Institutional EYE

Commentary on Corporate Governance Issues

The Last Minute: More challenges ahead

Companies with weak financial performance continue to wait till the last minute to hold their AGMs. In FY16 too, companies holding their AGMs in September have had the lowest median return on equity. With IND AS requirements and mandatory auditor rotation catching up simultaneously with corporate India, meeting deadlines will become challenging. This is the fourth year that we are publishing our report titled ‘The Last Minute’: we published the first one in 2013, not knowing whether the correlation we saw on performance and AGM dates would continue. Four years later, corporate India continues to remain predictable. 2016 AGM season In FY16, 477 of the S&P BSE 500 companies reported a March ye

What gets measured can be improved: A Corporate Governance Scorecard for India

IiAS has worked with IFC Washington and the BSE to develop a Corporate Governance Scorecard for India. A scorecard is aquantitative tool to assess the level or standard of corporate governance in an individual company, usually in the form of a questionnaire. One of the more famous expressions in the US Supreme Court is of Justice Potter Stewart who in his characterization of pornography wrote, “I know it when I see it,” to describe his threshold test for obscenity. One can say something similar about governance. Investors know which is a well governed company (- they certainly know the badly governed one’s). Probe them regarding a wider set of companies and most will give an impressioni

Turning the page: On N. Chadrasekaran’s appointment as Chairman of Tata Sons

While investors focus on the operating companies and expect Chandra to focus on these too, the long-term success of the group hinges on what happens at the shareholder level i.e. Tata Sons and at Tata Trusts. N Chandrasekaran’s appointment as the Chairman of Tata Sons coming less than three months after Cyrus Mistry was defenestrated, speaks of the urgency to have someone take control. The Tata group, built over 150 years has been steadily losing its reputation these past few months. A steadying hand was needed not just to protect its legacy, but for the group to remain relevant in future. N Chandrasekaran (Chandra) has many things going for him. He has been running TCS, whose dividends hav

Responsible shareholder engagement: The case for an Indian stewardship code

The thrust of regulations and public norms is pushing companies to embrace best governance practices. This will help them fulfil their responsibilities to the stakeholder - employees, suppliers, distributors, customers, the (local) community and shareholders. But what about investors, who manage your money? At the organisational level, the same regulations apply to them. But in addition, they have a fiduciary duty towards those whose money they manage. How they represent the interests of those whose money they manage is dealt with through a stewardship code. India needs one urgently. Hermes, an institutional investor, has defined stewardship code as “a set of principles or guidelines aimed p

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