Finance: In Brief

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The Independent Culture
FIRMS CONSIDERING floating on the stock market should pay more attention to preparing the way, say the accountants Ernst & Young. The firm's survey of more than 500 chief executives of fast-growing companies found that more than a quarter judged their flotations unsuccessful, with nearly two-thirds attributing this to a lack of preparation.

THE TOP 20 accountancy firm Saffery Champness claims its focus on high-net-worth private clients and owner-managers has been vindicated by strong growth over the past year. The firm said net fees of nearly pounds 22m were well ahead of budget; its position had been strengthened by hiring extra private-client specialists from rival practices.

ALISTAIR DEFRIEZ, director general of the takeover panel, heads the list of speakers at a conference on 29 September intended to guide practitioners through the workings of the revised City code on takeovers and mergers. The event, which will be addressed by several prominent solicitors, takes place at London's Four Seasons Hotel.

INDEPENDENT BUSINESSES remain positive about their own prospects, despite worries about the economy as a whole, says the 3i UK Enterprise Barometer Index. The survey, which measures views on the business climate by companies in which 3i invests, shows that most owner-managed businesses expect turnover, profitability and investment to increase or remain stable for the current quarter.

ANTIQUES DEALERS, vehicle hire companies and builders' merchants are among top targets for cheque fraudsters, according to the Equifax, provider of the Transax Cheque Guarantee Service. The organisation has detected and declined more than pounds 17.6m of fraudulent cheques over the past 24 months.

MANY OF Europe's family-run businesses are failing to monitor key performance indicators, says the Family Business Report. Many of them fail to heed such classic early warning signals as low levels of debts, stock and outstanding orders.