Switzerland has moved into the top 20 in the World Bank’s annual ranking of countries in terms of the ease of doing business. It is the result of increased transparency and shareholder participation.
The country managed 20th place in the World Banks’s Doing Business reportexternal link for 2015 published on Wednesday. This is up nine positions compared with last year’s ranking.
Despite a modification in the assessment methodology that favoured Switzerland a little bit, the country has made progress towards becoming more business-friendly.
Starting businesses has become easier thanks to the introduction of more online procedures the report says. The country also does well when it comes to corporate governance. It has increased the amount of transparency required from listed companies, a move that should better protect minority investors.
Switzerland also won points for expanding the role of shareholders in company management.
In 2013, voters approved a people’s initiative giving shareholders a greater say over remuneration of company executives. The initiative resulted in the establishment of compensation committees and increased transparency in compensation to company directors.
Switzerland was also only one of three economies to receive full points for allowing creditors to participate in insolvency-related proceedings. Creditors can obtain records of insolvency proceedings and stay informed about every stage of the process.
Singapore came first overall in the rankings. Switzerland managed to outrank neighbours Austria (21) France (31) and Italy (56) but was outranked by Germany (14). A total of 189 countries are included in the list.