EPFO

PF data acts as a leading indicator for identifying distressed companies: Heckyl study

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Companies from consumer services, industrials and financial sectors lead drop in PF score in FY20

Publicly available data from Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) is one of the datasets that can be very useful to gain unique insights in the assessment of credit risk. In our view, a significant delay in monthly Provident Fund (PF) payment is a potential red-flag as the delay could be due to liquidity crunch faced by the company. Moreover, a substantial drop in the number of employees or amount paid for PF is also a potential red-flag as it signals layoffs or job cuts to reduce the company’s operational cost.

Heckyl’s Risk Analytics System (RAS) has several business rules to identify such red-flags from PF data. Based on the rule output of the PF module for the company, Heckyl system computes the PF score.

Heckyl study on PF data for 1,000 companies has shown a drop in the PF score for 540+ companies during the financial year 2020. The companies from consumer services, industrials, financial institutions, commercial services and chemical sectors have led the drop in the PF score for the FY20.

Sector-wise PF Score

Moreover, 310+ companies, which have witnessed a fall in the PF score, have subsequently seen declined in the scores for other modules of RAS such as Financial, Charges, Credit Rating, Directors, Ownership, and GST. Read the rest of this entry »

Consistent delay in PF payment is a lead for deterioration in financials: FiND study

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Publically available data from Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) is an important piece of information that can be consumed in risk assessment of corporate borrowers. In our view, deep-dive analytics on EPFO data can offer unique insights into the company’s functioning.

Through analysis of EPFO data, the banks can find out whether the companies in their loan portfolio are depositing employees’ provident fund (PF) on time or not; and whether there is any significant drop in the PF amount deposited by the company. At the same time, lenders can also identify companies which are downsizing the workforce.   

FiND Credit Risk Early Warning System (EWS) consists of 25+ business rules that analyze the EPFO data for the companies every month. One of the key business rules is a delay in PF payment for a given month. In our view, a delay in PF payment may imply liquidity crunch for the company and hence it is a red flag for the banks. 

Our hypothesis is that red flags related to PF payment can act as a leading indicator to the deterioration in the company’s financial performance. To test this hypothesis, we back-tested our engine on EPFO data for three months (Jan-17, Feb-17, and Mar-17) on the below-mentioned business rule:

Delay in monthly payment of PF by more than 10 days for more than 50 employees

From our EPFO data universe of 1,250+ companies, FiND EWS identified 35 companies who have delayed PF payment for all 3 months.

Then, we checked if there is any deterioration in the financial performance (captured by FiND Financial Risk score) for these companies post-March 2017 quarter. 

We found that: 86% of companies (30/35) witnessed a deterioration in Financial Risk score in the subsequent quarters.

We highlight 10 such companies below:
PF shortlisted cos
[Image 1: Financial Risk Score for 10 Companies with PF red flags]
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