Letter: Corporate governance goes beyond disclosure 1

The report by the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business and Yever rightly refers to the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard. The region offers good lessons for policymakers in Myanmar to take note.

For example, the Thai government has digitalised company information of every Thai legal entity recently, which covers shareholding structure, income statements and financial ratios. This is very useful for both practitioners and prospective business partners and investors to undertake due diligence. The same tools have been available in European jurisdictions for some years already, and are proven to enhance the transparency of business operations.

While the report focuses more on information disclosure, corporate reform goes beyond transparency and needs effective governance. The Pwint Thit Sa report includes recommendations which Myanmar companies, government, the Anti-Corruption Commission, lawmakers and institutional investors should all take note.

Particularly relevant to large companies and public companies is that good governance requires a professional Board of Directors, fully empowered by the shareholders, as well as an equally professional audit committee and independent directors. To put it simple, a “check and balances” system within a business organisation is necessary.

The regulations currently required for companies to be listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange merit changes. The authorities should consider easing regulations for smaller companies while providing more support for businesses to reform and prepare for listing.

Given the level of corporate governance and economy, growing the number of listed companies on YSX is an ambitious goal. Raising awareness among stakeholders, regulators and companies is essential.

Pietro Borsano

Bangkok and Mandalay