By Arundhati Sarkar
HDFC Bank Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd. have the best corporate governance practices as the standards improved for Indian companies in the past one year, compelled by a changing regulatory dynamic and greater engagement with investors.
That’s what a report on Indian corporate governance by the BSE Ltd., IFC and Institutional Investor Advisory Services said. It suggest that Indian firms are now benchmarking themselves to higher standards.
The report ranked companies on best practice requirements covered by the high-level SEBI committee headed by banker Uday Kotak, which had suggested a major overhaul of corporate governance norms for listed entities.
Among the S&P BSE 100 companies, which form two-thirds of the BSE’s market capitalisation, HDFC Bank, Infosys, Wipro are at the top, the report said.
Infosys features for the second time despite the tussle between co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and the erstwhile board over corporate governance and remuneration to top executives. That culminated with the exit of Vishal Sikka as chief executive officer and co-founder Nandan Nilekani’s return at the helm, this time a chairman.
The sharpest increase in scores from these top 10 was observed for Wipro, where the score increased due to better disclosures on the website, and in the annual report, on aspects of board evaluation, leadership experience, and succession planning.
The report highlights that the median score of the S&P BSE Sensex 30 companies is higher than of the remaining 70 companies in S&P BSE 100 Index. Sensex companies tend to have better disclosures and more robust checks and balances, leading to a higher governance threshold.
On a sectoral basis, companies which are service-focused tend to have a better score, the report said. Information technology, telecom, financial and consumer staples lead the chart.
Institutionally owned and widely held companies also have better governance scores compared with family-owned and public sector firms.
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