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ST journalist, veteran bag awards for financial journalism

SINGAPORE - Credit Suisse Group’s crisis in March was part of the biggest banking shake-up Ms Prisca Ang had covered in her three years as a financial journalist, but she was not satisfied with just following the crowd in her reporting.

Amid the global attention on the complete write-down of the bank’s US$17 billion (S$23.1 billion) worth of bonds in the riskiest category known as Additional Tier 1 (AT1) notes, she thought hard about what would add the most value for readers in Singapore who were trying to make sense of the saga.

AT1 bonds help to absorb a bank’s losses and strengthen its financial position when its capital falls below certain levels relative to its assets.

She decided to zoom in on how local banks’ AT1s were faring. Her resulting piece on the impact of the Credit Suisse fallout on Singapore banks’ bonds and capital, titled “Singapore bank bonds more volatile amid fallout, but lenders not hit hard”, was named Story of the Year on Tuesday at the Singapore Exchange’s (SGX) annual Orb Awards. The awards recognise excellence in financial news and content.

“I’m grateful to my editors who helped to shape the story, and analysts who also shared crucial insights with me on the bond price movements,” said The Straits Times’ Ms Ang, 27.

ST associate editor and senior columnist Ven Sreenivasan, 65, won in a category called The Hidden Gem for his commentary, “Samudera and other good mid-cap stocks need some love from the market”. In it, he argued that good mid-cap stocks, referring to shares of companies with market capitalisation in the medium range, deserve more attention.

“The Singapore market is full of hidden gems that are not covered by analysts. I try to unearth them for our readers and highlight their value proposition,” he said.

The ST duo picked up their trophies for the awards from SGX chief executive Loh Boon Chye at SGX Group’s annual Media Appreciation Night, which was held at the Set of Six bar in Tanjong Pagar.

The panel of four judges, comprising senior executives at think-tanks and companies such as LinkedIn, said Mr Sreenivasan’s piece “makes some very important points and included an important call to arms about the need for better coverage of some of these hidden-gem stocks”.

“This is excellent commentary from an author who is clearly an influential commentator,” they said, according to an SGX spokesman.

ST editor Jaime Ho said: “We take each and every award that’s given to The Straits Times as crucial recognition of the work that we do as journalists. In particular, the ability of the newsroom to tell stories from the world of business and economics that resonate with our audiences is something we aim to continuously build on.

“We thank SGX and the judges for recognising these efforts.”

Mr Sreenivasan’s win in the category was a joint one with The Edge Singapore’s Mr Jovi Ho and Ms Khairani Afifi Noordin, who wrote about digital banks.

A team from The Business Times comprising Ms Janice Lim, Ms Wong Pei Ting, Mr Kenneth Lim, Ms Hannah Kwah, Mr Hyrie Rahmat and Ms Quah Kai Yuan bagged the An Experential Treat award for their data visualisation on the rising number of chief sustainability officers over the past two years.

In the #TheGoTo category, for the best digital platform helping investors to make educated decisions, The Simple Sum came out tops.

The awards, into the sixth edition, also included a special category this year for works from students on how market participants in Asia are capturing the future of finance.

City, University of London student Benjamin Brown won for his video titled Industry Under Fire: Chinese Tech Stocks.