Washington D.C., March 12, 2002—As Latin
American countries strengthen capital markets and reinforce their securities
regulatory frameworks, the need to improve corporate governance practices
is now at the center of regional public discussion.
In this context, and with the objective of providing a forum to discuss
the strategic importance of corporate governance for Colombian companies,
the International Finance Corporation (IFC), along with key Colombian securities
entities, private sector organizations, and the Private Sector Advisory
Group of the Corporate Governance Global Forum (GCGF), sponsored in Bogota
the seminar “Corporate Governance and the Role of Managers and Investors.”
The seminar fits with IFC’s strategy to support the improvement of corporate
governance practices in Colombia that will help small and medium enterprises
gain access to new sources of capital, and will promote effective management
and company performance.
It also complements a three-year joint effort of IFC, the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the
GCGF, to advance and coordinate the corporate governance dialogue in Latin
America, organized around the Latin American Corporate Governance Roundtable.
Representatives of the Colombian public and private sectors will
participate actively in the third meeting of the Roundtable to take place
in Mexico City, April 8-10, 2002.
More than 250 high level representatives from Colombia’s private and financial
sectors attended last week’s seminar, which was also sponsored by the
key players in the Colombian securities markets: the Colombian Securities
and Exchange Commission; the Stock Exchange of Colombia; the National Association
of Pension Funds (Asofondos); and Confecamaras, Colombian Confederation
Chambers of Commerce.
The timing could not be better. Colombia is currently reviewing a
new law that will regulate its securities market, the “Ley del Mercado
de Valores.” If approved, it will establish a stronger framework
for the regulation of the securities market and for effective rulemaking
and enforcement. This process will encourage the improvement of corporate
governance practices by promoting greater transparency and disclosure,
equitable treatment of minority shareholders and effective boards of directors.
The rapid growth of the new pension funds system in Colombia makes
it urgent to accelerate the establishment of a more mature capital market
in the country.
“A modern regulatory framework and better corporate governance practices
will go hand in hand to build greater public confidence in the securities
markets,” said Mike Lubrano, Principal Securities Market Specialist at
Bernard Pasquier, IFC’s Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department,
also noted: “This corporate governance seminar shows that IFC has been
and remains committed to assisting Colombia to improve the country's capital
markets and the governance of its firms.”
Speakers in the seminar included Jorge Gabriel Taboada, Colombia’s Superintendent
of Securities; Augusto Acosta, President of the Stock Market of Colombia;
Eugenio Marulanda, President of Confecámaras; Luis Fernando Alarcón, President
of Asofondos; Mike Lubrano, from IFC; Mario Mariasch, Head of Silicon Valley
Chapter of the United States National Association of Corporate Directors
(NACD) and Mauro Cunha, Manager of the Bradesco-Templeton corporate governance
fund for Brazil, among others.
As part of its strategy to encourage the broadening and deepening of the
region’s capital markets, IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank
Group, has advised governments and the private sector in several Latin
American countries such as Chile and Brazil, and now Colombia, to improve
securities regulations and to develop private sector corporate governance
In Colombia, Confecámaras is leading a Committee of Principles that will
provide a forthcoming Code of Best Practices, which will be the first in
The participation in the Corporate Governance seminar of all entities related
to Colombia’s securities markets, including issuers, investors, commissioners
and government, confirms that the key players in this sector have a commitment
to promote a strong domestic capital market and gain the confidence of
IFC’s mission (www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's
lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world,
mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides
technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
Since its founding in 1956 through the close of the last fiscal year on
June 30, 2001, IFC committed more than $31 billion of its own funds and
arranged $20 billion in syndications for 2,636 companies in 140 developing
countries. IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY01 was $14.3 billion.