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Unprotected checks

Doing Business 2017: Protecting minority investors
Doing Business 2017: Protecting minority investors

When it comes to protecting minority investors, the Philippines is struggling to compete with fellow members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). In short, the checks and balances that assist investor confidence are flimsy. This is how the Asean states were ranked globally (out of 190 countries) in the World Bank’s 2017 Doing Business report – a report which investors regularly look to when assessing the viability of putting their money into emerging markets:

Singapore is in 1st place; Malaysia, 3rd, Thailand, 27th; Indonesia, 70th; Vietnam, 87th; Brunei 102nd; Cambodia, 113th; Philippines 137th; Laos, 165th; Myanmar, 179th. Interestingly, Timor Leste – in Southeast Asia though not in Asean – is ranked 70th.

In terms of shareholder rights, disclosure and director liability, particularly, the Philippines has managed to make itself look very unattractive by the side of most of its Asean peers. And once again – like so much of what’s lacking and substandard in the doing-business environment in the Philippines, the courts and the legal processes they oversee (or don’t) can take much of the credit for this failure.


  • So true. Court TROs, limitation on business ownership of foreigners, accreditation of professionals other than PRC, gross sales based business permit fee, multi-agency clearances for small businesses and lots of other non-effective requirements depending on the whims of government agencies are boon to doing business in the Philippines. There must be professional operational audit of government regulatory practices.

  • I’m not overly surprised at Myanmar being at 179th – “interestingly” its growing fast and has lots of potential – but the risks are still massive. Infrastructure is poor, political stability urm.. well, ‘under table’ dealings – all this aside, I was surprised (or perhaps not so) to recently watch Aung San Suu Kyi, give a rather demure interview in which her passion for forward momentum seemed to have been somehow stifled.
    And during which she flatly rejected that there was any genocidal scenario against the Rohingya peoples. Saddening and perhaps pandering to the growing power of what is probably the only current form state endorsed, militant Buddhism.