Corporate financial management in India


Until the early 1890ss, corporate fiscal direction in India was a comparatively dreary and quiet activity. There were non many of import fiscal determinations to be made for the simple ground that houses were given really small freedom in the pick of cardinal fiscal policies. “The authorities regulated the monetary value at which houses could publish equity, the rate of involvement which they could offer on their bonds, and the debt equity ratio that was allowable in different industries. Furthermore, most of the debt and a important portion of the equity were provided by public sector institutions.”

“Working capital direction was even more forced with elaborate ordinances on how much stock list the houses could transport or how much recognition they could give to their clients.

Working capital was financed about wholly by Bankss at involvement rates laid down by the cardinal bank.”The thought that the involvement rate should be related to the creditworthiness of the borrower was still dissident. Even the quantum of working capital finance was related more to the recognition demand of the borrower than to creditworthiness on the rule that bank recognition should be used merely for productive intents. What is more, the compulsory pool agreements modulating bank recognition ensured that it was non easy for big houses to alter their Bankss or frailty versa.

Firms did non even have to worry about the deployment of excess hard currency. Bank recognition was provided in the signifier of an overdraft ( or hard currency recognition as it was called ) on which involvement was calculated on day-to-day balances. “This meant that even an nightlong hard currency excess could be parked in the overdraft history where it could gain ( or instead salvage ) involvement at the house ‘s adoption rate. Efficaciously, houses could force their hard currency direction jobs to their Bankss.

Volatility was non something that most finance directors worried about or needed to. The exchange rate of the rupee changed predictably and about unnoticeably. Administered involvement rates were changed infrequently and the alterations excessively were normally rather small” More unreassuring were the regulative alterations that could change the quantum of recognition or the intents for which recognition could be given.

In that epoch, “financial mastermind consisted mostly of happening one ‘s manner through the regulative labyrinth, working loopholes wherever they existed and above all cultivating relationships with those functionaries in the Bankss and establishments who had some discretional powers.”

The last six old ages of fiscal reforms have changed all this beyond acknowledgment. Corporate finance directors today have to take from an array of complex fiscal instruments ; they can now monetary value them more or less freely ; and they have entree ( albeit limited ) to planetary capital markets. On the other manus, they now have to cover with a whole new strain of aggressive fiscal mediators and institutional investors ; they are exposed to the volatility of involvement rates and exchange rates ; they have to agonise over capital construction determinations and worry about their recognition evaluations. If they make errors, they face requital from an progressively competitory fiscal market place, and the requital is frequently fleet and barbarous.

This paper begins with a speedy sum-up of the fiscal sector reforms that have taken topographic point since 1991. The paper concludes with a few arrows to the undertakings that lie in front peculiarly in the visible radiation of the East Asiatic fiscal crisis.

Financial Sector Reforms: A Summary:

Financial sector reforms are at the centre phase of the economic liberalisation that was initiated in India in mid1991. This is partially because the economic reform procedure itself took topographic point amidst two serious crises affecting the fiscal sector:

  1. “the balance of payments crisis that threatened the international credibleness of the state and pushed it to the threshold of default ; and
  2. The grave menace of insolvency facing the banking system which had for old ages concealed its jobs with the aid of faulty accounting policies.”Moreover, many of the deeper rooted jobs of the Indian economic system in the early 1890ss were besides strongly related to the fiscal sector:
  3. the job of fiscal repression in the sense of McKinnon-Shaw ( McKinnon, 1973 ; Shaw, 1973 ) induced by administered involvement rates pegged at unrealistically low degrees ;
  4. big scale “pre-emption of resources from the banking system by the authorities to finance its financial shortage ;
  5. inordinate structural and micro ordinance that inhibited fiscal invention and increased dealing costs ;
  6. comparatively unequal degree of prudential ordinance in the fiscal sector ;
  7. ill developed debt and money markets ; and
  8. Outdated ( frequently primitive ) technological and institutional constructions that made the capital markets and the remainder of the fiscal system extremely inefficient.”

Over the last six old ages, much has been achieved in turn toing many of these jobs, but a batch remains to be done. The undermentioned subdivisions review the advancement of fiscal sectors in some cardinal countries.

Exchange Control and Convertibility:

One of the early successes of the reforms was the velocity with which exceeding funding was mobilized from many-sided and bilateral beginnings to debar what at one phase looked like an at hand default on the state ‘s external duties. Subsequently, devaluation, trade reforms and the gap up of the economic system to capital influxs helped to beef up the balance of payments place. The important reforms in this country were:

  1. Exchange controls on current history minutess were increasingly relaxed climaxing in current history convertibility.
  2. Foreign Institutional Investors were allowed to put in Indian equities subject to limitations on maximal retentions in single companies. Restrictions remain on investing in debt, but these excessively have been increasingly relaxed.
  3. “Indian companies were allowed to raise equity in international markets subject to assorted limitations.
  4. Indian companies were allowed to borrow in international markets subject to a minimal adulthood, a ceiling on the maximal involvement rate, and one-year caps on aggregative externalcommercial adoptions by all entities put together.
  5. Indian common financess were allowed to put a little part of their assets abroad.
  6. Indian companies were given entree to long dated forward contracts and to traverse currency options.”

Banking and recognition policy:

At the beginning of the reform procedure, the banking system likely had a negative net worth when all fiscal assets and liabilities were restated at just market values ( Varma 1992 ) . This unhappy province of personal businesss had been brought approximately partially by imprudent loaning and partially by inauspicious involvement rate motions. At the extremum of this crisis, the balance sheets of the Bankss, nevertheless, painted a really different rose-colored image. Accounting policies non merely allowed the Bankss to avoid doing commissariats for bad loans, but besides permitted them to acknowledge as income the delinquent involvement on these loans. The badness of the job was therefore hidden from the general populace.

The menace of insolvency that loomed big in the early 1990s was, by and big, corrected by the authorities widening fiscal support of over 100 billion to the populace sector Bankss.

The Bankss have besides used a big portion of their operating net incomes in recent old ages to do commissariats for non-performing assets ( NPA ‘s ) . Capital adequateness has been farther shored up by reappraisal of existent estate and by raising money from the capital markets in the signifier of equity and subordinated debt. With the possible exclusion of two or three weak Bankss, the populace sector Bankss have now put the menace of insolvency behind them.

The major reforms associating to the banking system were:

  1. “Capital base of the Bankss were strengthened by recapitalization, public equity issues and subordinated debt.”
  2. “Prudential norms were introduced and increasingly tightened for income acknowledgment, categorization of assets, provisioning of bad debts, taging to market of investments.”
  3. Preemption of bank resources by the authorities was reduced aggressively.
  4. “New private sector Bankss were licensed and branch licensing limitations were relaxed.”
  5. “Detailed ordinances associating to Maximum Permissible Bank Finance were abolished”
  6. Consortium ordinances were relaxed well
  7. Recognition bringing was shifted off from hard currency recognition to loan method

The authorities support to the banking system of 100 billion sums to merely approximately 1.5 % of GDP. By comparing, authoritiess in developed states like the United States have expanded 3-4 % of GDP to draw their banking systems out of crisis ( International Monetary Fund, 1993 ) and authoritiess in developing states like Chile and Philippines have expanded far more ( Sunderarajan and Balino, 1991 ) .

However, it would be wrong to leap to the decision that the banking system has been nursed back to wellness painlessly and at low cost. The working consequences of the Bankss for 1995-96 which showed a pronounced impairment in the profitableness of the banking system was a blunt reminder that Bankss still have to do big commissariats to clean up their balance sheets wholly. Though bank profitableness improved well in 1996-97, it will be several more old ages before the unhealthy bequest of the yesteryear ( when directed recognition forced Bankss to impart to un- responsible borrowers ) is wiped out wholly by tighter provisioning. It is pertinent to observe that independent estimations of the per centum of bank loans which could be debatable are far higher than the reported figures on non executing assets worked out on the footing of the cardinal bank ‘s accounting criterions. For illustration, a recent study estimates possible ( worst instance ) job loans in the Indian banking sector at 35-60 % of entire bank recognition ( Standard and Poor, 1997 ) . The higher terminal of this scope likely reflects inordinate pessimism, but the lower terminal of the scope is possibly a realistic appraisal of the possible job loans in the Indian banking system.

The even more intimidating inquiry is whether the Bankss ‘ loaning patterns have improved sufficiently to guarantee that fresh loaning ( in the deregulated epoch ) does non bring forth inordinate non-performing assets ( NPA ‘s ) . That should be the true trial of the success of the banking reforms.

There are truly two inquiries here. First, whether the Bankss now possess sufficient managerial liberty to defy the sort of political force per unit area that led to excessive NPA ‘s in the past through loaning to borrowers known to be hapless recognition hazards. Second, whether the Bankss ‘ ability to measure recognition hazard and take prompt disciplinary action in the instance of job histories has improved sufficiently. It is hard to give an affirmatory reply to either of these inquiries ( Varma 1996 ) .

Turning to fiscal establishments, economic reforms deprived them of their entree to cheap support via the statutory preemptions from the banking system. They have been forced to raise resources at market rates of involvement. Concomitantly, the subsidised rates at which they used to impart to industry hold given to market driven rates that reflect the establishments ‘ cost of financess every bit good as an appropriate recognition spread. In the procedure, establishments have been exposed to competition from the Bankss who are able to mobilise sedimentations at lower cost because of their big retail subdivision web. Reacting to these alterations, fiscal establishments have attempted to reconstitute their concerns and move towards the cosmopolitan banking theoretical account prevalent in Continental Europe. It is excessively early to judge the success of these efforts.

Interest rate deregulating and fiscal repression:

Possibly the individual most of import component of the fiscal sector reforms has been the deregulating of involvement rates.

  1. Interest rates were freed on corporate bonds, most bank loaning, and bank sedimentations above one twelvemonth adulthood.
  2. Introduction of auctions coupled with decreased preemption led to more market determined involvement rates for authorities securities.
  3. Administered involvement rates are now confined chiefly to short term bank sedimentations, precedence sector loaning, and sedimentations of non banking fiscal companies.

For all practical intents, fiscal repression is a thing of the yesteryear. Even on short term retail bank sedimentations which are still regulated, the ceiling rate is good above the historic mean rate of rising prices. Furthermore, rather frequently the ceiling has non been a adhering restraint in the sense that existent involvement rates have frequently been below the regulative ceiling.

Similarly, the monetary values of most other fiscal assets are besides now determined by the more or less free drama of market forces. Consequently, fiscal markets are progressively able to execute the of import map of apportioning resources expeditiously to the most productive sectors of the economic system. This must number as one of the most abiding and decisive successes of the fiscal reforms.

Capital Markets:

The major reform in the capital market was “the abolishment of capital issues control and the debut of free pricing of equity issues in 1992. Simultaneously the Securities and

Exchange Board of India ( SEBI ) was set up as the apex regulator of the Indian capital markets.”In the last five old ages, SEBI has framed ordinances on a figure of affairs associating to capital markets. Some of the steps taken in the primary market include:

  1. “Entry norms for capital issues were tightened
  2. Disclosure demands were improved
  3. Regulations were framed and codification of behavior laid down for merchandiser bankers, investment bankers, common financess, bankers to the issue and other intermediaries.” In relation to the secondary market excessively, several alterations were introduced:
  4. Capital adequateness and prudential ordinances were introduced for agents, sub-brokers and other mediators.
  5. Dematerialization of scrip ‘s was initiated with the creative activity of a legislative model and the puting up of the first depositary.
  6. On-line trading was introduced at all stock exchanges. Margining system was strictly enforced.
  7. Settlement period was reduced to one hebdomad ; transport frontward trading was banned and so reintroduced in restricted signifier ; and probationary moves were made towards a turn overing colony system.

In the country of corporate administration:

  1. Regulations were framed for insider trading
  2. Regulatory model for take-over ‘s was revamped

SEBI has been traveling through a drawn-out acquisition stage since its origin. The evident urgency of immediate short term jobs in the capital market has frequently seemed to deflect

SEBI from the more critical undertaking of explicating and implementing a strategic vision for the development and ordinance of the capital markets.

In quantitative footings, the growing of the Indian capital markets since the coming of reforms has been really impressive. The market capitalisation of the Bombay Stock Exchange ( which represents about 90 % of the entire market capitalisation of the state ) has quadrupled from

1.1 trillion at the terminal of 1990-91 to 4.3 trillion at the terminal of 1996-97. As a per centum of GDP, market capitalisation has been more fickle, but on the whole this ratio has besides been lifting. Entire trading volume at the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange ( which together history for good over half of the entire stock market trading in the state ) has risen more than ten-fold from 0.4 trillion in 1990-91 to 4.1 trillion in 1996-97. The stock market index has shown a important addition during the period despite several ups and downs, but the addition is much less impressive in dollar footings because of the significant depreciation of the Indian rupee. It may besides be seen from the chart that after reached its extremum in 1994-95, the stock market index has been pine awaying at lower degrees apart from a brief explosion of euphory that followed an investor friendly budget in 1997. For the primary equity market excessively, 1994-95 was the best twelvemonth with entire equity issues ( public, rights and private arrangement ) of 355 billion.

Thereafter, the primary market collapsed quickly. Equity issues in 1996-97 fell to tierce of

1994-95 degrees and the diminution appear to be go oning in 1997-98 as good. More significantly, most of the equity issues in recent months have been by the populace sector and by Bankss. Equity issues by private fabrication companies are really few.

Structural deregulating:

In its midterm reappraisal of the reform procedure ( Ministry of Finance, 1993a ) , the authorities stated: “Our overall scheme for broader fiscal sector reform is to do a broad pick of instruments accessible to the populace and to manufacturers which requires a regulative model which gives sensible protection to investors without surrounding the market with ordinances which requires the interrupting up of monopolies and publicity of competition in the proviso of services to the populace which requires the development of new markets such as security markets for public debt instruments and options, hereafters and forward markets for fiscal instruments and commodities.”

Unfortunately, this is one country where existent advancement has lagged far behind declared purpose. It is true that some stairss have been taken to increase competition between fiscal mediators both within and across classs. Banks and fiscal establishments have been allowed to come in each other ‘s districts. William claude dukenfields like common financess, leasing, and merchandiser banking have been thrown unfastened to the Bankss and their subordinates. The private sector has been allowed into Fieldss like banking and common financess. However, major structural barriers remain:

  1. All major Bankss and fiscal establishments continue to be authorities owned and authorities managed.
  2. The full mechanism of directed recognition and selective recognition controls built up over the old ages is still in topographic point, and is being strengthened in certain countries.
  3. Fiscal mediators have frequently been compelled to put up separate arm ‘s length subordinates while come ining assorted sections of the fiscal services industry. This has prevented them from profiting from economic systems of range.
  4. Competition has besides been hindered by the unrelieved power of trusts like the Indian Banks Association ( IBA ) . In fact, these trusts have been accorded the silent support of the regulators. Similarly, the Securities and Exchange Board of India ( SEBI ) has been loath to allow aggressive competition among the different stock exchanges. These halfhearted efforts at advancing competition rise frights about the extent to which our regulators have succumbed to regulative gaining control by the organisations that they are supposed to modulate.
  5. Insurance continues to be a public sector monopoly. As a consequence, fiscal merchandises which combine the characteristics of life insurance with those of equity related instruments have non developed. The scope of insurance merchandises ( life and non-life ) available in the state is besides limited.
  6. The regulators have non yet moved to make a fully fledged options and hereafters market.
  7. On the technological forepart, advancement has been slow in of import countries. The payment system continues to be crude despite the cardinal bank ‘s efforts to make an Electronic Fund Transfer System ( EFTS ) . Antediluvian elements of the telecom ordinances have prevented the fiscal services industry from profiting from the meeting of communications and calculating engineerings.

Monetary policy and debt markets:

In the early 1890ss, the Indian debt market was best described as a dead market. Fiscal repression and over-regulation were responsible for this state of affairs. Reforms have eliminated fiscal repression and created the pre-conditions for the development of an active debt market:

  1. The authorities reduced its preemption of bank financess and moved to market determined involvement rates on its adoptions. Simultaneously, significant deregulating of involvement rates took topographic point as described earlier.
  2. Automatic monetisation of the authorities ‘s shortage by the cardinal bank was limited and so eliminated by get rid ofing the system of ad hoctreasury measures. Several operational steps were besides taken to develop the debt market, particularly the market for authorities securities:
  3. backdown of revenue enhancement tax write-off at beginning on involvement from authorities securities and proviso of revenue enhancement benefits to persons puting in them
  4. Introduction of indexed bonds where the chief refund would be indexed to the rising prices rate.
  5. puting up of a system of primary traders and orbiter traders for trading in authorities securities
  6. permission to Bankss to retail authorities securities
  7. Opening up of the Indian debt market including authorities securities to Foreign Institutional Investors.

Meanwhile a batch of good subscribed retail debt issues in 1996 and 1997 shattered the myth that the Indian retail investor has no appetency for debt. While merely 6 billion was raised through public debt issues in 1994 and 11 billion in 1995, the sums rose in 1996 was 56 billion. Debt accounted for more than half of the entire sum raised through public issues in 1996 compared to less than 10 % two old ages earlier. In 1997, public issues of debt fell to 29 billion, but with the prostration of the primary market for equity, the portion of debt in all public issues increased to 57 % . Meanwhile, private arrangement of debt ( which is a much bigger market than public issues ) has grown really quickly. Private arrangement of debt jumped from

100 billion in 1995-96 to 181 billion in 1996-97 ; in the first half of 1997-98, it grew once more by over 50 % with 136 billion mobilized in these six months alone1.

India is possibly closer to the development of a vivacious debt market than of all time before, but several jobs remain:

  1. The cardinal bank has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to fall back to micro-regulation and usage market falsifying instruments of pecuniary and exchange rate policy instead than unfastened market operations and intercessions ( Varma and Moorthy, 1996 ) . For illustration, every bit tardily as 1996, the cardinal bank was trusting on moral suasion and direct subscriptions to authorities securities ( devolutions ) to finish the authorities ‘s adoption plan. The RBI ‘s response to the force per unit area on the rupee in late 1997 and early 1998 besides reveal an unrelieved preference for micro-regulation.
  2. Some of the plangency of debt markets in 1996 and 1997 was due to the down conditions in the equity markets.
  3. Small advancement has been made on the major legal reforms needed in countries like bankruptcy, foreclosure Torahs, and stamp responsibilities.


As one looks back at the last six old ages of reforms, it is apparent that India has undertaken fiscal sector reforms at a easy gait and that there is a big unfinished docket of reforms in this sector ( Varma, 1996 ) . At the same clip, it is true that India has avoided the fiscal sector jobs that plagued Latin America in the 1880ss and are facing East Asia today. It is alluring ( and possibly stylish ) to follow a position of self-satisfied satisfaction and point to East Asia as a exoneration of the slow gait of liberalisation in India.

It would nevertheless be a error if Indian corporates allowed themselves to be lulled into complacence. East Asia has awakened us to the dangers that arise from a combination of high purchase in the corporate sector, hapless corporate administration, an inexplicit currency nog and the ensuing overestimate of the currency, high dependance on external adoptions, a weak banking system and widespread implicit warrants by the authorities. Though many of these factors are present in India excessively, they have been far more hushed than in East Asia, and India has hence come to be seen as less vulnerable. More significantly, extended capital controls have meant that India is less exposed to planetary fiscal markets. However, we must non bury that fiscal markets are merely the couriers of bad intelligence and that by cutting ourselves off from these couriers, we do non acquire rid of the bad intelligence itself. East Asia should be seen as a warning for the Indian corporate sector to prosecute more prudent and sustainable fiscal policies.