding such other directorships and/or principal commitments. With reference to Mr. Sin Boon Ann, the Company noted that Mr. Sin retired from his former full-time positions as a Deputy Managing Director of the Corporate & Finance Department and the Co-head of the Capital Markets Practice in Drew & Napier LLC. and as member of the Singapore Parliament. Hence, given Mr. Sin’s professional record, after having considered all aspects of Mr. Sin’s directorship, e.g., his experience and expertise, his other positions in other corporations, the fact that the Company may even benefit from Mr. Sin’s directorship in other corporations, given Mr. Sin’s exposure to additional schools of thought and management, and his ability to share such any general insights gained from such positions (without sharing any non-public information, of course) with the Company, the Nominating Committee and the Board are of the opinion that Mr. Sin is able to diligently discharge his duties as a member of the Board in general and as an independent director in particular.

Principle 5: Board Performance

Our Nominating Committee decides how the Board's performance is to be evaluated and proposes objective performance criteria, subject to the approval of the Board, which are used to assess the degree to which the Board enhances long-term shareholder value.

Each member of the Board evaluated the performance of the Board as a whole. The Board assessment was conducted by way of a questionnaire (“Questionnaire”). The assessment examined the Board’s role, composition, and its performance against a number of defined criteria. Feedback and comments received from the directors were reviewed by the Nominating Committee. The Questionnaire covered areas such as Board composition, information management, Board processes, accountability, succession planning, top management, investor relations, managing the Company’s performance, standard of conduct, directors’ development and management and risk assessment. If the score for a particular section or question in the Questionnaire was consistently low, the Board proactively addressed the area of concern, with a view to strengthen processes around it and improve the scoring in the future.

The aggregate (and anonymised) results were submitted to our Nominating Committee, who conducted a discussion based on same. The Lead Independent Directors has also discussed with other members of the Board the performance of the Board as whole and the performance of the Chairman of the Board in particular. No external facilitators were used in the assessment of the Board, its Board Committees and the individual directors (it should be noted that given the company's unique position as an Israeli company, incorporated under Israeli law and traded in Singapore, with directors from three jurisdictions, it is doubtful whether there are any external consulting firms which may fully address such complexity).

Principle 6: Procedures for Developing Remuneration Policies

The Remuneration Committee comprises 5 directors, the majority of whom is independent. As at the date of this report, the Remuneration Committee members are:

Our Remuneration Committee recommends to our Board of Directors a framework of remuneration for our directors and key executives and recommends specific remuneration packages for each Executive Director and the CEO. All aspects of directors' and key executives’ remuneration, including but not limited to directors' fees, salaries, allowances and bonuses, options and benefits in kind are dealt with by our Remuneration Committee. The Remuneration Committee and the Board rely, among other things, on periodical remuneration surveys conducted by independent Israeli remuneration experts (such as Zviran Compensation and Benefits Solutions), and on general insights with regard to the competitive environment in which the Company operates, and the current trends regarding employees’ recruitment and retention. Each member of our Remuneration Committee abstains from voting on any resolutions in respect of his/her remuneration package. The remuneration of our independent directors, who are deemed also as “External Directors” according to the provisions of the Israeli Companies, is also subject to the limitations set by Israeli law.

The Company's overall remuneration policy and specific remuneration packages for the directors and key executives were presented to the General Meeting and approved by it at the Annual General Meeting held on 27 April 2021. Further adjustments of specific remuneration packages were approved at the Annual General Meeting held on 26 April 2022. The Company's new remuneration policy and the proposed remuneration packages for the years 2024-2026 are now being brought to the shareholders' approval in the Company's Annual General Meeting, scheduled for 24 April 2024 (the "2024 AGM").

Principle 7: Level and Mix of Remuneration

The Company’s remuneration policy is tailored to the specific role and circumstances of each of the directors and key management personnel, so as to ensure an appropriate remuneration level and mix that recognises the performance, involvement, potential and responsibilities of these individuals.

A certain portion of the officers’ and the executive directors’ remuneration is performance-related and takes account of the Company’s mediumterm and long-term Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The Company has in place an Employee Share Option Plan (which was approved by the Company's General Meeting, held on 20 April 2015- the “2015 Plan”.) that serves to provide a longer-term incentive better aligned with long-term performance of the Company and of the directors, officers and employees. Details of such plan may be found in the Company’s Annual Report for the year ended on December 31, 2014.

As set forth in the Company’s Remuneration Policy, the Board has set guidelines concerning, among other things, eligibility to receive share options (based on performance and time of service with the Company), vesting periods (typically over one-to-four years from the date of grant) and the minimum and maximum amounts of share options to be granted (based on seniority and expertise). Executive Directors, senior officers and key employees are also granted performance-based options, to be vested over one-to-four years, based upon the achievement of business goals.

The Company’s performance-based equity grants include contractual provisions allowing the reclaiming of incentive components of remuneration from executive directors and from officers in cases of misstatement of financial results.

The Company has also initiated a Total Shareholder Return (TSR) incentivisation program - intended to incentivise senior management to generate higher returns to the Company's shareholders.

The Executive Directors' remuneration package and the key Management personnel’s remuneration framework are structured in a way that links rewards to corporate and individual performance. Cash bonuses and share options are linked, to a great extent, to the achievement of the Company's strategic goals.

The review of remuneration packages also takes into consideration the pay and employment conditions within the industry (in this context – the Israeli high-tech industry, which is highly competitive) and the long-term interests of the Group. The review covers all aspects of remuneration including salaries, fees, allowances, cash bonuses and share options.

The Remuneration Committee’s recommendations are submitted for endorsement by the entire Board, and, where required under law, are also brought to the shareholders' approval.

Remuneration of independent directors is set according to the applicable laws and regulations and at a level commensurate with their prior experience and level of responsibility, after taking into account industry benchmarks.

The Company believes that the current remuneration of independent directors is at a level that will not compromise the independence of such directors.

It should be noted, that the two Non-Executive Directors are also shareholders of the Company (holding between 3% to 4% of the Company's shares each).

Further information about the Company’s current remuneration policy may be found in the Company’s 2020 Annual Report. The Company's proposed remuneration policy is attached to the Notice of Annual General Meeting.

Principle 8: Disclosure of Remuneration

The remuneration (including performance cash-based incentives and non-cash option compensation) paid and accrued by us and our subsidiaries to each of our directors, our CEO and our top five (in terms of amount of remuneration) employees (not being directors) for services rendered to us in all capacities during 2023, were as follows:

The aggregate remuneration paid to the persons who held the top five key Management positions (and who are not directors or the CEO) for the year ended 31 December 2023 was S$ 1,922,000 (including the aggregate fair value of non-cash option compensation).

The Company’s 2024 AGM will be requested to approve the remuneration of the Chairman of the Board and CEO for the year 2024.

Any future arrangements concerning the remuneration of our key executives shall be brought to the review of the Remuneration Committee and Board of Directors.

Incentive-based compensation which is linked to the Company's business results is based on audited financial results and may be corrected after the fact (and duly reimbursed by the beneficiary), if subsequent audits find errors which call for restatements of results.

During 2023, all share options granted under the 2015 Plan were granted at the Market Price (as such term is defined in the 2015 Plan). Further details with regard to the options granted by the Company may be found in the "Directors Report" section of the Annual Report.

During 2023 the Company had no employees who are substantial shareholders of the Company, or are immediate family members of a director, the CEO or a substantial shareholder of the Company, and whose remuneration exceeded S$100,000 during the year.

None of the Company's agreements with its Executive Directors and/or key employees include any overly generous termination-related clauses. Except as required by law, the Company does not grant overly long termination notice periods and/or any other termination-related benefits.

None of the directors participate in decisions on their own remuneration.

Principle 9: Accountability and Audit, Risk Management and Internal Controls

The Board is accountable to the Company’s shareholders. The Board provides the shareholders with periodical, and to the extent necessary and/or required – immediate, reports with regard to the business, financial and other aspects of the Company’s activities.

The Board acknowledges that it is responsible for the governance of risks and the overall internal control framework but recognises that no cost-effective internal control system will preclude all errors and irregularities, as a system is designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives and can provide only reasonable but not absolute assurance against the occurrence of material errors or poor judgement in decision making.

As the Company does not have a Risk Management Committee, the Board, Audit Committee and Management assume the responsibility of the risk management function. Management reviews regularly the Group’s business and operational activities to identify areas of significant risks as well as appropriate measures to control and mitigate these risks. Management reviews all significant policies and procedures and highlights all significant matters to the Board and the Audit Committee.

The Company also invests substantial efforts in maintaining and securing sustainable growth and operations, while serving the interests of its Shareholders. The Company integrates sustainability considerations into its strategy and its operations by actively engaging with the local communities in which it operates, taking responsibility for the life cycle of the Company’s products and putting its people at the heart of its priorities.

The Audit Committee and Management have mapped and analysed the Group's risks and have compiled a matrix of risks pertaining to the Group’s business and performance, financial management, information technology (IT) cyber-security and regulatory compliance issues, delineating the severity of their potential negative impairment to the Group and their probability of being realised. Thus, a comprehensive weighted prioritised risk factor list has been derived. The Audit Committee has reviewed the Company’s internal controls and their adequacy at addressing the aforementioned risks in general. The Audit Committee has engaged the services of the Internal Auditor for in-depth analyses of key issues on a routine basis.

Since 13 November 2018 the Company has commenced releasing annual Sustainability Reports. The Company’s most recent Sustainability Report (now known as the ESG Report) was released on 10 May 2023 and the current ESG Report will be released by 30 April 2024. A summary of the current ESG Report may be found in this Annual Report.

The Board takes adequate steps to ensure compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements, including requirements under the listing rules of the securities exchange.

The Management provides the Board with management accounts regarding the Company's performance. Such accounts are provided on a periodical basis (and when needed - as warranted by the circumstances), to enable the Board to make a balanced and informed assessment of the Company's performance, position and prospects.

The Board, with the assistance of the Audit Committee, reviews, on an ongoing basis and at least annually, the adequacy and effectiveness of the Company’s risk management and internal control systems.

The Audit Committee and Board are of the opinion, upon consultation with the Company’s CEO, the Company’s CFO, the Company's External Auditors and the Internal Auditor of the Company and after receiving assurance from the Company’s CEO and the Company’s CFO, that:

  1. the Company’s financial records have been properly maintained and the financial statements give a true and fair view of the Company's operations and finances; and
  2. the internal control procedures and risk management of the Group are adequate (in this regard the Audit Committee and the Board have also received assurances form key management personnel and other service providers).

The Board has received assurance from: (a) the CEO and the CFO that the financial records have been properly maintained and the financial statements give a true and fair view of the company's operations and finances; and (b) the CEO and other key management personnel who are responsible, regarding the adequacy and effectiveness of the company's risk management and internal control systems.

The Company has also adopted a Whistleblower Policy, according to which:

  • Allegations of suspected fraudulent, wrong or improper conduct by the Company’s personnel are to be reported to the Company’s CEO and/ or to the Chairperson of the Audit Committee and/or to the Lead Independent Director and/or the Chairperson of the Board, as applicable.
  • Confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity, the nature of the report, and the suspected person’s identity is to be strictly maintained by all parties investigating such complaints, unless: (i) the CEO, or the Chairperson of the Audit Committee and/or the Lead Independent Director and/or the Chairperson of the Board, or such other entity actually handling the investigation, is of the opinion that the identity of the whistleblower is material to the conduct of any investigation; or (ii) it is required by law, by the order or directive of a court of law or other regulatory authority that the identity of the whistleblower shall be revealed.
  • No adverse personal action will be taken against a whistleblower (especially against an employee of the Company including management members), nor will retaliation against such person be tolerated, for the disclosure of information the whistleblower made in good faith.
  • No director, manager, or any other employee with authority to make or materially influence significant personnel decisions shall take any adverse personnel action against an employee for disclosing in good faith alleged wrongful conduct or improprieties. Any employee found to have so violated this procedure shall be disciplined, up to and including termination of employment. For the avoidance of any doubt, an adverse personnel action shall include, inter alia, demotion, denial and/or suspension of promotion, organization of and/or solicitation to participate in a boycott against the employee, prevention of any benefit and/or improvement in employment terms generally granted to the Company’s employees, suspension, forced vacation and termination of employment.
  • The terms of the Whistleblowers' Policy do not derogate in any way from the provisions of the Israeli Protection on Employees (uncovering of offences unethical conduct and improper administration) Law, 1997.
  • The Audit Committee has the responsibility to oversee, document and investigate all Whistleblower allegations reported to the Committee or its Chairperson.
  • At the conclusion of an investigation initiated based on a whistleblower's complaint, a written report shall be presented to the Audit Committee, or to the Board of Directors in the event that the suspected party(ies) is the CEO or a member of the Audit Committee.

Principles 10: Audit Committee

The Audit Committee comprises four directors, all of whom are independent. As at the date of this Report, the Audit Committee members are:

The members of our Audit Committee possess vast and diverse accounting, financial, commercial and legal expertise and experience. The Chairperson of the Audit Committee, Ms. Neta Zruya-Hashai served as an Audit Partner at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) Israel, commencing from 2000 through 2020, of which over 7 years as a partner, and audited firms from various sectors (biotech and life sciences, industrial, retail, finance and holding companies) in accordance with IFRS, US GAAP and US / Israel SOX standards (Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) Israel did not provide any audit services to the Company since its listing). She holds a BA in Accounting and Communications and an MBA in Finance Management, both from Tel Aviv University, and is a Certified Public Accountant (Israel). Mr. Lim Yong Sheng is the Group Chief Executive Officer of SK Jewellery Group Ltd., a leading Singaporean retail jewellery chain with over 60 branches across Singapore, China, Malaysia and Thailand (SK Jewellery Group Ltd. was listed on the SGX Main Board until 2020). Ms. Varda Shine has over 30 years of experience in the production and wholesale trade of rough diamonds, as well as in the retail trade of polished diamonds and has been an Independent Director of the Group since 2017 and Mr. Sin Boon Ann retired in 2018 from Drew & Napier LLC, after more than 25 years. Prior to his retirement in 2018, he was the Deputy Managing Director of the Corporate & Finance Department and the Co-head of the Capital Markets Practice in Drew & Napier LLC.

Further details with regard to expertise and experience of the members of our Audit Committee may be found in the “Board of Directors” section of the Annual Report.

Our Audit Committee assists our Board in discharging its responsibility to safeguard our assets, maintain adequate accounting records and develop and maintain effective systems of internal control, with the overall objective of ensuring that our Management creates and maintains an effective control environment in our Company, in consultation with the Internal Auditor. Under its terms of reference, our Audit Committee may seek any information it requires from any employee, and all employees are directed to co-operate with any requests made by our Audit Committee. Our Audit Committee also provides a channel of communications between our Board, our Management and our Internal and External Auditors on matters relating to audit.

The Audit Committee meets periodically and performs the following functions:

  1. reviews the significant financial reporting issues and judgements so as to ensure the integrity of the financial statements of the Company and any announcements relating to the Company's financial performance.
  2. reviews at least annually the adequacy and effectiveness of the Company's internal controls and risk management systems;
  3. reviews the assurance from the CEO and the CFO on the financial records and financial statements;
  4. makes recommendations to the Board on: (i) the proposals to the shareholders on the appointment and removal of external auditors; and (ii) the remuneration and terms of engagement of the external auditors;
  5. reviews the adequacy, effectiveness, independence, scope and results of the external audit and the Company’s internal audit function; and
  6. reviews the policy and arrangements for concerns about possible improprieties in financial reporting or other matters to be safely raised, independently investigated and appropriately followed up on.

Based on the review of the External Auditors’ credentials and their registration with and reporting to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), a member of the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators, independent of the accounting profession and directly responsible for the system of recurring inspection of accounting firms, the Board and the Audit Committee have confirmed the External Auditors’ suitability and their ability to meet their audit obligations. The Board and the Audit Committee further satisfied themselves that the external audit firms possess the adequate resources, experience and expertise and that the audit engagement partners and the supervisory and professional staff assigned to the particular audit possess the necessary skills and experience required for such task.

Apart from the duties listed above, our Audit Committee communicates and reviews the findings of internal investigation into matters where there is any suspected fraud or irregularity, or failure of internal controls or infringement of any law, rule or regulation which has, or is likely to have, a material impact on our Company's operating units and/or financial position.

The Audit Committee has the authority to investigate any matters within its terms of reference and the discretion to invite any director to attend its meetings. The Management fully cooperates with the Audit Committee and provides it with resources to enable it to discharge its functions properly.

The Audit Committee meets with the Internal and External Auditors several times annually to review the adequacy of audit arrangements, with particular emphasis on the scope and quality of their audits, and the independence and objectivity of the Internal and External Auditors. Where necessary, the Audit Committee meets with the External and/or the Internal Auditors without the presence of Management.

The Company supports whistle blowing. Employees may raise concerns about possible improprieties in financial reporting or other matters. Upon receipt of a concern, independent investigation and appropriate follow up action will be taken. So far no matters were raised by whistle blowers.

Based on the recommendations of the Audit Committee, the Board of Directors appointed, in August 2009, Mr. Doron Cohen, CPA, CIA, of Fahn Kanne Control Management, Ltd., subsidiary of Fahn Kanne and Co., Certified Public Accountants (Isr.) (member firm of Grant Thornton International) – a reputable auditing firm, as the Internal Auditor of the Company. The Internal Auditor carries out his functions according to the standards set by internationally recognised professional bodies. The role of the Internal Auditor is to independently examine, among other things, whether our activities comply with the law and orderly business procedures. Our Internal Auditor submits his work plans to the prior approval of the Audit Committee and presents his findings to the Audit Committee and to the Board of Directors. The Internal Auditor reports to the Chairman of the Audit Committee and the Chief Executive Officer of the Company. According to Israeli law, the Board appoints and removes the Internal Auditor, based on the Audit Committee's recommendations. The Internal Auditor's compensation is set by the Audit Committee. The Company cooperates fully with the Internal Auditor in terms of allowing access to documents and information and the Internal Auditor has unfettered access to all the Company's documents, records, properties and personnel, including access to the Audit Committee.

The Audit Committee reviews annually the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal audit function and is of the opinion that the internal audit function is independent, effective and adequately resourced.

The External Auditors of the Group are Somekh Chaikin Certified Public Accountants (Isr.), member firm of KPMG International (partner in charge, Guy Anavi, appointed with effect 1 January 2019 and replaced by Ehud Lev, effective as of 1 July 2023) and Chaikin, Cohen, Rubin and Company (partner in charge, Ilan Chaikin, appointed with effect 1 January 2022). The Group engages a suitable auditing firm, BSR & Co. LLP, member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, for the statutory audit of its significant foreign-incorporated subsidiary, namely Sarin Technologies India Private Limited.

The Audit Committee is updated periodically (and at least annually) on any changes in accounting standards by the External Auditor.

No former partner or director of the Company’s auditing firm has acted as a member of the Company’s Audit Committee.

The Company has complied with Rule 712 and Rules 715/716 of the Listing Manual.

The Company has paid to its External Auditors an aggregate amount of US$ 377,000 for services rendered in 2023, out of which amount, US$ 208,000 (approximately 55%) were paid as audit fees, US$ 83,000 (approximately 22%) were paid for other audit related services, US$ 76,000 (approximately 20%) were paid as tax fees and US$ 10,000 (3%) were paid for travel expense reimbursement.

The Audit Committee confirms that it has undertaken a review of all non-audit services provided by the External Auditors and is satisfied that given the scope and nature of the non-audit related services, such services should not, in the Audit Committee’s opinion, affect the independence of the External Auditors.

Principles 11, 12 & 13: Shareholder Rights and Engagement; Shareholder Rights and Conduct of General Meetings; Engagement with Shareholders and Stakeholders

The Company treats all shareholders fairly and equitably in order to enable them to exercise shareholders' rights and have the opportunity to communicate their views on matters affecting the Company. The Company gives shareholders a balanced and understandable assessment of its performance, position and prospects.

All shareholders of the Company are provided with the Annual Report and notice of the convening of the Annual General Meeting. At the Annual General Meeting shareholders are given the opportunity to air their views and ask directors or Management questions regarding the Company. The Company's announcements and policies ensure that shareholders are informed of the rules, including voting procedures, that govern general meetings of shareholders and have the opportunity to participate effectively in and vote at general meetings of shareholders.

The Company tables separate resolutions at general meetings of shareholders on each substantially separate issue unless the issues are interdependent and linked so as to form one significant proposal. Where the resolutions are “bundled”, the Company explains the reasons and material implications in the notice of meeting.

The Company provides avenues for communication between the Board, the Chairman of the Board and the Lead Independent Director and all shareholders.

The Company has in place an Investor Relations policy which governs and promotes regular, effective and fair disclosure and communication with shareholders.

The Company’s Investor Relations policy sets out, among other things, the mechanism through which shareholders may contact the Company with questions and through which the Company may respond to such questions.

The Company’s results are published through the SGXNET and news releases. The Company does not practice selective disclosure. Pricesensitive information is first publicly released, before the Company meets with any group of analysts. Results and annual reports are announced or issued within the mandatory period.

The Company's Chairman and senior Management meet and discuss results, business conditions, prospects, etc., periodically with analysts and investors, and presentations made by the Company in such events are generally shared with the public at large.

The Company has a dedicated investor relations team, composed of an in-house team in Israel and of consultants and service providers in Singapore.

The Company’s dividend policy is communicated to the shareholders in the Company’s Annual Reports.

The Articles were amended in 2015, so as to allow a member of the Company to appoint more than two proxies to attend and vote instead of such member. Voting in absentia is also allowed. The Company currently proposes to further amend the Articles, so to further facilitate electronic and more environment-friendly communication between the Company and its shareholders. Further details may be found in the circular disseminated to the shareholders in connection with the Extraordinary General Meeting scheduled for 24 April 2024 (immediately after the conclusion of the Annual General Meeting).

Through its meetings with investors, analysts and shareholders, the Company gathers information, views and inputs and addresses shareholders' concerns.

The Company’s website offers the Company’s shareholders an abundance of information and means of communication with the Company.

The Company’s Lead Independent Director is accessible to shareholders, who may also contact her directly (and not through the Company).

The Board and the Management periodically map and identify the Group’s material stakeholders, as part of the Group’s overall responsibility. Such matters are also discussed in the Company’s Annual Report and Sustainability Report.

Dealings In Securities

The Company has complied with the following best practices on dealings in securities: (a) The Company has adopted its own internal compliance code to provide guidance to its officers with regard to dealing by the Company and its officers in its securities; (b) According to such code an officer of the Company should not deal in the Company's securities on short-term considerations; and (c) According to such code the Company and its officers and employees do not deal in the Company's securities during the period commencing one month before the announcement of the Company's half year and full year financial statements.