The application of a corporate governance matrix to the JSE top 40 companies in South Africa

Yortt, Anna (2009-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Corporate governance in South Africa (SA) has been promoted since 1994 with the release of the King report which was the first code of corporate governance in the country. This has since been updated in 2002, and most recently in 2009. In previous independent assessments of corporate governance in South Africa, the country has been commended for its corporate governance standards. As a large institutional investor the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) actively encourages high standards of corporate governance in the companies in which it invests. Therefore, the PIC wanted to develop a matrix to assess the current corporate governance standards of listed companies in South Africa in order to assist with investment decisions, and to actively promote high standards. Therefore, the skills and knowledge of an expert panel were called upon in order to develop a robust assessment tool that incorporates best practice, but remains locally relevant. The intention was to not only focus on disclosure, but to also incorporate an assessment of conformance and performance. This was then applied to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) top 40 companies. The aim of the study was not only to assess the corporate governance of these companies, but also to critically review the matrix to ensure it is an effective assessment tool. In addition the link between corporate governance, company performance, and company valuation was investigated as these variables are commonly reported in the literature to be positively correlated. Various aspects of board diversity, including age, gender and ethnicity, were also researched as this was identified as a critical issue in the South African context. Factors that have been shown to affect board diversity in the literature were also investigated. Following this the link between board diversity and company performance was studied as there is limited information regarding this relationship in the literature. Various limitations of the matrix were identified and in many instances related to what had previously been reported in the literature. However, a significant relationship was not found between corporate governance and company performance, and, the relationship between corporate governance and company valuation was negative. This may be due to limitations of the study, and therefore, a definitive conclusion cannot be drawn. In terms of the demographics of the boards of the JSE top 40 companies, most directors fall between the ages of 51 and 60 years, 14.5 per cent of board members are female, and 32.5 per cent of directors are black. There was a trend towards a positive relationship between diversity of age and board size, while no relationship was found between shareholder diversity and board diversity, and interestingly board ethnic diversity was found to be positively correlated with company performance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Korporatiewe beheer in Suid-Afrika is sedert 1994 bevorder met die uitreik van die King-verslag wat die eerste kode vir korporatiewe beheer in die land was. Hierdie verslag is sedertdien opgedateer in 2002 en mees onlangs in 2009. In vorige onafhanklike beoordelings van korporatiewe beheer in Suid-Afrika, is die land aangeprys vir sy korporatiewe beheerstandaarde. As ‟n groot institusionele belegger, moedig die Public Investent Corporation (PIC) aktief hoë standaarde van korporatiewe beheer aan in die maatskappye waarin hy belê. Die PIC wou daarom ‟n matriks ontwikkel om die huidige korporatiewe beheerstandaarde te beoordeel van die genoteerde maatskappye in Suid-Afrika ten einde te help met beleggingsbesluite en om hoë standaarde aktief aan te moedig. Die kennis en vaardighede van ‟n paneel deskundiges is daarom ingeroep om ‟n robuuste beoordelingshulpmiddel te ontwikkel wat die beste praktyke sou insluit, maar plaaslik relevant sou bly. Die bedoeling was ook om nie net op openbaarmaking te fokus nie, maar ook beoordeling van nakoming en prestasie in te sluit. Dit is dan op die Johannesburgse Effektebeurs (JSE) se top 40 maatskappye toegepas. Die doel van die studie was nie net om die korporatiewe beheer van hierdie maatskappye te beoordeel nie, maar ook om die matriks krities te beoordeel om te verseker dat dit ‟n effektiewe beoordelingshulpmiddel is. Die verwantskap tussen korporatiewe beheer, maatskappy prestasie, en maatskappy waardasie is verder ook ondersoek aangesien hierdie veranderlikes algemeen in die literatuur as positief gekorreleer beskryf word. Verskeie aspekte van direksie diversiteit, insluitend ouderdom, geslag en etnisiteit, is ook nagevors aangesien hierdie sake as kritiese kwessies binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks geïdentifiseer is. Faktore wat in die literatuur geblyk het die direksie se diversiteit te beïnvloed, is ook ondersoek. Hierna is die verwantskap tussen direksie diversiteit en maatskappy prestasie ook ondersoek aangesien daar beperkte inligting oor hierdie verwantskap in die literatuur bestaan. Verskeie beperkinge van die matriks is geïdentifiseer en hou in baie gevalle verband met dit wat reeds voorheen in die literatuur beskryf is. Geen beduidende verwantskap is egter gevind tussen korporatiewe beheer en maatskappy prestasie nie, en die verwantskap tussen korporatiewe beheer en maatskappy waardasie was negatief. Dit mag wees as gevolg van beperkings van die studie, en daarom kan ‟n beslissende gevolgtrekking nie gemaak word nie. In terme van die demografie van die direksies van die JSE se top 40 maatskappye, is die meeste direkteure tussen 51 en 60 jaar oud, 14.5 persent van direksielede is vroulik, en 32.5 persent van direkteure is swart. Daar was ‟n tendens tot ‟n positiewe verwantskap tussen diversiteit van ouderdomme en direksiegrootte, maar geen verwantskap is gevind tussen aandeelhouer diversiteit en direksie diversiteit nie, en dit is interessant dat direksie etniese diversiteit gevind is om positief gekorreleer te wees met maatskappy prestasie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6426
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