Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws, and institutions affecting the way a corporation (or company) is directed, administered or controlled.Corporategovernance also includes the relationships among the many stakeholders involved and the goals for which the corporation is governed. In contemporary business corporations, the main external stakeholder groups are shareholders, debtholders, trade creditors, suppliers, customers and communities affected by the corporations activities. Internal stakeholders are theboard of directors, executives, and other employees. There has been renewed interest in the corporate governance practices of modern corporations since 2001, particularly due to the high-profile collapses of a number of large corporations, most of which involved accounting fraud. In the U.S., these include Enron Corporation and MCI Inc. (formerly WorldCom). Their demise is associated with the U.S. federal governmentpassing the SarbanesOxley Act in 2002, intending to restore public confidence in corporate governance. Comparable failures in Australia (HIH, One.Tel) are associated with the eventual passage of the CLERP 9 reforms. Similar corporate failures in other countries associated stimulated increased regulatory interest (e.g., Parmalat in Italy). Corporate scandals of various forms have maintained public and political interest in the regulation of corporate governance.

Corporate governance models around the world

There are many different models of corporate governance around the world. These differ according to the variety of capitalism in which they are embedded. The Anglo-American "model" tends to emphasize the interests of shareholders. The coordinated or multi-stakeholder model associated with Continental Europe and Japan also recognizes the interests of workers, managers, suppliers, customers, and the community.

Regulation Legal environment - General
Corporations are created as legal persons by the laws and regulations of a particular jurisdiction. These may vary in many respects between countries, but a corporation's legal person status is fundamental to all jurisdictions and is conferred by statute. This allows the entity to hold property in its own right without reference to any particular real person. It also results in the perpetual existence that characterizes the modern corporation. The statutory granting of corporate existence may arise from general purpose legislation (which is the general case) or from a statute to create a specific corporation, which was the only method prior to the 19th century. In addition to the statutory laws of the relevant jurisdiction, corporations are subject to common law in some countries, and various laws and regulations affecting business practices. In most jurisdiction, corporations also have a constitution that provides individual rules that govern the corporation and authorize or constrain its decision-makers. This constitution is identified by a variety of terms; in English-speaking jurisdictions, it is usually known as the Corporate Charter or the [Memorandum and] Articles of Association. The capacity of shareholders to modify the constitution of their corporation can vary substantially.

Codes and guidelines
Corporate governance principles and codes have been developed in different countries and issued from stock exchanges, corporations, institutional investors, or associations (institutes) of directors and managers with the support of governments and international organizations. As a rule, compliance with these governance recommendations is not mandated by law, although the codes linked to stock exchange listing requirements may have a coercive effect. For example, companies quoted on the London, Toronto and Australian Stock Exchanges formally need not follow the recommendations of their respective codes. However, they must disclose whether they follow the recommendations in those documents and, where not, they should provide explanations concerning divergent practices. Such disclosure requirements exert a significant pressure on listed companies for compliance.

do they merely try to supersede the legal threshold.S. . This document offers general information and a perspective from a business association/think-tank on a few key codes. corporate managers and individual companies tend to be wholly voluntary. Such documents. and in 2004 released Issue Management Tool: Strategic challenges for business in the use of corporate responsibility codes. and frameworks. This was revised in 2004. may have a wider multiplying effect prompting other companies to adopt similar documents and standards of best practice.This internationally agreed benchmark consists of more than fifty distinct disclosure items across five broad categories      Auditing Board and management structure and process Corporate responsibility and compliance Financial transparency and information disclosure Ownership structure and exercise of control rights The World Business Council for Sustainable Development WBCSD has done work on corporate governance. Most codes are largely voluntary. or should they create governance guidelines that ascend to the level of best practice. For example. The GM Board Guidelines reflect the company’s efforts to improve its own governance capacity. the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR) has produced their Guidance on Good Practices in Corporate Governance Disclosure. however. since the 2005 Disney decision[4] in 2005 is the degree to which companies manage their governance responsibilities.One of the most influential guidelines has been the 1999 OECD Principles of Corporate Governance. private sector associations and more than 20 national corporate governance codes. For example. in other words. Building on the work of the OECD. An issue raised in the U. other international organizations. particularly on accountability and reporting. standards. The OECD guidelines are often referenced by countries developing local codes or guidelines. the guidelines issued by associations of directors. standards and frameworks relevant to the sustainability agenda.

Customers are concerned with the certainty of the provision of goods and services of an appropriate quality. The board has the responsibility of endorsing the organization's strategy. suppliers. Ownership structures and elements . corporate governance mechanisms include a system of controls intended to help align managers' incentives with those of shareholders. appointing.Parties to corporate governance The most influential parties involved in corporate governance include government agencies and authorities. and increases the likelihood of political action. and possible continued trading relationships. human and other forms of capital. they are less likely to engage with the corporation. The agency view of the corporation posits that the shareholder forgoes decision rights (control) and entrusts the manager to act in the shareholders' best (joint) interests. When this becomes an endemic system feature. Other influential stakeholders may include lenders. Directors. All parties to corporate governance have an interest. supervising and remunerating senior executives. other executives and line management. Many parties may also be concerned with corporate social performance. management(including the board of directors and its chair. in the financial performance of the corporation. whether direct or indirect. Partly as a result of this separation between the two investors and managers. while investors expect to receive financial returns. When categories of parties (stakeholders) do not have sufficient confidence that a corporation is being controlled and directed in a manner consistent with their desired outcomes. stock exchanges. and ensuring accountability of the organization to its investors and authorities. A board of directors is expected to play a key role in corporate governance. the Chief Executive Officer or the equivalent. workers and management receive salaries. it is specified interest payments . Agency concerns (risk) are necessarily lower for a controlling shareholder. shareholders and auditors). A key factor in a party's decision to participate in or engage with a corporation is their confidence that the corporation will deliver the party's expected outcomes. suppliers are concerned with compensation for their goods or services. the loss of confidence and participation in markets may affect many other stakeholders. physical. creditors. benefits and reputation. These parties provide value to the corporation in the form of financial. developing directional policy. customers and the community at large. employees. For lenders. while returns to equity investors arise from dividend distributions or capital gains on their stock.

rings. worldwide. markets have become largelyinstitutionalized: investors are largely institutions that invest the pooled funds of their intended beneficiaries.S. Not all are qualities are unique to enterprises with retained family interests. family interests dominate ownership structures. Cross-shareholding are an essential feature of keiretsu and chaebolgroups) [2]. and financial institutions such as insurance companies and banks. Researchers often "measure" ownership structures by using some observable measures of ownership concentration or the extent of inside ownership. It is sometimes suggested that corporations controlled by family interests are subject to superior oversight compared to corporations "controlled" by institutional investors (or with such diverse share ownership that they are controlled by management). hedge funds. The significance of institutional investors varies substantially across countries. mutual funds. institutional investors dominate the market for stocks in larger corporations. Japanese keiretsu ( 系 列 ) and South Korean chaebol (which tend to be family-controlled) are corporate groups which consist of complex interlocking business relationships and shareholdings..Ownership structure refers to the types and composition of shareholders in a corporation. "Look beyond Six Sigma and the latest technology fad. Forget the celebrity CEO. Family ownership In many jurisdictions. U. Institutional investors Many years ago. In developed Anglo-American countries (Australia. investors were typically individuals or families. While the majority of the shares in the . A study by Business Week claims that"BW identified five key ingredients that contribute to superior performance.K. and webs. U. this superior performance amounts to 8% per year.). Corporate engagement with shareholders and other stakeholders can differ substantially across different ownership structures. In this way. Some features or types of ownership structure involving corporate groups include pyramids. the majority of investment now is described as "institutional investment" even though the vast majority of the funds are for the benefit of individual investors. cross-shareholdings. Over time. exchange-traded funds. A recent study by Credit Suisse found that companies in which "founding families retain a stake of more than 10% of the company's capital enjoyed a superior performance over their respective sectorial peers. Canada. New Zealand. irrespective of whether or not they acted through a controlled entity. German "concerns" (Konzern) are legally recognized corporate groups with complex structures. These institutional investors include pension funds (also known as superannuation funds)." Since 1996.

safeguards invested capital. State Street Corp. that executive directors look beyond the financial criteria. they will simply sell out their interest. management. Internal corporate governance controls Internal corporate governance controls monitor activities and then take corrective action to accomplish organisational goals. fire and compensate top management. For example. and other personnel to provide reasonable assurance of the entity achieving its objectives related to  . an independent third party (the external auditor) attests the accuracy of information provided by management to investors. to monitor managers' behavior. Moreover. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE MECHANISMS Corporate governance mechanisms and controls are designed to reduce the inefficiencies that arise from moral hazard and adverse selection.  Internal control procedures and internal auditors: Internal control procedures are policies implemented by an entity's board of directors.[7] Different board structures are optimal for different firms. The idea is this strategy will largely eliminate individual firmfinancial or other risk and. or the largest investment management firm for corporations. if institutional investors pressing for will likely be costly because of "golden handshakes") or the effort required. discussed and avoided. An ideal control system should regulate both motivation and ability. they may not always result in more effective corporate governance and may not increase performance. It is often assumed that. therefore. ex ante. Examples include: Monitoring by the board of directors: The board of directors. audit committee. with its legal authority to hire. Executive directors possess superior knowledge of the decision-making process and therefore evaluate top management on the basis of the quality of its decisions that lead to financial performance outcomes. the ability of the board to monitor the firm's executives is a function of its access to information. these are not institutional investors if their holdings are largely with-on group. It could be argued. A consequence of this approach is that these investors have relatively little interest in the governance of a particular corporation.) are designed to maximize the benefits of diversified investment by investing in a very large number of different corporations with sufficient liquidity.Japanese market are held by financial companies and industrial corporations. Regular board meetings allow potential problems to be identified. The largest pools of invested money (such as the mutual fund 'Vanguard 500'. Whilst nonexecutive directors are thought to be more independent.

The practice of the CEO also being the Chair of the Board is known as "duality". operating efficiency.  Remuneration: Performance-based remuneration is designed to relate some proportion of salary to individual performance. boards of directors are largely chosen by the President/CEO and the President/CEO often takes the Chair of the Board position for his/herself (which makes it much more difficult for the institutional owners to "fire" him/her). One group may propose company-wide administrative changes. and a third group check that the interests of people (customers. In publicly-traded U. are reactive in the sense that they provide no mechanism for preventing mistakes or opportunistic behavior. External corporate governance controls External corporate governance controls encompass the controls external stakeholders exercise over the organization. corporations. and can elicit myopic behavior. employees) outside the three groups are being met. superannuation or other benefits. and compliance with laws and regulations. It is illegal in the U. however. shareholders. require that the President be a different person from the Treasurer. This application of separation of power is further developed in companies where separate divisions check and balance each other's actions. While this practice is common in the U.. Such incentive schemes.S. another group review and can veto the changes.K. Examples include:        competition debt covenants demand for and assessment of performance information (especially financial statements) government regulations managerial labour market media pressure takeovers . It may be in the form of cash or non-cash payments such  as shares and share options. it is relatively rare elsewhere. Internal auditors are personnel within an organization who test the design and implementation of the entity's internal control procedures and the reliability of its financial reporting Balance of power: The simplest balance of power is very common.reliable financial reporting.S.

However. the ratio of stock market capitalization to GDP in the countries in the highest quartile of shareholder right enactment and enforcement is about four times as large as that for countries in the lowest quartile. Dick Grasso.model of corporate governance is better than the bankbased models of Germany and Japan.. It was clear that something was amiss in the area of corporate governance all over the world. in turn. the differences in the quality of corporate governance in these developed countries fade in comparison to the chasm that exists between corporate governance standards and practices in these countries as a group and those in the developing world. amidst public outcry over excessive compensation. leading to greater investment. Texas based energy giant. Introduction The subject of corporate governance leapt to global business limelight from relative obscurity after a string of collapses of high profile companies. Enron. Large and trusted companies from Parmalat in Italy to the multinational newspaper group Hollinger Inc. himself had recognized the problem over two centuries ago. 3 There are several channels through which the causality works. as well as higher growth and employment.4 As for equity financing.2 Corporate governance has been a central issue in developing countries long before the recent spate of corporate scandals in advanced economies made headlines. Good corporate governance also lowers of the cost of capital by reducing risk and creates higher firm valuation once again boosting real investments. There have been debates about whether the Anglo-Saxon market. Worse. it appeared that the problem was far more widespread. have an unmistakably positive effect on economic growth and poverty reduction. Indeed corporate governance and economic development are intrinsically linked. Effective corporate governance systems promote the development of strong financial systems – irrespective of whether they are largely bank-based or market-based – which.Corporate Governance in India – Evolution and Challenges I. shocked the business world with both the scale and age of their unethical and illegal operations. revealed significant and deep-rooted problems in their corporate governance.6 Effective corporate governance mechanisms ensure better resource allocation and management raising the return to capital. Effective corporate governance enhances access to external financing by firms. The proportion of private credit to GDP in countries in the highest quartile of creditor right enactment and enforcement is more than double that in the countries in the lowest quartile. Researchers in finance have actively investigated the topic for at least a quarter century1 and the father of modern economics. Even the prestigious New York Stock Exchange had to remove its director. Adam Smith. Poor corporate governance also hinders the creation and development of new firms. Corporate governance has. of course. There is a variation of a factor of 8 in the “control premium” (transaction price of shares in block transfers signifying control transfer less the ordinary share price) between countries with the highest level of equity rights protection and those with the lowest. been an important field of query within the finance discipline for decades. the telecom behemoth. the Houston. While corporate practices in the US companies came under attack. and WorldCom. The return on assets (ROA) is about twice as . they seemed to indicate only the tip of a dangerous iceberg.

some “residual powers” over the funds of the company must be vested with either the financiers or the management. All these features make corporate governance a particularly important issue in India. Limited liability and dispersed ownership – essential features that the joint-stock company form of organization thrives on – inevitably lead to a distance and inefficient monitoring of management by the actual owners of the business. It is not possible for the Board to fully instruct management on the desired course of action under every possible business situation. 8 Indeed poor transparency and corporate governance norms are believed to be the key reasons behind the Asian Crisis of 1997. The main challenge comes from the fact that such contracts are necessarily “incomplete”. a dominance of family firms. 7 Good corporate governance can significantly reduce the risk of nation-wide financial crises. Consequently. in principle. Because of this “incomplete contracts” situation. Even if this power pattern held in reality. in turn. appoints a team of managers who actually handle the day-to-day functioning of the company and report periodically to the Board. Clearly the former does not have the expertise or the inclination to run the business in the situations unspecified in the contract. These potential problems of corporate governance are universal. 2. The Board.high in the countries with the highest level of equity rights protection as in countries with the lowest protection. so that the management can be held for violation of such a contract in the event it does something else under the circumstances. and a generally high level of corruption. The numerous shareholders who contribute to the capital of the company are the actual owners of business. Such financial crises have massive economic and social costs and can set a country several years back in its path to development. In real . reduce legal costs and improve social and labor relationships and external economies like environmental protection. They elect a Board of Directors to monitor the running of the company on their behalf. In addition. is as follows. good corporate governance can remove mistrust between different stakeholders. the Indian financial sector is marked with a relatively unsophisticated equity market vulnerable to manipulation and with rudimentary analyst activity. Central issues in Corporate Governance The basic power structure of the joint-stock company form of business. The central issue is the nature of the contract between shareholder representatives and managers telling the latter what to do with the funds contributed by the former. Making sure that the managers actually act on behalf of the owners of the company – the stockholders – and pass on the profits to them are the key issues in corporate governance. Finally. The reality is even more complicated and biased in favor of management. so these residual powers must go to management. 9 The list of possible situations is infinitely long. There is a strong inverse relationship between the quality of corporate governance and currency depreciation. The efficient limits to these powers constitute much of the subject of corporate governance. Thus mangers are the agents of shareholders and function with the objective of maximizing shareholders’ wealth. a history of managing agency system. no contract can be written between representatives of shareholders and the management that specifies the right course of action in every situation. Managers enjoy actual control of business and may not serve in the best interests of the shareholders. it would still be a challenge for the Board to effectively monitor management.

An alternative corporate governance model is that provided by the bank-based economies like Germany where the main bank (“Hausbank” in Germany) lending to the company exerts considerable influence and carries out continuous project-level supervision of the management and the supervisory board has representatives of multiple stakeholders of the firm. More often than not. family businesses and corporate groups are common in many countries including India. Inter-locking and “pyramiding” of corporate control within these groups make . the acquiring company would get rid of the existing management. the Managing Director in British-style organizations ) functions with negligible accountability. that is transacting with privately owned companies at other-than. On his part the CEO frequently packs the board with his friends and allies who rarely differ with him. Keeping a professional management in line is only one. transfer pricing. Box 1 gives a brief comparison of the two systems. These range from Keiretsus in Japan and Chaebols in Korea to the several family business groups in India like Birlas and Ambanis.e. the manager (the CEO in the American setting. managers wield an enormous amount of power in joint-stock companies and the common shareholder has very little say in the way his or her money is used in the company. This last refers to the use that managers put the retained earnings of the company. Often the CEO himself is the Chairman of the Board of Directors as rates to siphon off funds. presupposes the existence of a deep and liquid stock market with considerable informational efficiency as well as a legal and financial system conducive to M&A activity. Most shareholders do not care to attend the General Meetings to elect or change the Board of Directors and often grant their “proxies” to the management. who really has the keys to the In the absence of profitable investment opportunities. Consequently the supervisory role of the Board is often severely compromised and the management. If and when the acquisition actually happens. these features do not exist in developing countries like India. however. For instance. As this would drive down the share price. In companies with highly dispersed ownership. of the issues in corporate governance. though perhaps the most important. This mechanism. managerial entrenchment (i. can potentially use corporate resources to further their own self. managers resisting replacement by a superior management) and sub-optimal use of free cash flows. Essentially corporate governance deals with effective safeguarding of the investors’ and creditors’ rights and these rights can be threatened in several other ways. The underlying premise is that shareholders dissatisfied with a particular management would simply dispose of their shares in the company. The inefficacy of the Board of Directors in monitoring the activities of management is particularly marked in the Anglo-Saxon corporate structure where real monitoring is expected to come from financial markets. Common areas of management action that may be sub-optimal or contrary to shareholders’ interests (other than outright stealing) involve excessive executive compensation. Even those that attend the meeting find it difficult to have a say in the selection of directors as only the management gets to propose a slate of directors for voting.interests rather than the interests of the shareholders. the company would become a takeover target. It is thus the fear of a takeover rather than shareholder action that is supposed to keep the management honest and on its toes. these funds are frequently squandered on questionable empire-building investments and acquisitions when their best use is to be returned to the shareholders.

India. Their own interests. managerial control of these businesses are often in the hands of a small group of people. The recent rise in stock and option related compensation for top managers in companies around the world is a reflection of this effort. who either own the majority stake. Thus. In addition. managers own enough to ensure that they keep their jobs come what may and can also find ways to make more money through uses of corporate funds that are sub-optimal for shareholders. for instance has a . then falling for a while (when the ownership is in the 5%-25% range. The legal environment encompasses two important aspects – the protection offered in the laws (de jure protection) and to what extent the laws are enforced in real life (de facto protection). German civil law and Scandinavian civil law. A more traditional manifestation of this idea is the fact that family business empires are usually headed by a family member. Legal environment. even when they are the majority shareholders. As managerial ownership (as a percentage of total shares) keeps on rising. or maintain control through the aid of other block holders like financial institutions. 3. One way to solve the corporate governance problem is to align the interests of the managers with that of the difficult for outsiders to track the business realities of individual companies in these behemoths. The English common law countries lead the four systems in the shareholder rights index with an average of 4 (out of a maximum possible 6) followed by Scandinavianorigin countries with an average score of 3 with the French-origin and German-origin countries coming last with average scores of 2. The Indian legal system is obviously built on the English common law system. The first index captures the extent to which the written law protected shareholders while the latter reflects to what extent the law is enforced in reality.10 The rationale for the decline in the intermediate range is that in that range.33 each. again for Fortune 500 companies) till it begins to rise again. need not coincide with those of the other – minority – shareholders. Such violations of minority sha reholders’ rights also comprise an important issue for corporate governance. This often leads to expropriation of minority shareholder value through actions like “tunneling” of corporate gains or funds to other corporate entities within the group. English-origin legal systems provide the best protection to shareho lder rights. has interesting implications for firm value. however. Researchers have used two indices for all these countries – a shareholder rights index ranging from 0 (lowest) to 6 (highest) and a rule of law index ranging 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest) – to measure the effective protection of shareholder rights provided in the different countries studied. Both these aspects play important roles in determining the nature of corporate governance in the country in question. French civil law. ownership patterns and Corporate Governance The legal system of a country plays a crucial role in creating an effective corporate governa nce mechanism in a country and protecting the rights of investors and creditors. Managerial ownership of corporate equity.11 Legal systems in most countries have their roots in one of the four distinct legal systems – the English common law. Recent research has forcefully connected the origins of the legal system of a country to the very structure of its financial and economic architecture arguing that the connection works through the protection given to external financiers of companies – creditors and shareholders. firm value is seen to increase for a while (till ownership reaches about 5% for Fortune 500 companies). commonly a family.

Scandinavian and French-origin countries of 0. This difference in protection of shareholders’ rights has led to completely different trajectories of financial and economic developments in the different countries.60 for the English-origin countries. The primary difference between the legal systems in advanced countries and those in developing countries lies in enforceme nt rather than in the nature of laws. Zimbabwe. They are also the best performers in mobilizing external finance. Corporate .68).79 companies per million citizens. Large block-holding emerges as the most important corporate governance mechanism with some potential roles for bank monitoring.45 companies per million citizens as compared to 27. most Asian countries are marked with concentrated stock ownership and a preponderance of family-controlled businesses while state-controlled enterprises form an important segment of the corporate sector in many of these countries. Hong Kong.46) and French-origin countries (6.00 for German and French-origin countries respectively). India. shareholders other than the three largest shareholders in each company) to the GNP of a country averages a remarkable 0.21 respectively. Enforcement of laws play a much more important role than the quality of the laws on books in determining events like CEO turnover and developing security markets by eliminating insider trading. India has 7. leading to limited external financing and ownership concentration. In such a situation many of the standard methods of corporate governance – market for corporate controls. Most advanced countries have very high scores on this index while developing countries typically have low scores.shareholder rights index of 5. In spite of their substantial variation in economic conditions and politico. Colombia. The Rule of law index is another story.79 and 10. The English-origin systems spawn the highest number of firms per capita (on average 35. employee monitoring and social control. Pakistan.17 on this index – ranking 41st out of 49 countries studied – ahead only of Nigeria. for instance has a score of 4.inbooks. Sri Lanka.30 and 0. Peru and Philippines. Japan and Switzerland. backgrounds. As for the ratio of external capital to GNP. Indonesia.46. India has a score of 0. Thus it appears that Indian laws provide great protection of shareholders’ rights on paper while the application and enforcement of those laws are lamentable. shareholder activism. Here the Scandinavian-origin countries have an average score of 10 – the maximum possible – followed by the German-origin countries (8. UK. highest in the sample examined – equal to that of the USA. This particularly hurts the development of new firms and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). board activity. English-origin countries (6.12 In an environment marked by weak enforcement of property rights and contracts. substantially higher than the average ratio for German.26 for Scandinavian-origin countries and 16.05).31 which puts it in the upper half of the sample. Pakistan and South Africa (all English-origin. Apart from the universal features of corporate governance. proxy fights and executive compensation – lose their effectiveness. countries) and better than all the other 42 countries in the study including countries like France.e. The ratio of the stock market capitalization held by minority shareholders (i. Asian economies as a group share certain common features that affect the nature of corporate governa nce in the region. Canada. one of the lowest for English-origin countries but higher than many French-origin countries and Germany. entrepreneurs and managers find it difficult to signal their commitment to the potential investors.

Similar to the effects for US companies. The effect of this concentrated ownership by management in Asian countries is not straightforward. appear to improve performance. The state is an important party in some countries in Asia. The corporate governance mechanism and efficiency in statecontrolled companies are generally deemed to inferior.14 It is believed that this is a result of the ineffectiveness of the legal system in protecting property rights. The non. Empirical analyses of the effects of ownership by other (non.15 In Taiwan. firm value rises with largest owner’s stake but declines as the excess of the largest owner’s management control over his equity stake increases. In post-liberalization India. In India. In its 2004 report on India23. in several East Asian countries. foreign ownership helps performance only if the foreigners constitute the majority shareholders. notably India and China. The World Bank’s Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) publishes a country-by-country analysis of the observance of OECD’s corporate governance codes.19 Ownership by other groups like groups in Asia are relatively scarce. corporate governance is not entirely ineffective in Asia. though this feature is prevalent in India as well. Concentrated ownership and family control are important in countries where legal protection of property rights is relatively weak.linear effects of entrenchment are also present with state ownership. familyrun companies with lower control by the family perform better than those with higher control. particularly East Asia.20 Hostile takeovers are all but absent in Asian countries. Several studies show that accounting performance is lower for state-owned enterprises in China. Even in 2002. CEOs are more likely to lose their jobs when corporate performance is poorer. External and minority representation in boards as well as participation by professionals are rare though increasing in Asian companies. enforcement of corporate laws remains the soft underbelly of the legal and corporate governance system.18 Institutional investors fulfill an important certification role in emerging markets. In many Asian countries.1%.22 See Box 2 for a discussion of a few typical features of Asian companies and their implications for corporate governance.13 Research has established the evidence of pyramiding and family control of businesses in Asian countries. the average shareholding of promoters in all Indian companies was as high as 48. but there is little evidence of their effectiveness in corporate governance in Asia. on the other hand. foreigners and lending institutions. Weak property rights are also behind the prevalence of family-owned businesses – organizational forms that reduce transaction costs and asymmetric information problems. Nevertheless. including India.governance issues have been of critical importance in Asian countries particularly since the Asian crisis which is believed to have been partly caused by lack of transparency and poor corporate governance in East Asian countries. Equity ownership by institutional investors like mutual funds has limited impact of performance in India. 16 Recent research has also investigated the nature and extent of “tunneling” of funds within business groups in India. Poor development of external financial markets also contributes to these ownership patterns. the ROSC found .17 During the 90’s Indian business groups evidently tunneled considerable amount of funds up the ownership pyramid thereby depriving the minority shareholders of companies at lower levels of the pyramid of their rightful gains. The premium for control is significant in most Asian countries and as high as 10% of the share price in Korea21.

The situation grew from bad to worse in the following decades and corruption. therefore. trading and settlements. 4. India emerged far better endowed than most other colonies. a well-developed equity culture if only among the urban rich. the corporate governance system resembled the bank-based German model where these institutions could have played a big role in keeping their clients on the right track.that while India observed or largely observed most of the principles. The contribution of nominee directors from financial institutions to monitoring and supervising management is one such area.000 complaints pending with the SEBI. At independence. India inherited one of the world’s poorest economies but one which had a factory sector accounting for a tenth of the national product. Some of the problems arise because of unsettled questions about jurisdiction issues and powers of the SEBI. the three all-India development finance institutions (DFIs)– the Industrial Finance Corporation of India. the Industrial Development Bank of India and the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India – together with the state financial corporations became the main providers of long-term credit to companies. nepotism and inefficiency became the hallmarks of the Indian corporate sector. The joint efforts of the Department of Company Affairs and SEBI to nail down the culprits have proved to be largely ineffective. The 1956 Companies Act as well as other laws governing the functioning of joint-stock companies The beginning of corporate developments in India were marked by the managing agency system that contributed to the birth of dispersed equity ownership but also gave rise to the practice of management enjoying control rights disproportionately greater than their stock ownership. The turn towards socialism in the decades after independence marked by the 1951 Industries (Development and Regulation) Act as well as the 1956 Industrial Policy Resolution put in place a regime and culture of licensing. it could do better in certain areas. Their nominee . they were themselves evaluated on the quantity rather than quality of their lending and thus had little incentive for either proper credit appraisal or effective follow-up and monitoring. As an extreme example. the Unit Trust of India. there have been cases of outright theft of investors’ funds with companies vanishing overnight. As for complaints about transfer of shares and non-receipt of dividends while the redress rate has been an impressive 95%. In the absence of a developed stock market. Exorbitant tax rates encouraged creative accounting practices and complicated emolument structures to beat the system. Thus there is considerable room for improvement on the enforcement side of the Indian legal system to help develop the corporate governance me chanism in the country. Corporate Governance in India – a background The history of the development of Indian corporate laws has been marked by interesting contrasts.24 In terms of corporate laws and financial system. Along with the government owned mutual fund. Improvements are also necessary in the enforcement of certain laws and regulations like those pertaining to stock listing in major exchanges and insider trading as well as in dealing with violations of the Companies Act – the backbone of corporate governance system in India. and a banking system replete with well-developed lending norms and recovery procedures. there were still over 135. four functioning stock markets (predating the Tokyo Stock Exchange) with clearly defined rules governing listing. protection and widespread red-tape that bred corruption and stilted the growth of the corporate sector. In this respect. they also held large blocks of sha res in the companies they lent to and invariably had representations in their boards. Unfortunately.

by which time the assets of the company are practically worthless. promoters of businesses in India could actually enjoy managerial control with very little equity investment of their own. but this would be the stage where India’s bankruptcy reorganization system driven by the 1985 Sick Industrial Companies Act (SICA) would consider it “sick” and refer it to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR). The Institute of Chartered Accountants in India has not been known to take action against erring auditors. Between 1987 and 1992 BIFR took well over two years on an average to reach a decision. Listing requirements of exchanges enforced some transparency. As soon as a company is registered with the BIFR it wins immediate protection from the creditors’ claims for at least four years. 5. the legal process takes over 10 years on average. in reality minority shareholders have often suffered from irregularities in share transfers and registrations – deliberate or unintentional. have usually been incompetent or unwilling to step up to the act. in flagrant violation of the spirit of corporate law. Noncompliance with disclosure norms and even the failure of auditor’s reports to conform to the law attract nominal fines with hardly any punitive action. after which period the delay has roughly doubled. This stage would come after the company has defaulted on its loan obligations for a while. Given this situation. but non-compliance was neither rare nor acted upon. All in all therefore. Borrowers therefore routinely recouped their investment in a short period and then had little incentive to either repay the loans or run the business. Protection of creditors’ rights has therefore existed only on paper in India. Boards of directors have been largely ineffective in India in monitoring the actions of management. Frequently they bled the company with impunity. This sordid but increasingly familiar process usually continued till the company’s net worth was completely eroded. Consequently. They are routinely packed with friends and allies of the promoters and managers. Very few companies have emerged successfully from the BIFR and even for those that needed to be liquidated. who could and should have played a particularly important role.directors routinely served as rubber-stamps of the management of the day. The nominee directors from the DFIs. Financial disclosure norms in India have traditionally been superior to most Asian countries though fell short of those in the USA and other advanced countries. the boards of directors have largely functioned as rubber stamps of the management. it is hardly surprising that banks. flush with depositors’ funds routinely decide to lend only to blue chip companies and park their funds in government securities. Sometimes non-voting preferential shares have been used by promoters to channel funds and deprive minority shareholders of their dues. With their support. Changes since liberalization The years since liberalization have witnessed wide-ranging changes in both laws . Minority shareholders have sometimes been defrauded by the management undertaking clandestine side deals with the acquirers in the relatively scarce event of corporate takeovers and mergers. For most of the post-Independence era the Indian equity markets were not liquid or sophisticated enough to exert effective control over the companies. While the Companies Act provides clear instructions for maintaining and updating share registers. minority shareholders and creditors in India remained effectively unprotected in spite of a plethora of laws in the books. siphoning off funds with the DFI nominee directors mute spectators in their boards.

Consequent ly. 25 These concerns about corporate governance stemming from the corporate scandals as well as opening up to the forces of competition and globalization gave rise to several investigations into the ways to fix the corporate governance situation in India. Established primarily to regulate and monitor stock trading. Besides in the area of corporate governance. as of March 31. 2003. 10 crore or with a net worth of Rs. Concerns about corporate governance in India were. to other listed companies with a paid up capital of over Rs. The Narayana Murthy committee worked on further refining the rules. Perhaps the single most important development in the field of corporate governance and investor protection in India has been the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) in 1992 and its gradual empowerment since then. Figure 1 shows the frequency of compliance of companies to the different aspects of the corporate governance regulation. A comparison of the three sets of recommendations in Table 1 reveal the progress in the thinking on the subject of corporate governance in India over the years. the spirit of the laws and principles is much more important than the letter.and regulations driving corporate governance as well as general consciousness about it. The SEBI committee recommendations have had the maximum impact on changing the corporate governance situation in India. it has played a crucial role in establishing the basic minimum ground rules of corporate conduct in the country. however. The Advisory Group on Corporate Governance of RBI’s Standing Committee on International Financial Standards and Codes also submitted its own recommendations in 2001. 2001. The Birla Committee. Later SEBI constituted two committees to look into the issue of corporate governance – the first chaired by Kumar Mangalam Birla that submitted its report in early 2000 and the second by Narayana Murthy three years later. paid much-needed attention to the subject of share transfers which is the Achilles’ heel of shareholders’ right in India. and all newly listed companies. They were applied to companies in the BSE 200 and S&P C&X Nifty indices. Table 1 provides a comparative view of the recommendations of these important efforts at improving corporate governance in India. largely triggered by a spate of crises in the early 90’s – the Harshad Mehta stock market scam of 1992 followed by incidents of companies allotting preferential shares to their promoters at deeply discounted prices as well as those of companies simply disappearing with investors’ money. The recommendations also show that much of the thrust in Indian corporate governance reform has been on the role and composition of the board of directors and the disclosure laws. on March 31. to companies with a paid up capital of Rs. The committee was formed in 1996 and submitted its code in April 1998. An outline provided by the CII was given concrete shape in the Birla Committee report of SEBI. SEBI implemented the recommendations of the Birla Committee through the enactment of Clause 49 of the Listing Agreements. however. Clearly much more needs to be accomplished in the area of compliance. developing a positive culture and atmosphere of corporate governance is essential is obtaining the desired goals. One of the first among such endeavors was the CII Code for Desirable Corporate Governance developed by a committee chaired by Rahul Bajaj. 25 crore at any time in the past five years. 2002. 3 crore on March 31. Corporate governance norms should not become just another legal item to be checked off by managers at the time of filing regulatory papers .

It is partly for these reasons that prudential norms of banking and close monitoring by the central bank of commercial bank activities are essential for smooth functioning of the banking sector.6. market institutions have been strengthened by government with attempts to infuse greater transparency and liquidity in markets for government securities and other asset markets.27 Competition has been encouraged with the issue of licenses to new private banks and more power and flexibility have been granted to the bank management both in directing credit as well as in setting prices. The RBI has moved to a model of governance by prudential norms rather from that of direct interference. The reforms have marked a shift from hands-on government control interference to market forces as the dominant paradigm of corporate governance in Indian banks. This market orientation of governance disciplining in banking has been accompanied by a stronger disclosure norms and stress on periodic RBI surveillance. Rules like nonlending to companies who have one or more of a bank’s directors on their boards are being softened or removed altogether. Two main features set banks apart from other business – the level of opaqueness in their functioning and the relatively greater role of government and regulatory agencies in their activities.26 The opaqueness in banking creates considerable information asymmetries between the “insiders” – management – and “outsiders” – owners and creditors. Liquidity and Systems and controls) approach. much more difficult for the owners to effectively monitor the func tioning of bank management. on the other hand. Greater independence of public sector banks has also been a key feature of the reforms. Along with these changes. bank failure owing to unethical or incompetent management action poses a threat not just to the shareholders but to the depositing public and the economy at large. Nominee directors – from government as well as RBIs – are being gradually phased off with a stress on Boards being more often elected than “appointed from above”. It is. Audit committees in banks have been stipulated since 1995. jeopardize the financial health of the bank as well as the economy itself. Existence of explicit or implicit deposit insurance also reduces the interest of depositors in monitoring bank management activities. thus allowing for “related party” transactions for banks. therefore. the possibility of corruption and diversion of credit of political purposes which may. Management. From 1994. in the long run. Given the pivotal role that banks play in the financial and economic system of a developing country. brings in its wake. Government control or monitoring of banks. The need for professional advice in the election of executive directors is . even allowing debate about appropriateness of specific regulations among banks. Asset quality. Earnings. Corporate Governance of Banks Nowhere is proper corporate governance more crucial than for banks and financial institutions. the Board for Financial Supervision (BFS) inspects and monitors banks using the “CAMELS” (Capital adequacy. The very nature of the business makes it extremely easy and tempting for management to alter the risk profile of banks as well as siphon off funds. There is increasing emphasis on greater professional representation on bank boards with the expectation that the boards will have the authority and competence to properly manage the banks within the broad prudential norms set by RBI.

It is generally believed that the “new” private banks have better and more professional corporate governance systems in place. Development of norms and guidelines are an important first step in a serious effort to improve corporate governance. a plethora of corporate governance norms and standards have sprouted around the globe. But their influence is restricted to the few top (albeit largest) companies. with industry organizations and chambers of commerce themselves pushing for an improved corporate governance system. Corporate governance in co-operative banks and NBFCs perhaps need the greatest attention from regulators. ho wever.increasingly realized. Nevertheless. As for old private banks. With the recent spate of corporate scandals and the subsequent interest in corporate governance. limiting the possibilities of professiona l excellence and opening the possibility of misdirecting credit. can very well be an important issue in many cases. Well over a hundred different codes and norms have been identified in recent surveys 28 and their number is steadily increasing. Rural co-operative banks are frequently run by politically powerful families as their personal fiefdoms with little professional involvement and considerable channeling of credit to family businesses. However. Minority shareholder exploitation. India has been no exception to the rule. however. that form a vast majority of Indian corporate entities. the Cadbury Committee recommendations for European companies and the OECD principles of corporate governance are perhaps the best known among these. the future of corporate governance in India promises to be distinctly better than the past. In the last few years the thinking on the topic in India has gradually crystallized into the development of norms for listed companies. Several committees and groups have looked into this issue that undoubtedly deserves all the attention it can get. Even the most prudent norms can be hoodwinked in a system plagued with widespread corruption. More needs to be done to ensure adequate corporate governance in the average Indian company. The bigger challenge in India. . But developing countries have not fallen behind either. The problem for private companies. lies in the proper implementation of those rules at the ground level. The agency problem is likely to be less marked there as ownership and control are generally not separated. the recent collapse of the Global Trust Bank has seriously challenged that view and spurred serious thinking on the topic. remains largely unaddressed. More and more it appears that outside agencies like analysts and stock markets (particularly foreign markets for companies making GDR issues) have the most influence on the actions of managers in the leading companies of the country. The Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in the USA. concentrated ownership remains a widespread characteristic.

The Indian situation may be thought of as a combination of these two conflicting models. The market for management control and the concomitant takeover threat then works to make sure that management does not lower shareholder interests. Block shareholders have relatively less power though financial institutions like pension funds do hold big chunks of stocks. failed to fulfill even their limited role in corporate governance . The company has a very close relationship with its Hausbank. In Germany for instance. Aufstichtsrat. Varying paths of financial evolution situate countries at different points in this market-institution spectrum with their positions determined by the nature of their economic endowments and the historical and political forces that shape their societies. marked with effective distancing of ownership and control. a universal bank that owns shares in the company and usually has board representation. Management is carried out by another board. about half of whose members are labor representatives. howeve r. It is characterized by effective an all-powerful CEO. Banks have practically no control over management. have. The market-based system or the Anglo-Saxon system. The power (as well as salaries) of the top management is far less than that in the AngloAmerican model. Corporations in the bank based systems in Germany and Japan function quite differently. Though the basic corporate legal structure is Anglo-Saxon. The board structure is substantially different with corporations being run by giant sized supervisory boards. The powers. appointed by and answerable to the supervisory board. These are the market-based system exemplified by the British and American systems and the bankbased system typified by Japan and Germany. in general. frequently also the chairman of the board of directors that barely accountable to a highly dispersed group of shareholders who generally find selling shares an easier way to express their dissatisfaction with inefficient management than creating a stir against it. share ownership is far less dispersed and financial institutions play a much bigger role in financing corporate activity. Nevertheless. there are two broad categories of financial systems which differ in their very basic structure. The company can rarely take a major step without the consent of its Hausbank. Good performance and high share price are essential to keep future cost of equity capital low. are considerably limited as compared to those in typical bank-based systems and universal banking is not widespread. share ownership is less diffuse and banks play a much more important role as providers of finance and monitors of day-to-day activity.Box 1: Alternative corporate governance mechanisms While corporate governance mechanisms differ from country to country. Share ownership and board representation of financial institutions give these bodies the abilities to serve as important monitors of management activities though the relationship. financial institutions. the Vorstand. trusts financial markets with the ultimate role of corporate governance.



.PROBLEMS OF CORPORATE GOVERNANCE Demand for information: In order to influence the directors.  Supply of accounting information: Financial accounts form a crucial link in enabling providers of finance to monitor directors. The traditional answer to this problem is the efficient market hypothesis (in finance.  Monitoring costs: A barrier to shareholders using good information is the cost of processing it. the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that financial markets are efficient). the shareholders must combine with others to form a voting group which can pose a real threat of carrying resolutions or appointing directors at a general meeting. Imperfections in the financial reporting process will cause imperfections in the effectiveness of corporate governance. be corrected by the working of the external auditing process.  CONCLUSION Corporate governance is thus in essence a requirement for the qualitative administration of an organization such that the organization stays true to its policies and ethos. which suggests that the small shareholder will free ride on the judgments of larger professional investors. ideally. This should. especially to a small shareholder.

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