• OUTLOOK ARENA
  • SEPTEMBER 11, 2021

India's Most Trusted Corporate Group is...

In an age where fierce competition is the norm, the trust elicited by a company is not only vital, but also a differentiator that could ensure the survival of a business.

The challenge with trust is that it cannot be bought. It must be earned. Thus, becoming the most important asset a company can manage, especially in relationships with its stakeholders.

So, which companies do you, our readers, trust the most?

To find out, we conducted a poll consisting of 17 of the most popular corporate groups in India.

With an overwhelming response from 5,274 participants, here is what we found -

16 out of 17 corporate groups received only up to 5% of the total votes each.

With the least number of votes (0.8%), came the RPG (Ram Prasad Goenka) group, the conglomerate that owns CEAT Tyres. The group is a new entrant on our list.

Other groups that did not garner too many votes and were at the bottom of the list were the Hero (Munjals), Jindal, Wadia, Shriram and Hinduja Groups with only 1-1.2% of the total votes, each.

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What about the Adani Group? The stock market favourite got a meagre 1.5% of the total votes. Could it have something to do with all its regulatory troubles? If only we could read the mind of our voters, dear reader.

Adding to the list of groups that investors did not find trustworthy were the Kirloskar and Murugappa Groups at 1.4% and 1.8% of the total votes, respectively.

And while the Godrej and TVS group moved up 2 ranks each from our last poll which was conducted in 2013, the groups still received only 1.9% and 2.4% of the votes.

So, which corporate groups did participants consider relatively more trustworthy?

In the fifth position, with 2.8% of the votes, came the Mahindra Group led by Anand Mahindra.

The Rahul Bajaj group came in fourth place with 3.5% of the votes. The group has moved up by nine ranks from 2013. WOW, now that's a big move!

The Mukesh Ambani Group, despite its sizeable market capitalization, came in the third position with 4.7% of the total votes. However, it has climbed up six ranks from its position in 2013.

Just above the Mukesh Ambani group, in second place with 5.1% of the votes, came the AV Birla Group. The company has moved up two places since the last poll which were earlier taken by HDFC and L&T.

And finally, in the first position came a group that received more than 60% the votes.

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The Tata Group emerged as the undisputed winner of the poll, with 66.3% of the total votes, more than double the number (31.8%) it received in the last poll. The group has earned the trust of more of our readers in the last eight years on the back of the values by which its companies operate.

It's 153-year-old legacy is a testament to the fact that that creating value is not only about the quality of the product or a service but also about the quality of a firm's conduct, both internally and externally.

India's Most Trusted Corporate Group 2021 Poll Results

Corporate Group % of votes
Tata Group 66.3%
AV Birla Group 5.1%
Mukesh Ambani Group 4.7%
Rahul Bajaj Group 3.5%
Mahindra Group 2.8%
TVS Group 2.4%
None of the Above 2.3%
Godrej Group 1.9%
Murugappa Group 1.8%
Adani Group 1.5%
Kirloskar Group 1.4%
Hinduja Group 1.2%
Shriram Group 1.1%
Wadia Group 1.1%
Jindal Group 1%
Hero (Munjal) Group 1%
RPG Group 0.8%
Total 100%
Source: Equitymaster

If we look at company valuations today, an increasing portion of a firm's value resides in intangibles such as goodwill and reputation. And when it comes to making intangibles tangible, nothing is more important than trust.

The attribute flows from a company's leadership through the organization to its external stakeholders which ultimately increases profitability over the long-term. However, if not paid attention to, a lack of trust can have the opposite effect.

You see, effective corporate governance and superior investment returns work together rather than independently. And investing in companies that do not evoke a sense of trust will force you to learn the hard way.

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History is replete with examples of scams and scandals that have caused both the reputation and valuation of companies to nosedive because of a lack of transparency and accountability.

Which is why as an investor you need to be mindful of the trustworthiness of the companies that you invest in.

So, do the results of the poll mean that corporate India is headed for doom? Not yet.

A notable change in this year's results was the percentage of votes attributed to the 'None of the Above' category. Votes to this category dropped from 4.1% in the last poll to 2.3% indicating that readers are more open to trusting corporate groups.

This means that corporate groups that are able to prove that they are sincerely trying to earn the trust of stakeholders still have a chance to win over those who haven't made up their minds yet.

And with this, we conclude this year's results.

Before we sign off, note that the poll conducted in 2013 included companies without promoters such as L&T and HDFC as well. However, this year we decided to focus only on companies that have a promoter family behind them.

If you would like us to include them again in our next poll, let us know in the comments below.

Happy investing!

Here are Links to Some Very Insightful Equitymaster Articles and Videos on Tata Group Stocks:

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