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India 'could learn from Australia' in corporate governance

Posted by: Laurence Simons 21/05/13

I'm not going to start this story by asking what Australia and India have in common, because that sounds worryingly like the start of an off-colour Bernard Manning joke. Instead, I'm just going to tell you what they have in common - an economy that needs to be considered on a regional rather than national basis.

As anyone who has ever tried to put a single-size bed sheet on a double bed will know, it's important to adapt your approach to the circumstances at hand, and while the UK and the US have made good strides in corporate governance over the last few years it is clear that India will need to take a different tack.

Australian legal expert Robert Austin, speaking to the Hindu, called for in-house lawyers in India to adopt a regional approach such as is seen in Australia and in other Asian nations.

"It is time for us to share and adapt the best of each other's regulatory experience so as to build on the Asian region's existing economic success. Good regulation creates value," explained Mr Austin.

Hidden in amongst the frantic hand-rubbing over the economic boom in Asia has been the occasional spot of hand-wringing over the regulatory environment and lack of governance norms in these nations, and India has been under especial scrutiny in recent years.

Taking the example of Australia, where the "continuous disclosure regulatory regime for listed companies is onerous", the legal expert indicated that more legislation could be the way forward for India if it is to continue its impressive economic performance.