Full Time Staff

Jamie Allen
Founding Secretary General
Jamie is the Founding Secretary General of ACGA, responsible for overall management of the Association as well as directing its research, advocacy and educational work in 12 Asia-Pacific markets.

Jamie is a published author and has more than 30 years experience as a writer, editor and analyst covering the economies of Greater China and East Asia from Hong Kong. Prior to the establishment of ACGA in mid-1999, he ran his own consulting firm and carried out customised economic research on mainly finance-related topics, including corporate governance, for multinational clients in Asia. From 1992-95 he worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as editor of Business Asia, a regional management newsletter, and was a contributor to The Economist from 1994-96. Jamie began his journalistic career in the late 1980s as a reporter for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. He is a graduate of the Australian National University, Canberra, where he received a BA (Honours) in political science and Chinese language. He studied Mandarin for two years in Taiwan in 1983-4.

From 2001 to 2007, Jamie was a member of the Public Shareholders Group, a committee formed by the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to advise it on shareholder rights and corporate governance matters in Hong Kong.

From May 2006 to June 2010, he served on the Listing Committee of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (SEHK). The Listing Committee is the body responsible for approving all new listings on the SEHK, deciding changes to the listing rules, and undertaking review and disciplinary hearings.
 
In July 2013, Jamie was appointed to the Operations Oversight Committee (OOC) of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in Hong Kong. The FRC, a statutory body, has responsibility for investigating auditing irregularities in the accounts of Hong Kong listed companies. The OOC reviews and approves the FRC's audit investigation work.
 
Vanessa Chan
Office Manager
Vanessa joined ACGA in March 2014. She has more than 20 year's experience in office administration, human resource management, book-keeping, and executive secretarial work. She came to ACGA after many years working in senior roles in administration, finance and HR management at Owens Corning in Hong Kong.

Vanessa handles all aspects of ACGA's daily office management and administration, as well as managing the logistsics for ACGA member events, conferences, and Council meetings. In 2016 alone, we organised around 30 discrete meetings and calls for members and Council members.

Vanessa has a higher diploma in trilingual secretarial studies (English, Mandarin, French) from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and an MSc in human resources management from the National University of Ireland.
 
Iris Chen
Executive PA / Website Information Manager

Iris Chen joined ACGA in July 2016. She has wide experience in office administration, data management, hospital support services, merchandising, and teaching in Hong Kong. 

Iris is a graduate of Hong Kong Shue Yan University, where she gained a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2009. She undertook a Diploma for Library Assistant at the Chinese University School of Continuing and Professional Studies over 2011-12 and was awarded a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of London (by correspondence) in 2016.

Iris supports ACGA’s administration and events, and acts as a personal assistant to Jamie Allen. She recently took up a new task as information manager for our new website and online library.
 

Li Rui
Analyst / Project Manager (China & Hong Kong)

Ms. Li Rui ("Nana") joined ACGA in February 2014 as a research analyst. Her primary responsibilities include researching CG developments in Hong Kong and China, covering these markets for our bimonthly Asia Regional Briefing, and assisting with other specialised financial- and accounting-related research for ACGA. Nana is the main author of the China and Hong Kong chapters in CG Watch 2016.

Nana also supports the Association's advocacy and educational work. She has assisted with the organisation of our annual conferences in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Japan over the past three years, our member delegation to Indonesia in 2015, and delegations to Japan and Korea in 2016.

Nana is a native of Hangzhou. She earned an undergraduate Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in finance and accounting from the University of New South Wales, Australia. She then moved to Hong Kong to study at Hong Kong University and completed a Master of Finance in 2013. She has passed all three levels of the CFA exam at her first attempt in 2014. 

Padma Venkat
Chief Operating Officer
Padma Venkat joined ACGA in January 2016 as our first Chief Operating Officer. She is a Chartered Accountant by training and has more than 20 years experience working in the finance industry in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Among her different jobs, she headed the non-resident Indian portfolio business for Citibank while in Indonesia and, more recently, was Director of Capital Markets Policy for the CFA Institute in Hong Kong where she was passionately involved in corporate governance matters. Padma is also a Chartered Financial Analyst and earned an Executive MBA from Kellogg-HKUST.

Padma manages all aspects of the finance and operations of ACGA. She assists in business development, including membership marketing, and sponsorships. And she provides input to strategic planning and oversees the management of ACGA events and conferences. 

In 2016, Padma has led two major internal productivity improvements for ACGA--the implementation of a new ZOHO customer relationship management (CRM) dababase, and a new cloud-based accounting software, XERO. She has also managed our new ACGA website project.

Regional and Specialist Staff

Melissa Brown
Capital Markets, Investor Stewardship, ESG/Sustainability
Melissa Brown is a highly regarded analyst of Asian capital markets, corporate governance/ESG, and responsible investment. A director of Daobridge Capital, a China-focused advisory firm, she has analysed Asian investments for more than 18 years, initially as a sell-side equity analyst and research director for Barclays Capital, JPMorgan, and Citigroup, and later led research into ESG as executive director of ASrIA from 2003 to 2008. 
 
Melissa currently serves as a director of Sustainalytics, a global ESG research provider. She is a government-appointed council member of the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs and a member of the Securities and Futures Commission Takeovers Panel. She was previously an elected member of the UNPRI Advisory Council, and also served on the Listing Committee  of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) for six years from 2006 to 2012.

Melissa has collaborated with ACGA on a number of projects in recent years, including speaking at annual conferences in Beijing (2006), Shenzhen (2011), Seoul (2013) and Kuala Lumpur (2015). She was the co-author of our submission on IPO due diligence to the HK Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in 2012 and the main author of ACGA's submission to HKEx on its new ESG Reporting Guide in 2015. In 2016, she co-authored ACGA submissions to the Singapore Exchange on its new Sustainability Reporting Guide and 
to the Hong Kong SFC on its consultation about modernising and upgrading the city's listing regime. Melissa has supported the Association in numerous other ways, carrying out member surveys, supporting our efforts to encourage dialogue between institutional investors and accounting auditors, and taking up speaking opportunities. 

Sharmila Gopinath
India Research & Advocacy
Sharmila joined ACGA in 2005 and worked on a full-time basis until December 2012, when she moved to India. She continues to work for the Association on a part-time basis as our Research Director, India.

Sharmila is a former journalist with a background in business writing and editing. During her career she has worked in Hong Kong, New York and Singapore, covering topics such as information technology, general business and finance. From 2000-2001 she reported for the Computer Times in Singapore.

Sharmila began her journalistic career as a reporter for the Hong Kong Standard in the mid-80s. She holds a BA in English from the University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George.
 
Sharmila has been involved in numerous aspects of ACGA research, advocacy and events over the past decade and more. She has been the author of the India chapter in CG Watch since 2007, was a co-author of our White Paper on India in 2010, and has contributed to various submissions made by ACGA to government bodies and regulators in India. She helped to organise our annual conference in Mumbai in 2008 and member delegations to India in 2010 and 2014. During her time with ACGA, Sharmila has also worked on other markets,  primarily Hong Kong and Malaysia, been a regular contributor to our Asia Regional Briefing newsletter, and spoken at numerous events around the region. 
 
Christopher Leahy
Indonesia/Philippines/Singapore Research
Christopher Leahy is a founder of Blackpeak, a leading investigative research and advisory firm founded in Asia and with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and, most recently, New York. Prior to working in the investigative field, he was a journalist, holding positions as Asian Editor, Euromoney, and a contributing editor for Asiamoney.

Chris began his career as a stockbroker, and later an investment banker, working in both the UK and Asia with leading financial institutions such as Warburg Securities (now UBS), BNP Paribas Peregrine and Crosby. For most of the past 25 years, he has been based in Asia.

Chris began writing for ACGA in 2003, specialising on Southeast Asia and contributing to our monthly newsletter, the Asia Regional Briefing. He has been the author of the Indonesia and Philippines chapters in CG Watch since 2007 and has contributed to other markets as well, including Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Chris has spoken at numerous ACGA member events over the past decade and has represented ACGA as a speaker at many conferences around the region. 

 
Julia Mart
Conference Management
Julia Mart is Director of InterConnect Events and has worked with ACGA since 2001. She has enjoyed a successful career in event management spanning more than 30 years, starting in the music (A&M) and toy (Hasbro) industries. Since the late 1980s she has programmed and managed major CEO and heads-of-government gatherings around the world for clients including Forbes, Fortune, The Economist, the Family Business Network and Leaders' Quest.
 
Julia has worked and lived in the UK, France, Germany, Turkey and Hong Kong, before moving to the US in 2002, where she is now based. She founded Interaction Event Management in Hong Kong in 1992,  and InterConnect Events in New York in 2008.
 
Julia is engaged by ACGA to manage the venue and logistics for our annual conference, held each Autumn in a different Asian city. She has worked on all 16 ACGA conferences since 2001 and has been instrumental to the smooth running of the event. Julia's expertise has allowed ACGA to secure high-quality venues for our conferences and to manage them cost-effectively.


 
Benjamin McCarron
Malaysia/Thailand Research & Advocacy, Proxy Voting, Sustainability
Benjamin McCarron is Managing Director of Asia Research and Engagement, a firm he founded in Singapore in 2013 to provide specialist research and representation services for institutional investors with respect to their Asian investments. He was previously head of research at Responsible Research (RR), a Singapore-based consultancy. One of his RR publications, "The Future of Fish in Asia," won the Farsight Award for best ESG/financial research in 2011. He also designed and edited numerous other RR reports, including "Sustainable Stock Exchanges II", which surveyed leading global stock exchanges on how they encourage listed issuers to provide sustainability related information.

Before moving to Asia in 2011, Ben was an analyst for The Cooperative Asset Management (now Royal London Asset Management) in the UK. He led the integration of environmental and social analysis into the investment and engagement processes. He was also the lead author of two "Good Companies Guides" published in The Observer. Earlier, Ben was a fund manager at Framlington, where he managed £100m of small-cap UK pension money and significantly outperformed the benchmark. He also co-managed a global technology fund covering IT and healthcare research at Gerrard, now part of Barclays Wealth.

Ben graduated with joint honours in Maths and Philosophy from University College, Oxford.

Ben has been associated with ACGA since 2011, when he spoke at our annual conference in Shenzhen, and has since been a speaker or moderator at ACGA conferences in Hong Kong (2014) and Kuala Lumpur (2015). He joined ACGA as a specialist consultant in 2014, carrying out a detailed analysis of proxy voting and AGM practices across Asia. In 2015, he was part of a team that organised a member delegation to Jakarta and contributed to the organisation of our annual conference that year in Malaysia. In 2016, Ben's contribution to ACGA expanded significantly. He assumed responsibility for covering Malaysia and Thailand for our bimonthly regional newsletter, the Asia Regional Briefing, and co-authored these country chapters in CG Watch 2016. He co-authored our submission on the new Malaysia CG Code in June 2016 and is working on submissions on a revised Thailand CG code and new stewardship code. Ben has also been a speaker on ACGA's regular Investor and Corporate Discussion Group calls.
 
Neesha Wolf
Taiwan Research

An American citizen, Neesha Wolf is a permanent resident of Taiwan and has lived there for the past 18 years. During this time she has worked in journalism, education, and management. She is currently a PhD candidate in international business at the National Taiwan University and is doing her doctoral dissertation on the effect of corporate governance structures on business performance.

Neesha covers Taiwan for the Asia Regional Briefing, our monthly newsletter, and contributed background research for the Taiwan chapter in
CG Watch 2016.

Accounting and audit

Jason Leung
Philip Leung & Co, Hong Kong

Jason is an accountant with a local CPA firm, Philip Leung & Co. He works for ACGA on two days each month to prepare our accounts.
 

BDO
Auditor

ACGA's accounts are audited by BDO, Hong Kong. 

BDO and its predecessor firms have audited ACGA's accounts since 2000.