Finance: In Brief

SOUTH ASIAN business owners are often more successful, more dynamic and less dependent on family networks than is supposed, according to research published today. The study, funded by the Economic & Social Research Council and carried out by Anuradaj Basu of Reading University, found that many people with origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and East Africa have chosen to set up in business rather than seeing self-employment simply as an alternative to unemployment. They are often entrepreneurs with "business in their blood".

ARTHUR ANDERSEN reports that the MBA programme that was launched last year with Manchester and Warwick business schools has proved to be so successful that it has been expanded to include employees from the accountancy firm's Continental European offices as well as those in the UK.

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THE CHARTERED Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy says that more than 90 per cent of its members are in support of rationalisation of the profession.

However, the survey, which was carried out in response to proposals put to Cipfa and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (Acca), finds that, while members recognise that a merger of a few rather than all the institutes was the most pragmatic approach, Acca was not the preferred partner.

A "QUALITY scoring framework" for rating and benchmarking companies' social auditing initiatives is introduced in the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants' report "Making Values Count".

The organisation claims that the study, which has been produced by three authors from the New Economics Foundation and is supported by the Institute of Social and Ethical Accountability, is the world's first in-depth analysis of social accounting, the growing phenomenon that measures performance in such areas as ethics and the environment, as well as the traditional financial arena.

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BUSINESS ANGELS - wealthy inviduals who help fund small firms - invested a record pounds 24.6m last year, with technology-based companies proving the most popular, according to the British Venture Capital Association's latest "Sources of Business Angel Capital" directory. The total sum was made up of 227 investments made by 398 angels.

CISCO, THE organisation that represents the smaller quoted companies, claims that taxation reform is needed to prevent "a void developing at the heart of the equity capital market". It says that many companies outside the FTSE 350 are considering delisting, because the benefits of quotation are failing to compensate for the regulatory and tax burdens put on them.

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ROBERT MONKS, the founder and principal of Lens, a US-based investment fund that helps to turn around poor-performing companies by means of active shareholder participation, is to deliver the 1998 City University Business School Inaugural Lecture next Monday, titled "The Corporate Cost of Capital: the Informing Energy of Corporate Governance". Mr Monks, who wrote the books Corporate Governance and The Emperor's Nightingale, is currently working with Hermes Investment Management on issues of UK corporate governance.

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