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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs             27  July 2011

Philippine executives have transparency

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Philippine executives are more transparent compared with their regional peers, according to an expert on emerging markets.

“We’ve been satisfied with corporate governance in the Philippines for major companies so far because they have been quite transparent,” Dr. Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group told reporters in a briefing.

Mobius said executives in the Philippines were transparent and were able to communicate their messages to their shareholders.

“But smaller companies, that’s another question,” he added.

To further improve a company’s corporate governance ranking, Mobius urged Philippine firms to communicate more with their shareholders and issue quality reports focusing not merely on audited figures, but a management report-updating shareholders on what is happening in the company.

Templeton, which has been investing in the Philippines since 1987, closely looks at a firm’s independent directors, related party transactions, ownership, and history in terms of corporate governance before investing.

“Corporate governance is above anything because unless you have good corporate governance, you have a very real risk of losing all your investments,” Mobius said.

Mobius backed the establishment of the Maharlika Board, a special board for firms subscribing to higher corporate governance standards, saying it would be a “big plus” for the Exchange to boost investor confidence in the Philippines.

While the Maharlika Board and the establishment of real estate investment trusts are laudable, he stressed the need for more companies to go public to provide foreign investors options when investing here.

“We need more shares in the market, to see new companies coming to the market. If they don’t see enough liquidity, they shy away from investing here,” Mobius said.


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