Moneylife Foundation Corporate Governance Awards

Welcome to Moneylife Foundation Corporate Governance awards, 2021. These awards are different for a number of reasons. For one, the initial shortlist was based on direct nominations from several famous investors, analysts, fund managers and researchers, who in themselves would have comprised a top jury. We are personally aware of their work and their long experience of watching listed Indian companies very closely. The nominations themselves gave us, the jury a very filtered list of companies to start with. The jury comprised R Balakrishnan (with vast experience in research, rating, investment and fund management), Prof JP Singh (retired professor of IIM Ahmedabad), Debashis Basu, trustee MLF with our deputy editor Yogesh Sapkale as Member-coordinator. Secondly, we have adopted a unique evaluation process, which we have described below.

Mr M Damodaran, former Chairman of SEBI, will give out the awards in an online event. This is an award for corporate governance, not good corporate citizens, or corporate social responsibility. But beyond checking all the boxes on governance and performance, each of these companies has showed remarkable sensitivity to all their stakeholders – customers, suppliers and employees and citizens. Our video interviews with each of the finalists brings out this facet very vividly.

The Process

The nominations went through a rigorous qualitative and quantitative analysis by Gautam Bafna and his team at Wisdom Torch Consulting Solutions. They created the framework and evaluation template to judge these 35 companies under 11 major heads (some had as many as seven sub–heads) such as:
- Statutory Compliance
- Board composition and functioning
- Communication with shareholders
- Shareholder-related actions
- Ownership structure
- Related-party transactions
- Extraordinary gestures
- Investor complaints

Wisdom Torch collated information on every company, which involved trawling through annual reports for data on directors’ meetings, board meetings attended, related party transactions, checking news articles, and statutory filings. This was distilled, quantified, colour coded and summarised into an easy-to-understand presentation for the jury. This process eliminated biases since it dispassionately covered objective governance parameters. The jury held two rounds of detailed deliberations to create a first short list of 11 from 35.

Our analysts then did another round of search on for any regulatory action we may have missed. JN Gupta, MD of Stakeholder Empowerment Services allowed us access to their website for details on some of the companies that are tracked by the proxy advisory firm. This helped us arrive at the final shortlist of five nominees, who all meet very exacting standards of governance. These were KPR Mill, Laurus Labs, Natco Pharma, Suven Pharma and Thejo Engineering.