Information disclosure is paramount if a company wishes to attract more investors and customers. An investor’s decision to put his resources and time to a project or business will be determined by the information available to him. While some companies have limited financial statements as the only information they disclose to potential investors, some investors require more than just financial performance to make their decision. Company’s management structure, best practices, operations, culture, policy, composition, and stakeholders are some of the valuable information an investor would be looking to make the final decision. In some countries, business information disclosure is highly restricted because of the risks involved. However, countries such as Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Singapore, and New Zealand have some of the highest levels of business information disclosure to investors in the world.
Indonesia is commonly referred to as the "Social Media Capital of the World" because of the popularity of such mainstream social media networking sites as Facebook, Twitter, and messaging platforms. Most of the businesses in Indonesia are run by young tech savvy people who have an appetite for information sharing. Indonesians have a stronger preference for information over advertisement while investors are growing accustomed to real-time information. Social media together with business disclosure channels, investor relation website, and public relations have provided simple avenues for access to business information. Investors now have business information at the click of a button. Indonesia is ranked first with the highest World Bank disclosure index of 10.
United Arab Emirates
Though the laws in the United Arab Emirates protect disclosure of some of their companies' and institutions' information to the public, access to business information still ranks high, with a disclosure index score of 10 according to the World Bank. Business information is readily available to potential investors and the public but upon request. The investment legislation in the United Arab Emirates prohibit any company or organization from withholding any information from an investor. There are also several websites and magazines dedicated to highlighting and profiling companies for the benefit of investors. These publications include the United Arab Emirates Business Forecast Report, the United Arab Emirates Country Monitor, the United Arab Emirates Country Review, and United Arab Emirates Economic Competitiveness.
For market transparency and integrity, Thailand's government demands full disclosure of timely and accurate business information by companies to aid in investors' decision making. Companies are required to disclose full business information both in Thai and English for equitable access for both Thai and non-Thai speakers. Thailand is also a tech savvy country with a majority of the young people sharing information online. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have made access to business information easier and also real time. Thailand is ranked alongside the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia as a country with one of the highest levels of business disclosure to its investor. According to World Bank ranking, Thailand scores 10 in ranking index.
Implications of Transparency
Countries with the highest level of access to business information are considered transparent and good for business by investors. Access to information enables an investor to make a sound business decision without fear of risk and losses because they can almost predict the future of their investment through the information availed to them. Business information disclosure also promotes a healthy business competition and consumer confidence.