SpeakIn Expert Talk: N. R Narayana Murthy shares insight on 'Corporate governance in Indian banks’ - The Daily Guardian
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SpeakIn Expert Talk: N. R Narayana Murthy shares insight on ‘Corporate governance in Indian banks’

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SpeakIn and Indian Banks Association in partnership with Capgemini on Friday presented a captivating session with Infosys founder N.R Narayana Murthy on ‘Corporate Governance in Indian Banks’. The 30-minute session, which witnessed the attendance of top banking leadership, was presented as a part of SpeakIn’s new series titled ‘SpeakIn Expert Talk’.

Chief Executive of Indian Banks Association Mr Sunil Mehta, all praises for N.R Narayana Murthy in his opening remarks, expressed, “N R Narayana Murthy’s prominence is much echoed and vibrated in not just Indian industry but equally by the International business community. He is a man of distinct vision, fountain of illuminating ideas and an idol of knowledge, value system and inspiration to all of us.”

Introducing the idea of corporate governance, especially in Indian banks, Rajkiran Rai G., Chairman of Indian Banks Association and MD & CEO of Union Bank of India said, “When you talk of corporate governance, primarily, we are referring to the code and conduct of decision makers of a company. It is about set up systems, processes and principles, which ensure that a company is governed in the best interest of all stakeholders. It is about promoting fairness, transparency and accountability. It is about commitment to values, ethical business conduct and about making a distinction between personal and corporate funds in the management of a company. While these aspects are known to every management and firm, very few have been practicing it in letter and spirit.

Speaking about Covid-19 challenge, Mr Rajkiran added, “Last year, in particular, a challenge was posed to all good narrative of corporate world in India with several high and mighty firms and their distinguished management violating the trust of people. Unfortunately, those entrusted to keep a vigilant eye have not covered themselves in glory either. We needed to build a systemic response in terms of legal architecture and regulatory capacities. A lot has been achieved in these years, more importantly, however, we need to discover the inherent virtues of business that values ethics, honesty and integrity over any profit and loss.”

Vishal Dixit, Managing Director of Capgemini Financial Services, also shared his views and said, “Last 20 years of corporate governance in banking has changed drastically. Some names that come to mind are Lemon brothers, Enron and if you look closer to home, then Satyam. This trigged action and various committees were set up to institutionalise corporate governance and transparency framework in various parts of the world. Strong policies on corporate governance of banks are essential and critical because size and complexity of financial institutions are growing by the day and these are not checked it can have serious financial instability implications. Even after so many measures, we still have instances in the banking and financial sector, which we have recently foreseen. Clearly, people are finding loopholes in the policies. Therefore, there is a need to have continuous discussions and reviews to identify areas of improvement and immediate amendments to the policy. RBI has recently released the discussion paper in June 2020 on corporate governance banking, the need to empower board of directors and set the culture of value transparency in the organisation.”

In a conversation with SpeakIn Founder Deepshikha Kumar, Mr Murthy spoke about how organisations can improve corporate governance and the steps they need to follow to raise the bar of corporate governance. He said, “The most important initiative that we all have to take is to change the culture of the country. Unless there is a cultural transformation in India, I don’t think economic transformation will be easy to implement. I believe that the culture of a nation determines how its public institutions develop, sustain and operate. It takes long years to make the institutions strong. Even the countries where institutions are strong, one misguided individual, as we saw recently, supported by the silence of the powerful and the elite can weaken these institutions. It will take a long time to rebuild it. Countries like India, who were under the control of foreign invaders for almost 1000 years, we lost the sense of commitment to the society. This was because Indians thought that the society, or what was public, belonged to somebody who was either in Europe, or Uzbekistan or Afghanistan. Therefore, Indians focused on making their families strong and blundering commons that Indians considered as belonging to these invaders. This mindset developed over 1000 years and will take a long time to change. Therefore, wealth belonging to a corporate or deposits in a bank have been considered as a perfect gain for plundering by the rich and powerful.”

He added, “The problem of poor corporate governance steps from this mindset. The deficits in corporate governance in India stem from the primary problem of increasing agency cost and related transactions that benefit the owner managers and the professional management. This problem translates to using public resources illegally to make oneself richer. This problem will be reduced when there is a cultural transformation in India. When using public money for personal benefits will be punished heavily and when the society ostracises such offenders very severely.

Ms Deepshika further asked how do we get alignment of all stakeholders in building awareness, implementation and measuring the effectiveness of corporate governance. Moreover, what rules should we deploy to measure corporate governance. To which, Mr Murthy responded, “First of all, the best way to eliminate such deficits or reduce the number of such deficits is for a board member to ask if such an action would enhance respect for him or her in the eyes of the society. We have to accept that respect is more important than wealth and power. Second, the board members must be made to realise that they serve to enhance the interest of every shareholder and stakeholder. Today, there is a feeling among board members in India that they operate at the pleasure of either the CEO or Chairman. Ofcourse, there is also a feeling among the bureaucrats that serve the boats of public sector banks that they are not accountable to individual stakeholders, even though they may be in minority, and that they are accountable only to their bosses sitting in Delhi or the state capital. Increasing accountability to every shareholder is important. Third, Directors should not appointed by the government for listed public sector banks but they should be appointed only by shareholders through voting. These directors must be held accountable to every shareholder. Full transparency must be provided to the report of investigation of any governance problem taken by any outside agency. Fourth, the board should recuse itself and appoint a set of respected and accomplished members of the society when any member of the board or any of the CFOs is accused. Fifth, SEBI may want to mandate the trading of every incoming board member on the basics of business and governance, give them a test and then certify if they can indeed be admitted to the board. The candidates for chairmanship must undergo additional training and certification. Sixth, Boards have to conduct annual peer survey among the board members on their performance of each member of the board. The chairman generally sits with each member of the board, discusses his or her performance, suggest remedies for weaknesses and crops him or her if the performance is not improved after two examinations. The Chairman’s performance is handled by the late Independent director along with two respected and accomplished members of the society who are experts in that particular business field. Seventh, any deficits created by board members must be punished heavily by drawing back the fee received by the board member and an additional fine. In some cases, the board members may have to face criminal charges. I believe that if we implement these suggestions, there will be a deterrent for members of the board and CFOs to indulge in creating corporate governance deficits.”

Watch the entire broadcast here:

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How Easy is It to Get a Business Address in London?

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If you are thinking about starting a business, you are going to have some paperwork to do first. Namely, one thing you will need is a business address. This is something that is required no matter what industry you are entering or even if you are running the brand from home. After all, people, including the taxman, need to know where to contact you.

We all know that having a business address in London is going to be impressive. It can give your new brand the recognition that it needs to be successful. But is it really possible to get one? Let’s take a look at the ways you can acquire a business address in London.

Buy Property

Let’s start with the obvious way you can get a business address in London. You can buy property in the capital. This is going to be the most expensive way to get this type of address for your business, but it is a sure way to do it. If you have this kind of money in the bank, it would be an investment.

However, the reality is that if you are starting a new business, you might not have a lot of capital behind you. Indeed, you will have a small budget to work with and it may not be possible to purchase property in London. The prices are way above the average in the country, which can make things very difficult. This is not to mention the competition for business property in London.

Use a Virtual Office

The next option is a relatively new one that you might not have heard about before. We are talking about acquiring a virtual office. This means that you are going to have a business address in London. But, you do not necessarily have to work in the city. In fact, you can work from another location that is best for your business, which includes working from home. For instance, you can get a W1 Virtual business address. This is a company that can offer several prestigious locations in London that you can use for your business address, with your mail sent here, as well as other official correspondence.

A lot of people ask whether having a virtual office is legitimate and legal. The answer is yes. The benefits from having one are immense. It is going to be the most affordable way to have an address in London, being a lot cheaper than renting an office space. Plus if gives you the freedom to work from anywhere. For example, perhaps you like for all of your team to work remotely. Well, this is a way that they can do this but you can still have a registered address in the capital.

Rent an Office Space

Another option you have is to rent an office space for your team. This might be something that you have to look into if you need to work on projects together on a daily basis. You may prefer to have your team present and work in an office compared to at home. Renting can seem more affordable than buying property since you are able to spread out the payments for your business.

However, you also have to remember that renting prices in the capital are high. Again, they are above the average rent prices and for new businesses, this might not be something that is feasible. What’s more, there is a lot of competition to rent an office space in the capital. Indeed, a lot of businesses are in a similar position in that they might not be able to affordable purchasing an office space here. So, they believe that the next best option is to rent. It is likely that you will have to work hard to win the race and to impress the owner.

What is the Best Option for My Business?

There you have it; there are three main ways to acquire a business address in London. So, what is going to be the best option for your business? Well, you are going to have to consider two things. What your budget is right now when it comes to your office space and what you would like to achieve in the future. 

For example, if you have a huge budget and want to settle in the capital permanently, purchasing an office space might be on the cards. Alternatively, if you are on a budget and want the freedom to work from anywhere, a virtual office is a good option. Alternatively, renting can be a way to have your team in an office and be able to spread out payments.

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Rupee depreciates below 81-mark against US dollar in early trade, on a first

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Dollar-Rupees

The rupee fell 44 paise and fell below the 81-mark against the US dollar in early trade on Friday, weighed down by the strong US currency and risk-off sentiment among investors.

Forex traders said the escalation of geopolitical risk in Ukraine and rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England to combat inflation had dampened risk appetite.

Furthermore, the strength of the US dollar in the international market, a downward trend in domestic equities, and risk-off sentiments as the geopolitical risk in Ukraine escalated weighed on the local currency.

The rupee opened at 81.08 against the US dollar on the interbank foreign exchange, then fell to 81.23, a 44-paise drop from its previous close.

The rupee fell by 83 paise on Thursday, its most significant single-day loss in nearly seven months, to close at an all-time low of 80.79 against the US dollar.

The Bank of England increased its key interest rate by 50 basis points (bps) to a 14-year high of 2.25 per cent.

The Bank of Japan intervened in the foreign exchange market for the first time in 24 years to stem a falling Yen after keeping rates at record lows, according to IFA Global Research Academy, while the Swiss National Bank hiked rates by a record 75 basis points to 0.5%.

The Federal Reserve of the United States raised interest rates by 75 basis points to 3-3.25 per cent.

On Thursday, the RBI was conspicuously absent from the spot market as the rupee fell by 1%, possibly because it wanted the rupee to catch up, according to Anil Kumar Bhansali, Head of Treasury, Finrex Treasury Advisors.

“All major events are over for this month as we await RBI’s MPC to give its verdict on September 30, 2022,” Bhansali added.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which measures the strength of the US currency against a basket of six currencies, rose 0.05 per cent to 111.41.

Brent crude futures fell 0.57 per cent to USD 89.94 per barrel, the global oil benchmark.

The 30-share BSE Sensex was trading 558.59 points, or 0.94 per cent, lower at 58,561.13, while the broader NSE Nifty was down 153.10 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 17,476.70.

According to exchange data, foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Thursday, offloading shares worth Rs 2,509.55 crore.

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Rupee hits record low against US dollar, prone to fall further: Analysts

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Dollar-Rupees

The Indian rupee is expected to fall further after reaching a record low against the US dollar on Thursday, as the US Federal Reserve hinted at more aggressive rate hikes to combat inflation. The rupee opened at a record low of 80.2850 per US dollar, down from 79.9750 the day before.

The Fed raised interest rates by 75 basis points, as expected. More importantly, it hinted that more hikes were on the way and that rates would remain high until 2024. Asian currencies began the day weaker, with the Chinese yuan falling below 7.10 per dollar.

“After the hawkish Fed Reserve commentary, the rupee is (set to fall)”, said Anil Bhansali, head of treasury at Finrex Treasury Advisors.

“The intervention from the central bank will remain crucial and they are expected to be present through the day. However, they may allow a closing for the pair above 80 today.”

If the RBI decides to take a step back, Samir Lodha, managing director at QuantArt Market Solutions, believes the rupee will suffer further losses.

“Once RBI allows INR to trade beyond 80 on a consistent basis, I expect rupee to head towards 82.0 in a couple of months on account of the trade deficit and due to global recession and money supply tightening,” Lodha said. It is possible that “rupee will depreciate further with RBI intervention to control it whenever required,” said Venkatakrishnan Srinivasan, founder and managing partner at Rockfor Fincap.

However, any potential RBI intervention may be less aggressive this time, according to Arnob Biswas, head of FX at SMC Global Securities.

“Given the Fed’s hawkish stance, the RBI may not be aggressive. Furthermore, a significant drop in net liquidity in the system may justify doing so “Biswas stated.

According to Dilip Parmar, research analyst at HDFC Securities, “even if the RBI steps in, it will only be a temporary support and will not change the direction.”

Meanwhile, Kunal Sodhani, vice president of Sinhan Bank’s global trading centre, stated “Stop losses may be triggered by a large number of option sellers. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the RBI responds from here “Sodhani explained.

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What are the top 10 challenges and solutions in the event hire industry today?

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Like pretty much every industry sector in the UK (and globally), the event hire sector was ravaged by COVID.  Events, festivals and other occasions simply didn’t take place and, by nature of the factor that this sector supplies these events, the work dried up.  Of course, the Government’s furlough scheme helped to a certain extent, but some large companies in the UK event hire sector simply closed the doors. The UK events business went from being worth over £40 billion per year to almost zero overnight. Being in the event hire business, therefore, was simply not sustainable.

Of course, the effects of COVID from a financial point of view are still being felt.  And some of these have a knock-on effect to other areas of operations.  Below, we take a look at some of the challenges (and solutions) facing the event hire industry in the UK today.  Many of these, of course, will not be specific to this sector, but some most definitely are.

The return to events after COVID

For those who lost loved ones during COVID, everything will still be raw.  However, for many, it’s almost now like a bad dream.  People were simply not able to do what they wanted to do.  Now that they can, people have been attending events and festivals in greater numbers than ever.  There’s a thirst amongst the public to get back to ‘normal’, whilst festival and event organisers have been promising bigger and better!  There’s no doubt that this is great, especially for companies involved in the events sector, after a couple of years of inactivity.  That said, with some event hire companies closing during COVID, it means that more workload is being required from fewer companies.  The challenge is certainly on – especially when you consider some of the other points below!

Staffing

With bigger events taking place, this means that more staff than ever are required to fulfil responsibilities when it comes to catering event equipment hire, furniture, AV, security and so on – in fact, any element that is required for a temporary event.  Are these increased staff levels always available?  Especially as some key people would have departed the industry during COVID.  The best event hire companies ensure that they retain their best staff and, when extra manpower is required, can use third party crewing companies – a solution that is always in demand.

Fuel

We all know that the cost of living is on the rise and has been for some time, with fuel one of the main drivers of this.  The war in Ukraine is pushing up the price of fuel at the pumps, and this is the same for not just for the public, but also for companies.  Temporary events rely on equipment being transported around the country, and the more fuel that is required, the more expensive the job becomes.  The solution for event professionals is to find an event hire company that has nationwide coverage, with hubs around the country – this, therefore, reduces transport costs.

Energy

In a similar vein to fuel, the cost of gas and electricity is also at an all-time high.  Event hire companies need to ensure that their equipment is clean and in good working order all the time.  Whether it’s electrical testing or power required to run industrial-sized cleaning machines for event catering hire jobs, it seems to be getting increasingly expensive to operate, with no immediate sign of abating!

Sustainability

This is the buzzword on everyone’s lips at the moment, and sustainability should be at the heart of every company’s plans.  The challenge for the event hire industry is how to operate as sustainability as possible, considering that there is often a lot of short notice job requirements and kit has to be transported quickly, safely and efficiently.  Whether it’s trying to reduce the amount of pallet shrink wrap, or moving towards a fully electric-powered fleet of trucks, this challenge has to be met head on!

Time

The events industry at large is seasonal.  January to March are typically quiet months, with the industry springing into life in April, and going at full tilt through to September.  After that, there’s a bit of a lull through to November, when the Christmas parties start!   Event hire companies need to ensure they are using the time in the quieter periods to good effect, whether this is stock takes, internal processes and other ways to improve their businesses.

Demand & supply

When the peak seasons hit, it’s incredibly busy for all companies within this sector.  Stock can rapidly run out, customers can be let down and orders cannot be fulfilled for corporate event equipment hire and more.  However, with careful planning and an experienced management team, almost any issue can be resolved!

Standing out in the market

For any business, brand awareness and reputation is crucial in order to succeed.  For companies in the event hire sector, this sometimes get pushed down the priority order, especially in busy times.  Every customer-facing activity for the business needs to be on-point, as every interaction with a customer reflects you as a brand and company.

Consistency of service

With these peaks in the year, it’s all too easy for event hire companies to lose consistency.  By this, we mean service levels and customer interactions.  Everyone is busy, but consistency of service is all important for customers.  Your customer needs to feel as though they are your ONLY customer!

Weather

And finally, the great British weather is one of those challenges that no one can do anything about.  The summer of 2018 was a complete washout, but the summer of 2022 was one of the driest on record.  When it has been raining over a long period of time, the ground becomes soft, and trucks delivering and collecting equipment to and from festival and event sites can be hindered by the mud – it’s certainly a problem that event hire companies could do without!

Hopefully the above information has given you an idea of the challenges facing many event hire companies in the UK today.  This sector, working behind the scenes to help produce world-class events in this country, is incredibly valuable, and will hopefully continue to flourish after the COVID years.

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Understanding the Differences Between Digital Printing and Offset Printing

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Dosa Printer

When it comes to printing business materials, you need to think carefully about your options. You are going to have specific results you need to achieve, as well as deadlines to stick to and budgets to pay attention to. So, educating yourself on different printing options is ideal and allows you to put your business first.

Namely, there are two types of printing that you want to be aware of. We are talking about digital printing and offset printing. While they can offer similar materials, they are different in how they operate and affect your business. Let’s take a closer look and find out.

Digital Printing

First of all, let’s start with digital printing. This is a process that does not use any plates or big structures. Instead, it uses toner or liquid ink. It is becoming very popular for a number of reasons, which we are going to explore.

In particular, if you are looking to print low quantities of business materials, you will want to consider digital printing for this job. It is known to be very cost-effective and this can mean that you can work on a small budget. This is how digital printers help; you can get all of your materials printed without having to spend a fortune. But we should also point out that digital printing still produces quality results. You can choose between black and white printing, as well as colour.

Another reason why a lot of businesses like to use digital printing is because of the turnaround time. In other words, this is an option that is fast and effective. You do not have to wait forever for the materials and they are produced quickly. Again, if you only need a small number of materials and want them ready to use straight away, this is the option you want.

Offset Printing

Then, there is offset printing. This is a type of printing that has been around for a while and it involves using plates in order to transform an image. This is then rolled onto a material to create what you need. While this is a simple description of what offset printing is, there are a lot of advantages to this traditional printing type.

One of the reasons why businesses still like offset printing is because it can be cost-effective when it comes to printing a lot. For example, if you need to print large quantities of flyers or restaurant menus, you may find it more affordable to use offset printing for this task. Once it is all set up, it is ready to go and create exactly what you need. So, this can be an affordable option if you have a lot of printing to do. But not so much for short runs.

In addition, a lot of businesses like the printing quality that is associated with offset printing. Images can be printed on a variety of materials, as well as the quality being very sharp and vibrant. Of course, you want to achieve the best quality possible when you are printing materials for your business. This can make a good impression on customers, whether you are printing posters or banners that you need to use for events or everyday use.

Should I Choose Digital or Offset Printing?

Some business owners get confused between the two services. They are unsure whether they are better off selecting digital printing or offset printing for their business needs. Well, both are going to be good options and it will depend on what you are printing, how many you need and how quickly you want them done.

For example, if you are looking for small quantities and you wish for an inexpensive way to print business materials, you are better off choosing digital printing. This can be perfect for those on a budget or who have a strict deadline they have to meet. The quality is going to be high too, so you will not be disappointed with the results.

But, there are going to be some situations where you are better off selecting offset printing services. For example, if you are going to be printing a lot of business materials, this is going to be the most cost-effective way to do this. The setup can be more expensive, but it is able to do long printing runs cheaply. In addition, there are some business owners that prefer the quality of offset printing and the freedom to print onto a variety of materials.

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Adani and Musk are the only billionaires in the Forbes list to witness surge in their net worth

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As per the Forbes list released recently, billionaire Gautam Adani has become the second richest man in the world. He left Louis Vuitton’s boss, Bernard Arnault, by a small margin.He has left many billionaires, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett, behind in the race.According to the Forbes Billionaires List, Adani’s net worth is now more than Rs 12 lakh crore, after a rise of 3.49 percent. He is behind Tesla founder Elon Musk, whose net worth stands at $273.5 billion. Musk, who is embroiled in a bitter legal fight with social media giant Twitter over his decision to back out of the $44 billion buyout deal, gained $789 million.Adani and Elon Musk are the only billionaires in the top 10 list who have seen a surge in their net worth.

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