Live to earn and die saving

People spend a third of their lives learning to earn money, a third to earn money and another third of their lives to save their money. It is a matter of debate which third of their lives is more important than the others. No risk no return is the fundamental law of money, if you have less qualifications to earn good money, chances of good income are still there but people will agree that probability is low and risks are high.

What we consider here is the government’s role in defining someone’s savings pattern? The government allows a person to hoard only a certain amount of cash or assets, the rest has to be either paid in taxes or locked into the free market or with the government. While this is a fundamental reason that keeps the economy running from an individual’s point of view, it is highly perplexing what to do with his money.

On one hand the government gives you the option of depositing your money with it and losing your money like slow poisoning thanks to higher inflation rate than deposit interest rate, or losing it altogether if you belong to one of those countries whose government is more unstable than a twig in a storm. On the other hand, the government encourages you to invest in the stock market and also incentivizes you by offering tax savings on long term capital gains, the catch being you can’t get out of the market without losing if you are caught in a downturn and anyways in the long term a balanced portfolio will give you an inflation-adjusted return of only around 10% on an annual basis. A lower than 10% return with the half dozen hedges so that you don’t get a heart attack when you are being hit left, right and centre makes a common man a most unlikely candidate to succeed in saving his money too much.

While GDP defines the spending power of a country’s population is it really good to have a population which spends all of its money for goods and services, or a population which saves and increases its asset base? The answer to the question is same as whether it is better to have a perfect process line producing output from input with zero inventory, or to have some inventory in place. A perfect system is only good as long as it lasts, in an imperfect world concessions have to be made, only time will tell if the concessions provided by the government to save our income can really boost the country to the status of most desirable place to live in or just a huge economy.

With Regards,

Arindam Acharyya

SME Lending : A Growth Strategy

SME lending in India has been a neglected target market since the independence. Though, government tried to propagate SME lending using regulations and incentives, however, somehow beneficial impact was never visible and SME lending always remained a poor cousin to other activities of lending institutions.


It needs to be initially identified what the current constraints are existent for the SME lending. It is recognized that Government should take initiative to operationalize SFCs in big Scale, and professionally run rather than bureaucratically. Subsequent sections focus on how SFCs or financial institutions need to first evolve a strategic focus on the sector by understanding the client & his needs. The SFC needs to re-engineer the SME lending value chain with the intention to develop a long standing relationship with the SME clientele set. The modifications needs to be executed across the critical areas via marketing execution, product development , streamlining of operations through internet integrated delivery channels & application of advanced risk modeling techniques.
As the relationship evolves over time, the firm is able to indulge in relationship lending due to reduction of information asymmetry which lowers supervisory costs & increases account profitability for the firm. Through retrained & empathetic staff dealing with SME clients, the interaction level deepens. Finally the SFC by donning the role of a Financial Consultant transforms from a lending institution into a one stop solution for all the financial needs of the SME client.
At the end the concept of Fund Financing is also suggested as an approach. The focus in the further studies has been made on traditional sources of Financing as SIDBI, is coming out with processes to replicate and innovate the present schemes to suit SME needs.

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This article is authored by Mukesh who is an alumni of Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. He has been associated with Crisil and has been recognized as a young thought leader of India.

FDI and Economic growth

The past decade was marked by the increasing role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in total capital flows. In the late 90s, FDI accounted for more than 50% of all private capital flows to developing countries. This growing change in the composition of capital flows has been synchronous with a shift in emphasis among policymakers in developing countries to attract more FDI, especially following the 1980s debt crisis and the recent turmoil in emerging economies. The rationale for increased efforts to attract more FDI arises from the belief that FDI has several positive effects which include productivity gains, technology transfers, the introduction of new processes, managerial skills, and know-how in the domestic market, employee training, international production networks, and access to markets.

If foreign firms introduce new products or processes to the domestic market, domestic firms may benefit from accelerated diffusion of new technology. In other situations, technology diffusion might occur from labor turnover as domestic employees move from foreign to domestic firms. These benefits, in addition to the direct capital financing it generates, suggest that FDI can play an important role in modernizing the national economy and promoting growth. Based on these arguments, governments often have provided special incentives to foreign firms to set up companies in their country.

While it may seem natural to argue that FDI can convey greater knowledge spillovers, a country’s capacity to take advantage of these externalities might be limited by local conditions. In an effort to further examine the effects of FDI on economic growth, research indicates the same from the recent emphasis on the role of institutions in the growth. In particular, there is great emphasis on the role of financial institutions and many economists argue that the lack of development of local financial markets can limit the economy’s ability to take advantage of potential FDI spillovers.

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This article had been written by Rajeev Malhotra and edited by Arpan Kar. Rajeev has done his Masters in Financial Engineering from an Ivy League B-School from the United States. Besides his MBA, he also holds a CA and a CFA degree. He is currently working with DSP Meryll Lynch, USA.

Impact of Economic recession on Chinese energy markets

The energy sources of China are extremely rich in natural gas and coal, but relatively sources are lower in petroleum. Thus, today China is over increasingly getting more an more dependent on coal, which accounts for 68.7% of total energy that is consumed in the country.On the positive side, the renewable energy segment has increased from 8.8% in 2008 to 9.9% in 2009, but coal is still an essential player and irreplaceable in the Chinese energy market. (Source: Frost and Sullivan Research)

The global economic recession impacted the Chinese energy markets in multiple ways. Demand and supply was affected as the Chinese were forced to change their coal export policies in line with the slump. By reducing the degree of coal exports, the stock and the supply side of coal developed a large surplus over the demand, which decreased the price of coal in the Chinese markets for local consumption. These pulses left by the economic recession have been felt by other industries that are also related to the coal industry, like the thermal power generation and cement industries. Due to this recession in the energy markets and the decrease of the profitability of those 2 industries, China was forced to limit production, thus reducing the use of coal.

Our verdict is in order to follow the rest of the world in energy development, China has to make more use of sustainable energy.

Economic recession’s impact on Chinese solar power market

With the support of the Chinese government, the solar power industry has rapidly grown into the one of the largest industries in the world. However, the solar power industry’s structure and technology have not kept up with the rapid growth. As a result, problems have creeped into this sector in China. Thus surprisingly, cost is high in China for the generation of solar electrical energy. Furthermore, a minuscule civil market exists and the technology is grossly outdated. Thus the Chinese solar power market may face several industrial problems due to the economic situation.

The biggest barrier to further development as faced by local Chinese solar power companies is financing. Although the solar power sector in China is among the fastest growing sector in the world, to develop this emerging sector, the country needs to dedicate a lot of financial resources. Many different solar power projects can only continue with a large dedicated monetary commitments in R&D. The economic recession badly affected the solar power companies. The securities market and banks are the major financial source for such high technology companies. After the economic crisis, the level of supervision and control for Chinese securities market was promoted for issuing IPO and the banks also increased the requirements for credit. This will continue to impact the supply side of the Chinese solar power market. If companies cannot keep their liquidity, they will face bankruptcy.

Another impact of the economic recession is the reduction of foreign dependencies in the solar market. Chinese solar power industry is mainly dependent on foreign sales. The economic slowdown has influenced the sales of Chinese manufacturers. When the USA entered the economic downturn, foreign trade with other countries decreased, specifically for China and the export of solar power products. Additionally, other factors to slow down Chinese solar power market developing speed are the inferior technology and high production price.

Economic recession’s impact on Chinese wind power market

The Chinese wind power market has not been heavily influenced by the world economic recession. The wind power market can be considered the most mature among the renewable energy sectors because of its early development, relatively mature technology, and widespread application.

Still it was seen that the economic recession did have significant impact on international market demand; but the market for Chinese wind power is mainly local and the percentage of wind power produced is relatively small when compared with total electricity production using thermal power and hydro-power. Thus the situation for the Chinese wind power market is different from the solar power market, which is mainly located at the beginning of the value chain. The margin for Chinese solar power manufacturers is low enough that the solar power manufacturers could easily go bankrupt due to a poor economic situation. Also the major source of capital investment in the Chinese wind power market is from government funding. Even if many foreign investments quickly drew out from Chinese companies, it would not impact the entities’ normal operations. Overall, the wind power market would likely keep growing, but at a lower speed than before due to the influence of economic recession.

From the whole renewable energy sector point of view, the economic recession had some impact on the development of the renewable energy, but it was a relatively small effect because using renewable energy has been recognized as the best known practice to ensure sustainability worldwide. The Chinese government pushed out more and more stimulus and subsidies policies to encourage investment in renewable energy. Also, the particular nature of the Chinese renewable energy sector have played a part in helping China avoid serious pressures from the economic slowdown. For those reasons, the issues of how to help China maintain their strength in this segment should be the core for the future development of Chinese renewable energy sector.

In order for China to remain a strong market player in the renewable energy industry the following strategies are suggested:

  • First, the manufacturers must increase innovation in an effort to move into a more profitable area on the value chain.
  • Meanwhile, the standards and regulations will play an important role in protecting and regulating the industrial participants.
  • Finally, the government stimulus and subsidies will aid in attracting more FDI, venture capital investment, etc. Chinese manufacturers will have to enhance enterprise competitiveness, especially technologies with proprietary intellectual property rights, to prevail in the intensive competition with foreign companies for Chinese renewable energy market, because enterprise competitiveness is the basis of the survival and development.

This Article is authored by Jake Mazan, who is a guest author at Business Fundas. He is a Senior Research Analyst at Frost and Sullivan. He takes a keen interest on Asian Markets and their impacts on Global Markets.

United States’ Strategic Sourcing Initiative using e-Governance

USA, the largest economy in the world is facing a fiscal crisis, even now. Ever since 2003, its major economy bearer states like California, there was a major projected budget deficit. The Government took adequate care to approach the problem and to tackle the imminent crisis, but even though the black ages are gone, the repercussions from the shock still exists. The goverment launched many programs, one of which is the majorly popular California Strategic Sourcing Initiative, to control spending and stimulate the revamp of the economy. These focused primarily on the way the state purchased goods and services.

These programs aimed to identify saving opportunities. The focus to do so was through strategic sourcing. This was achieved by establishing new contracts or renegotiating existing ones. A team consisting of key professional procurement staff was created to achieve this goal, and not only at a short term goal, but to look towards achieving this as a sustainable long term process. Rather than a one time program, these initiatives were designed as an ongoing program to save money in the long term and position the United States to com out of the economic slump.

e-Governance played a crucial role in the revamp of the economies. Information Technology was widely used to issue electronic RFPs and conduct reverse auctions. The usage of these technologies also helped to streamline processes and speeded up the savings potential. Consulting firms like A.T. Kearney helped in the processes by developing cross-agency and departmental training programs, in which the procurement staff members were taught new skills in the area of spend analysis, e-sourcing, reverse auctions and e-negotiations. This training, which took place in classrooms and on hands, ensured that the team was well positioned for the change. Change management was the crucial success factor in this initiative.

In the coming few years, these strategic sourcing initiatives are expected to create savings in the tune of billions of dollars. The first wave of the program is already completed, and thus the spend categories have been identified, addressed and initial savings have been achieved which helped to forecast future savings. This e-governance strategic sourcing initiative has demonstrated how economies can be revamped using e-governance and information technology.

A BUDGET FIVER – thumbs up to Pranab da..!

Well, Well, Well….If it isn’t that time of the year again!! The Finance Minister has just presented the 2nd budget of his reign and everyone queues up for their share of the sops. It’s not quit the rain of blessings that we have come to expect from the UPA government over the last couple of budget presentations, rather a more balanced and well thought out effort on the most. Let me focus on the more positive aspects of the budget, for it is always difficult, nay impossible to please everyone all the time. Continue reading “A BUDGET FIVER – thumbs up to Pranab da..!”

Devil to God-Can structured finance which ruined the world help the poor

Much of India is still underdeveloped and badly in need of infrastructural development to raise the standard of life of the people living there. Even after 62 years, looking at the situation of infrastructural development and government investment, it can be safely concluded that the way ahead is PPP. Here structured finance has a major role to play. The core concept here is that the government selects those regions of the country which with some investment can be most easily shifted towards an urban region. Thereafter instead of funding the entire investment, the government invites corporate bodies to invest in these projects. Continue reading “Devil to God-Can structured finance which ruined the world help the poor”