An Independent Director is an individual who is not an employee or owner of the company and who has no financial relationship with the company. He or she brings an objective perspective to the Board of Directors and is not beholden to any special interest group.
The Board of Directors appoints the independent directors to advise and oversee various issues, including strategy, risk management, and financial reporting. Independent Directors play a vital role in ensuring that companies are run in a transparent and accountable manner.
Did You Know? The Companies Act 2013 (the "Act") sets out the requirements for the appointment of Independent Directors on the Board of Directors of a company.
Independent Directors: An Overview
The Section 149(6) of Companies Act, 2013 requires that companies listed on a stock exchange must have at least two Independent Directors on their Board, and companies not listed on a stock exchange must have at least one Independent Director on their Board.
The Act also sets out the duties of Independent Directors, which include:
- Acting in the best interests of the company and its shareholders
- Exercising reasonable care, skill and diligence
- Acting in good faith and the best interests of the company
- Declaring any material interests that they have in any matter that comes before the Board
- Refraining from dealing in the company's securities when possessing material non-public information.
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Role of an Independent Director
The role of an Independent Director is to provide an objective perspective to the Board of Directors on a range of issues, including strategy, risk management, and financial reporting. Independent Directors have often experienced businesspeople who broadly understand how companies operate. The Board of Directors appoints them to advise and oversee various issues, including strategy, risk management, and financial reporting.
The position brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Boardroom. They can often provide insights and perspectives to which the Board may not otherwise have access. Independent Directors can help challenge the status quo and ensure that the Board is making decisions in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders.
Example Of Independent Director
Designation of an Independent Directors can help improve a company's governance and ensure that the company is run responsibly and sustainably. They can help ensure that the Board is accountable to shareholders and that the company complies with all applicable laws and regulations. Independent Directors can also help protect other stakeholders' interests, such as employees, customers, and suppliers.
For example, an Independent Director may provide advice on the advisability of a company entering into a new business venture. One may also review the company's financial statements and provide input on the appropriateness of the company's accounting practices. In addition, Independent Directors may serve on committees of the Board of Directors, such as the audit or compensation committees.
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Duties of an Independent Director
Independent directors are typically chosen for their expertise in a particular area and their ability to provide objective advice to the board.
The duties of an independent director include the following:
1. Providing objective and independent advice to the board:
The primary duty of an independent director is to provide objective and independent advice to the board of directors. He should be able to offer unbiased perspectives on board decisions and should not be influenced by any personal or financial interests.
2. Monitoring and evaluating the performance of the board and management:
They are responsible for monitoring the performance of the board of directors and management. They should ensure that the board functions effectively and that management meets its objectives.
3. Ensuring that the board is properly informed of relevant information:
One must ensure that the board of directors is properly informed of all relevant information. This includes information about the company's financial condition, strategic plans, and risks.
4. Identifying and addressing potential conflicts of interest:
They should identify and address any potential conflicts of interest that may arise. This includes conflicts between the interests of the shareholders and the interests of the directors or management.
5. Promoting good corporate governance practices:
Independent directors play a key role in promoting good corporate governance practices. They should ensure that the board of directors is accountable to the shareholders and that the company is operated ethically and responsibly.
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Benefits of an Independent Director
Here are 10 benefits of having an Independent Director on your company's board:
The role of an Independent Director is to provide an objective and independent perspective to the Board of Directors. This is important as the Board of Directors is responsible for making decisions that will affect the company. An Independent Director can help to provide balance and objectivity to the board.
An Independent Director brings a wealth of experience and expertise in a particular field or industry. This can be extremely valuable to the company as the Independent Director can provide insights and advice on navigating the industry. The Independent Director can also help to identify opportunities and threats that the company may face.
Check and Balance
Independent Directors provide a check and balance to the Board of Directors. This means that the Independent Directors will review all decisions made by the board and ensure that they are in the company's best interests. They can also help ensure that the board acts ethically and responsibly.
They provide an objective viewpoint regarding conflicts of interest. This means that the Independent Director will not have any vested interests in the decisions made by the board and will be able to provide an unbiased opinion. This is important as it helps ensure that all decisions are made in the company's best interests.
An Independent Director can help to mediate disagreements amongst the Board of Directors. This is important as it can help to resolve disputes constructively and efficiently. The Independent Director can also help to ensure that all Board members can share their opinions and views respectfully.
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Drawbacks of an Independent Director
Here are 5 drawbacks of having an Independent Director on your company’s board:
An Independent Director may not be familiar with the company’s business. They might have less information about the company management which could result in bad decisions.
An Independent Director may not have the same level of commitment to the company as a Director who is employed by the company. Independent Directors may not be as invested in the company’s success.
An Independent Director may not be familiar with the company’s culture. An Independent Director may not be able to provide the same level of insights and advice as a Director who is familiar with the company’s culture.
Although the members of board might be chosen due to lack of ties with the company, management might still be capable of influencing the decision making process.
Directors might be independent for the company and free of influence; that does not mean that they significantly possess the skill and expertise needed to be a great leader for the board.
An Independent Director can bring many benefits to a company, including an objective perspective, a wealth of experience and expertise, and the ability to provide a check and balance to the Board of Directors. However, there are also some drawbacks to having an Independent Director on your company’s board, such as the possibility that they may not be familiar with the company’s business, culture, or shareholders.
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