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BRAZIL: "Working in Brazil: Important information for your assignment" report

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back to index backLATINtalk March,  2006

Corporate governance in Latin America: giving minority shareholders a voice

Corporate governance remains a key issue in Latin America, where many firms are family-owned and minority shareholders’ interests remain neglected, reports the Financial Times. Yet many foreign investors are happy to accept the higher risks associated with investing in Latin America in exchange for higher returns, writes Andrea Walsh. Chile is the region’s corporate governance showcase thanks to its solid banking regulations, large base of institutional investors and a new shareholder rights law passed at the end of 2000. Good corporate governance is also attracting investors in Brazil.

The recent approval of a new securities law should strengthen minority shareholder rights in Mexico, writes Benedict Mander. The new law, which requires oversight by independent boards and stricter disclosure, is hoped to stimulate public offerings, he adds. Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe has also raised corporate governance standards, promoting takeovers, mergers and foreign investment, reports Andy Webb-Vidal. There are also plans to merge Colombia’s banking and stock market regulators into a single body to guard against financial crises, he explains. Government intervention in Venezuela, on the other hand, has created problems for listed companies and destroyed investor confidence. Overall, tougher enforcement of existing regulations is still needed in Latin America to encourage ethical corporate behavior, the authors conclude.

Source: Egon Zehnder International - GAI

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