SPECIAL EDITORIAL FEATURE

Pride through Performance

Top 25 Companies Award 2019

April 2021

”The Top 25 Companies are an asset not only for the capital market of Pakistan but also for the national economy.”

Farrukh Khan,
MD and CEO, Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX)

What are your views about the Top 25 Companies winning the award?
I am very happy to share the winners of the 2019 PSX Top 25 Companies award and congratulate the companies winning this accolade. They have outperformed and excelled in comparison to their peers in terms of corporate governance and financial performance. Making it to this prestigious and distinctive list is a significant achievement and demonstrates the calibre and strength of a company’s board and its management.

Could you walk us through the journey of how it all started?
The tradition of Top 25 Companies Awards goes back to 1978 when PSX started recognising individual companies listed on the bourse for excellence in corporate and financial performance. The criteria are reviewed regularly on the basis of the evolving regulatory landscape and investor expectations for business and industry in Pakistan and globally. Amidst the second wave of the pandemic and the ensuing economic challenges, the announcement of the PSX Top 25 Companies, highlighting the achievements of Pakistan’s corporate sector, is a welcome event. This recognition will generate greater interest in these companies from investors, analysts and portfolio managers and will also focus the attention of foreign and local investors on Pakistan’s capital market more broadly.

How is PSX contributing to the economy of Pakistan?
As one of the pillars of Pakistan’s economy, PSX is committed to the growth of Pakistan and to emerge as a leading regional exchange. Several firsts were accomplished by the Stock Exchange recently. We had the first landmark debt issue (PHL’s Pakistan Energy Sukuk II) take place via the book building platform of the Stock Exchange in May 2020. By using the capital markets to raise debt through a competitive book building process, PHL not only saved Rs.18 bn over the term of the debt but also diversified its investor base.

We introduced Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), including a Shariah Compliant ETF, which was also a first for the Exchange. In another first, market makers for debt securities were recently introduced at the Exchange and a number of leading banks have already signed up as market makers.

We also re-introduced the PSX Rulebook in July 2020, realigning and updating its regulations in line with the changing regulatory landscape of Pakistan and bringing them at par with international best practices. The introduction of the GEM board will allow smaller companies to raise capital and list at a much lower cost and regulatory burden, compared to the main board. Most importantly the IPO market has reopened and there is a robust pipeline of companies looking to list at PSX.

These developments taking place at the Exchange augmented by reforms and initiatives taken by the Government at the policy level and by the SECP and SBP at the regulatory level, have helped Pakistan’s capital market to perform better than its peers in the region and globally.

Where does PSX stand amongst stock exchanges globally?
PSX is one of the few exchanges in the region that continued to trade uninterrupted despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 lockdowns. Regulatory amendments for launch of ETFs, revamping of the REIT Regulations, reduction in annual monitoring fees for mutual funds and pension funds, book building of the PHL Energy Sukuks through competitive book building at the PSX platform in line with international best practices, expansion in allowable expenses on mutual funds, reduction of interest rates and simplification of rules for listing on GEM Board of PSX are some of the initiatives and steps which have helped raise investor confidence and improved the stature of PSX amongst stock exchanges globally.

All these developments have consolidated PSX’s position as a robust and resilient capital market, which has been rated as the best performing market in the region and one of the best performing in the world. This is evidenced from the fact that in the last few months there have been trading days when we have witnessed record-breaking volumes.

What message do you want to give to the Top 25 Companies?
The Top 25 Companies that have made it to this august list are indeed an asset not only for the capital market of Pakistan but also for the national economy. I wholeheartedly congratulate these companies once again and wish them all the success in their current and future endeavours.