(Continued from Part 1)
Mr Keki Mistry, Chairman, CII National Council on Corporate Governance & Vice Chairman and CEO, HDFC Limited reflected on how with the onset of the pandemic, boards are operating under far greater scrutiny than ever before with increased regulatory requirements. He provided an overview on some key focus areas in the corporate governance sphere. He highlighted risk management particularly cyber security risks; composition of the Board including diversity; time commitment of directors; expectations from independent directors; shareholder activism as some key focus areas. Mr Mistry highlighted that a whistle blower policy is a critical element of internal control. But it is also equally important to ensure that there are sufficient checks and balances in the system so that mala fide intentions are discouraged and complaints with dishonest intents penalized. Speaking on shareholder activism, he highlighted how investors exert influence in governance both directly and through their proxy advisors and hence, shareholder activism is bound to become more pronounced in India. Mr Mistry enumerated the increasing focus on environmental, social and governance issues and asserted how markets are giving greater weightage to companies that provide sustained value creations.
Speaking at the Summit, Mr Shyamak Tata, Chairman, Deloitte India said that corporate governance and boards will have to play a far more nuanced and impactful role in a post pandemic world on the cusp of a recovery – one where definitions of long term vision and sustainable growth are being refreshed and renewed. As India Inc. gears up towards a resilient future, the Boardroom agendas will expand and focus towards new emerging topics such as Corporate purpose, Human capital management, Cyber security, and Climate and other environmental and sustainability matters. At a larger ecosystem level it would be critical for Corporates, Boards, Regulators and all other stakeholders to come together and collaborate towards the common purpose of good governance thereby creating a much stronger and agile environment that is built on mutual trust, understanding and respect, he said.
Delivering the welcome remarks at the Summit, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) lauded that SEBI has introduced several reforms during the last one year to protect the interest of investors and to enhance corporate governance standards in the country. These reforms helped streamline the functioning of the corporates and facilitated industry continue functioning as the normal, despite COVID-19 challenges. All these important initiatives help reduce market volatility, enhancing liquidity, and improving overall transparency and governance standards of the industry. He reckoned that few of the relaxations introduced during Covid-19 period may be extended and rather carried in perpetuity even after the pandemic. He also congratulated SEBI for the latest decisions on sustainability reporting requirements and constitution of risk management committees. Mr Banerjee also drew the attention on few proposals in the SEBI Consultation Paper on review of regulatory provisions related to Independent Directors.
The CII Corporate Governance Summit organised over 2 days covers pertinent topics like Board's Preparedness to Manage Disruption in Covid-19 Crisis, Resilience and Risk Management to Survive Uncertainty, Cyber Security, Data Governance and Corporate Governance and Role, Responsibility and Liability of Independent Directors.
6 April 2021