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.