Purpose of and basis for adoption
In recognition of the necessity to assist the companies in Taiwan in their establishment of codes of ethical conduct, these Guidelines are adopted for the purpose of encouraging directors, supervisors, and managerial officers of TWSE listed and TPEx listed companies (including general managers or their equivalents, assistant general managers or their equivalents, deputy assistant general managers or their equivalents, chief financial and chief accounting officers, and other persons authorized to manage affairs and sign documents on behalf of a company) to act in line with ethical standards, and to help interested parties better understand the ethical standards of such companies.
It is advisable that a TWSE or TPEx listed company establish a code of ethical conduct with reference to these Guidelines, and it may develop respective codes of ethical conduct for different managerial officers.
Content of the code
Taking its individual circumstances and needs into consideration, a TWSE or GTSM listed company shall adopt a code of ethical conduct that addresses at least the following eight matters:
- Prevention of conflicts of interest:
Conflicts of interest occur when personal interest intervenes or is likely to intervene in the overall interest of the company, as for example when a director, supervisor, or managerial officer of the company is unable to perform their duties in an objective and efficient manner, or when a person in such a position takes advantage of their position in the company to obtain improper benefits for either themselves or their spouse or relatives within the second degree of kinship. The company shall pay special attention to loans of funds, provisions of guarantees, and major asset transactions or the purchase (or sale) of goods involving the affiliated enterprise at which a director, supervisor, or managerial officer works. The company shall establish a policy aimed at preventing conflicts of interest, and shall offer appropriate means for directors, supervisors, and managerial officers to voluntarily explain whether there is any potential conflict between them and the company.
- Minimizing incentives to pursue personal gain:
The company shall prevent its directors, supervisors, or managerial officers from engaging in any of the following activities: (1) Seeking an opportunity to pursue personal gain by using company property or information or taking advantage of their positions. (2) Obtaining personal gain by using company property or information or taking advantage of their positions. (3) Competing with the company. When the company has an opportunity for profit, it is the responsibility of the directors, supervisors, and managerial officers to maximize the reasonable and proper benefits that can by obtained by the company.
The directors, supervisors, and managerial officers of the company shall be bound by the obligation to maintain the confidentiality of any information regarding the company itself or its suppliers and customers, except when authorized or required by law to disclose such information. Confidential information includes any undisclosed information that, if exploited by a competitor or disclosed, could result in damage to the company or the suppliers and customers.
- Fair trade:
Directors, supervisors, and managerial officers shall treat all suppliers and customers, competitors, and employees fairly, and may not obtain improper benefits through manipulation, nondisclosure, or misuse of the information learned by virtue of their positions, or through misrepresentation of important matters, or through other unfair trading practices.
- Safeguarding and proper use of company assets:
All directors, supervisors, and managerial officers have the responsibility to safeguard company assets and to ensure that they can be effectively and lawfully used for official business purposes; any theft, negligence in care, or waste of the assets will all directly impact the company's profitability.
- Legal compliance:
The company shall strengthen its compliance with the Securities and Exchange Act and other applicable laws, regulations, and bylaws.
- Encouraging reporting on illegal or unethical activities:
The company shall raise awareness of ethics internally and encourage employees to report to a company supervisor, managerial officer, chief internal auditor, or other appropriate individual upon suspicion or discovery of any activity in violation of a law or regulation or the code of ethical conduct. To encourage employees to report illegal conduct, the company shall establish a concrete whistle-blowing system, allow anonymous reporting, and make employees aware that the company will use its best efforts to ensure the safety of whistleblowers and protect them from reprisals.
- Disciplinary measures:
When a director, supervisor, or managerial officer violates the code of ethical conduct, the company shall handle the matter in accordance with the disciplinary measures prescribed in the code, and shall without delay disclose on the Market Observation Post System (MOPS) the date of the violation by the violator, reasons for the violation, the provisions of the code violated, and the disciplinary actions taken. It is advisable that the company establish a relevant complaint system to provide the violator with remedies.
Procedures for exemption
The code of ethical conduct adopted by a company must require that any exemption for directors, supervisors, or managerial officers from compliance with the code be adopted by a resolution of the board of directors, and that information on the date on which the board of directors adopted the resolution for exemption, objections or reservations of independent directors, and the period of, reasons for, and principles behind the application of the exemption be disclosed without delay on the MOPS, in order that the shareholders may evaluate the appropriateness of the board resolution to forestall any arbitrary or dubious exemption from the code, and to safeguard the interests of the company by ensuring appropriate mechanisms for controlling any circumstance under which such an exemption occurs.
Method of disclosure
A TWSE or TPEx listed company shall disclose the code of ethical conduct it has adopted, and any amendments to it, on its company website, in its annual reports and prospectuses and on the MOPS.
A company's code of ethical conduct shall take effect after having been submitted to and approved by the board of directors, delivered to each supervisor, and submitted to a shareholders meeting. Subsequent amendments thereto shall be effected in the same manner.