Croatia pushes for better corporate governance standards

Croatia pushes for better corporate governance standards

Croatia pushes for better corporate governance standards

The FINANCIAL -- The EBRD is lending its support to efforts by the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) and the Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) to update and strengthen the country’s corporate governance code. While Croatia has had a code for listed companies since 2007, the regulation needs constant renewal and adaptation in response to market developments and changes in the wider regulatory environment.

High standards of corporate governance and transparent business practices are key prerequisites for the successful development of enterprises and markets. They are as important as strictly business-related processes. Companies that invest in excellent standards of corporate conduct and transparency stand to benefit for instance when it comes to access to finance or attracting investors.

The existing code was drafted in 2007 by ZSE in cooperation with HANFA for companies listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange and later updated in 2011. Its introduction has led to significant progress with the principles of transparency of business operations, avoidance of conflicts of interest, efficient internal control and effective division of responsibilities, according to EBRD.

However, in recent years it was thought that the code required further development and ZSE and HANFA approached the EBRD for assistance in reviewing the code in order to align it with international standards and best practices. The aim of this process is to strengthen the implementation of best practice, enhance the monitoring of companies and improve transparency. As part of this importat project supported by the tehnical assistance from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund, the training in the corporate governance for listed companies will be introduced at the Zagreb Stock Exchange Academy.

Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director, Regional Head of Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Slovakia, said: “The country’s real economy is set to benefit from improved corporate governance. When good companies with successful products operate using best practice the whole economy will flourish.”

To date, the EBRD has invested €3.6 billion in 197 projects in Croatia. The Bank blends investments with policy dialogue in order to combine financial support with institution building.