ESG Archive

Oct 01, 1996
There is a vexed uncertainty about Hong Kong's future as a financial centre. And not merely because of its reversion to Chinese rule next year after more than a century as a British colony. The juxtaposition of eastern and western cultures helps explain what is at the heart of Hong Kong's corporate view: Hong Kong companies display the Chinese traditions of hereditary management and nepotism; but they have also taken on board many of the Anglo-Saxon principles ...
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Sep 01, 1996
Grizzling baby boomers are showing signs of panic at their retirement life-style prospects, so New Age economics is in vogue. Fully-funded pensions are the crock of gold du jour. But anyone who wants a really secure pension had better take to the hills, buy a bunker, stock up with 20 years of provisions, tins of spam, and bottles of Perrier. Or hope for a Russian style breakdown in health services, so that lifespans plummet below the pension age - at least for...
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Sep 01, 1996
Italy has an enormous untapped pool of capital. Global investors ignore it at their own expense,' asserts Malcolm Duncan of financial marketing and communications agency, MGD & Associates. The fact is, notions of equity and share ownership are alien to Italian culture. There is plenty of evidence of this: the first institutional investors were only established ten years ago, for example, and open ended funds have just recently been introduced. Traditionall...
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Sep 01, 1996
The Wall Street Journal ran a piece a few weeks ago highlighting the computer illiteracy of certain CEOs and other corporate chieftains, even some who run huge technology-based companies. Among the anecdotal evidence offered was one cover-boy chairman who for more than a year has had a PC in his office but has yet to turn it on. Can IR officers and agency executives also avoid the necessity of hands-on technical competency? Can they still say, 'That's someone ...
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Sep 01, 1996
Hans-Georg Bruns, head of investor relations at Daimler-Benz, recalls a trip he and members of the Daimler board made to the States at the time of the company's mould-breaking listing in the US two years ago. It was one of the first roadshows mounted by a German company for the international investment community and when they got to Boston - where they were giving a presentation to a handful of institutions - Daimler received a message from a large investor ex...
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Sep 01, 1996
When nearly 95 per cent of public companies in one of the world's major economies hold their shareholder meetings at the same time on the same day, you would normally expect a glut of stories to emerge. Various contentious issues coming to boiling point. Managements being seriously challenged by shareholder activists keen to have their moment in the spotlight. Maybe the odd large institution publicly throwing its weight behind a critical proposal against management....
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Sep 01, 1996
Basking in the glow of a successful roadshow, counting valuation upticks and oversubscription multiples, it is easy for an IRO to lose sight of what is going on behind the scenes: the book-building process. For all the excitement of investor presentations and one-on-ones, the underwriter's equity capital markets department is ground zero. An army of salespeople burn up the phone lines taking orders from investors, and at the end of the process they hand over a list o...
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Jun 01, 1996
Apart from Thou shalt not commit adultery, I doubt whether any text has ever been so frequently cited but so often ignored as Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. Regularly wafted like incense in the general direction of whatever ritual idiocy the corporate world is currently performing, on closer examination he comes up smelling of roses - of the kind European social-democrats typically wave. From time to time, the financiers of the world decide that sacking lots ...
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Jun 01, 1996
Since the Battle of Agincourt the French have held a deep-seated mistrust of things Anglo-Saxon. But times are beginning to change. With an ever-growing awareness of the need to compete in international capital markets, a New Realism is taking hold of the collective psyche of France's hitherto inward looking financial community. From the end of World War II, French economic policy has been characterised by central economic planning minimising the use of equity ...
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Jun 01, 1996
Poor Queen Victoria eats crow at Christmas. That was the mnemonic device I learned as a child to remember the seven hills of Rome: Palatine, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Capitoline, Aventine and Caelian. I'm brushing up on my Italian history in anticipation of this year's International Investor Relations Conference. It will be held on the 16th and 17th of September - with an optional third day to follow - in Milan, Italy. Our hosts this year are the Associazione Per...
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