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 WB report finds BD capital mkt one of most underdeveloped

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PostSubject: WB report finds BD capital mkt one of most underdeveloped   Fri May 28, 2010 4:01 pm

Munima Sultana

A World Bank (WB) report on corporate governance finds that the capital market of Bangladesh remains one of the most underdeveloped in the region and recommends formulating a new corporate act (CA) and a change of regulatory guidelines to make it effective.

The report "Corporate Governance Country Assessment 2009" finds that the basic legal framework for corporate governance in Bangladesh is dated and has a number of contradictions and points of confusion between the various rules and regulations that apply to listed companies.

It reveals that there are insufficient rights of shareholders regarding related party transactions and choice of board members and suggests ensuring greater independence and professionalism in the boardrooms of both the listed companies and the state-owned enterprises by formulating the new CA.

"A new company act should be introduced as part of broader reform to make the legal framework for corporate governance more coherent and effective. This reform should strengthen shareholder rights and the accountability of directors. The registrar office should undergo comprehensive reform to allow it to fulfil its legal obligations," the report, first of its kind, says.

The study conducted in 2008 recommends giving more efforts on improving the quality of accounting and auditing and says the independence and professionalism of boards should be enhanced to assess auditor quality.

The country report identifies a number of problems including inefficient board composition and managed annual general meeting and recommends formation of financial reporting council to protect the interest of the shareholders.

Good corporate governance ensures that companies use their resources more efficiently, protect minority shareholders, lead to better decision making and improve relations with workers, creditors and other stakeholders.

Praising both public and private sectors for taking steps to improve corporate governance in recent years including the SEC's Guidelines on Corporate Governance 2006, its initiatives to address so-called "Z" companies, incorporating some international standards for accounting and auditing, the report said the new CA should include explicit directors' duties and responsibilities, improve shareholders' rights and raise the fines for non-compliance.

The WB report will be officially released tomorrow (Saturday).
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