India: India Is One Of The Highest Rated Destinations For Investments Now: Mark Weinberger, Global Chairman, EY

Last Updated: 14 September 2017
Article by Hardik Sanghani

Being on business advisory boards of half a dozen presidents and prime ministers — including US President Donald Trump's business advisory council — offers Mark Weinberger, the chairman and CEO of EY, a ringside view on the inner workings of economic machinery at the highest levels.

It also affords crucial insights on trends in the global economy. So when Weinberger says the India story under PM Narendra Modi's leadership is being noticed by one and all, it means the message is reaching the right people.

In an interview with ET's Vinod Mahanta & Sachin Dave, Weinberger talks about doing business in Trump era, changing perception about India and the rising geopolitical risk for businesses. Edited excerpts:

Recently Trump administration's changed H1-B Visa rules and that could impact the Indian IT industry negatively. Should India be worried about the new president's Make America Great Again approach?

There are some things we need to watch. Earlier, the administration gave statements when it was in campaign mode and now we have to see what is going to happen in legislative action and executive action.

We have already seen President Trump label China as a currency manipulator, rip apart NAFTA, talk about pulling out of NATO but all of that hasn't happened. The administration does believe in trying to help people in the rust belt who have been left out and behind in global trade and economic growth.

He believes US should have more bilateral trade deals not multilateral deals. He has had a chat with China's Xi Jinping, PM Modi and others but such negotiations are tough and take time.

India has carried out large-scale reforms in the last three years, are global investors noticing the change?

With the clients I speak around the world, and as we make our investment decisions, India, today, is one of the highest rated destinations for investments right now in the world.

It's got 7 per cent growth rate, stable government, good macroeconomic indicators like low inflation and deficits under control, plus it's got massive reforms aimed at the right direction.

In other emerging markets, you have swings in commodity prices, you have Venezuela and Brazil running through difficulties, Brexit will have its own effect. There are difficult decisions to be made in the world but when you look at where to put money, India constantly comes out as one of the safe bets right now.

Are reforms like GST helping change perception of India becoming a better place to do business?

There is no doubt that PM Modi is changing the attitude of India towards opening the economy to the rest of the world. His government is trying to put in place reforms that will broadly improve the Indian economy and that means from infrastructure investment to reaching out to rural population to creating more wealth to things like putting in a GST structure, which is monumental.

Then, things like the bankruptcy law to deal with nonperforming assets, a whole bunch of things that hadn't been done for years. India still ranks very high on the list of places that are difficult to do business in. But the reforms have just taken place and it takes years for them to be actually executed well. There will be mistakes.

For example, demonetisation that was initially thought to be a big mistake, which could have slowed down the economy, but after the country has gone through it, it's being seen as a net positive. It was a bold and courageous move to deal with corruption which has been a big problem in India. The resultant digitisation push will be beneficial over time.

Another area that India has really improved is in opening more sectors to foreign investors. Inviting foreign investors to invest in insurance, defence, rail roads etc is a positive step.

The money is coming, but a lot of execution has to occur for these reforms to translate from central government to each of the states and get into the actual business climate.

President Trump stood isolated in the recent G20 gathering. Won't an isolated US lead to China becoming the leader of globalisation ultimately?

I believe in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it was a good deal that would have created a strong ASEAN with better ties, better laws and better employment rules.

It would have been a strong voice against China in the region. China talks about globalisation but they need to work on certain things. As they come up on the 9th National Congress of the Communist Party of China this November, where they will vote for the new leadership, a lot of reforms have been on hold.

Once the people are in place, they will move forward. But there are still state owned enterprise issues, trade barriers of working in China and that is not lost on trading partners.

I think even China has been open to revisiting those in direct negotiations with US. While it's possible that China, that has strong reserves, can start investing and creating trading opportunities in other countries, I think it will be hard for all countries to align with China.

With the volatile Middle East, the tricky Saudi Arabia-Qatar situation, uncertainties due to Brexit, a belligerent North Korea would not geopolitical risk be a prominent boardroom topic these days?

The global economy is strengthening and for the first time in six years we saw the World Bank and IMF increase their projected growth rates. We are seeing strength in emerging markets, commodity prices, some growth in Europe.

The single biggest risk to that growth is a geopolitical risk. In a recent EY survey, 69 per cent of CEOs said the geopolitical risk is a major concern that we have. It can slow down decision making. It puts an 'uncertainty tax' on business that makes it difficult to operate and delays decision-making.

Last week PM Modi made a statement while speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India function that he would like to see four Indian firms in the Big Eight by 2022. Should the government support Indian accounting firms because they haven't been able to face competition from the Big Four?

Today, EY has 38,000 people based out of India and we are going to have 50,000 by 2018. That is right now, the second most number of people we have anywhere in the world. The United States is first. Whether they work for a company that has an Indian name or some other name, I don't think it matters.

The point is the Big 4 are providing good career opportunities for thousands of young Indians. So, the idea is to get good employment going in the countries you work in. If you now add up the Big 4 and how many jobs we create here in India, I think you will be supportive in what we are trying to do and what we are trying to accomplish.

I think it is great to encourage Indian companies to be able to grow and expand outside of India. But to set a benchmark to have some percent of any industry that should be made up of companies that are headquartered here or there — I am not very clear on that.

That being said, what you do need today in order to have the presence of aBig 4 accounting firm is global expanse so you can monitor firms all over the world, to have expertise across all the various service offerings —tax, audit, valuations, digital, data technology and the likes. We are helping thousands of Indian companies compete and win in the domestic and global market.

You are promoting The Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism, a platform of leading CEOs that plans to encourage and measure long-term value creation. What's it all about?

If you look at some of the biggest problems today, it is income inequality, and that has led to lack of trusts for big businesses around the world. If you look at most polls today, it would say CEOs have slightly more trust than members of Congress, which is very low.

We will have to figure out how to be more inclusive and share our wealth that these businesses create. Right now, if I am an investor, the only thing I have to look at is earnings every quarter.

This benefits the shareholders but not necessarily employees. What we are saying is let's create ways to measure value than just quarterly earnings. So this group of companies, we have $20 trillion assets under management.

The purpose is to try and measure brand, employee satisfaction, community services and give this information to the investors.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Emails

From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

*** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.