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All About The International Banking And Financial Studies Masters At Southampton

Here is a short summary of the MSc International Banking and Financial Studies masters degree course offered by the Management School at the University of Southampton to help would-be students to decide whether it is the course for them.

This International Banking and Financial Studies masters course aims to develop students’ existing skills through advanced study in the areas of banking and finance, with a particular emphasis on the international context in which these activities occur.

The International Banking and Financial Studies masters programme gives you a coherent theoretical framework for the various subject areas, although the emphasis throughout is on the practical application of financial techniques in the modern financial services environment.

Southampton Management School has an excellent international reputation for the analytical study of management and business. Studying the MSc International Banking and Financial Studies masters programme will introduce you to new concepts and knowledge, which can make all the difference in the job market.

At the Management School, all our degrees are taught by research-active academics who are also directly tackling business challenges outside the seminar room and putting theory into practice every day.

The International Banking and Financial Studies masters degree course is led by Dr. Gerhard Kling, who is a senior lecturer in Finance at the University of Southampton’s Management School.

Gerhard received his PhD in Economics from the University of Tuebingen (Germany) and joined Utrecht University (The Netherlands) as Assistant Professor of Finance and Financial Markets (2004-2006).

In 2006, he went into the private sector and worked as Practice Specialist in Corporate Finance & Banking (McKinsey & Company, Germany) (2006-2007). Then he returned into academia and joined Bristol Business School (UWE, UK) as Senior Lecturer in Strategy (2007-2009).

In 2009, Gerhard was promoted to a Principal Lecturer in Strategy and Operations Management (2009-2010). On 1st October 2010 he joined the University of Southampton as a Senior Lecturer in Finance.
Southampton Management School has an excellent international reputation for the analytical study of management and business. Studying an MSc Management masters degree, or other postgraduate option, will introduce you to new concepts and knowledge, which can make all the difference in the job market.
All our degrees are taught by research-active academics who are also directly tackling business challenges outside the seminar room and put theory into practice every day.

Want To Start A Home Based Business! First Get Your Funding Strategy Right.

Proper Funding is a pre-requisite for the successful operation of a Home Based Business. The fact is that without sufficient funds even the best planned Home Based Business whether it is big or small is bound to fail. Cash is an important ingredient absolutely necessary to sustain your Home Based Business and run it. The capital you require will ofcource depend on how big your operation is going to be. Many businesses fail within a year or two for want of sufficient working capital.

Most Home Based Businesses don’t often need much funds especially if you start on a part-time basis; nevertheless funds are absolutely necessary even if you start a Free Home Based Business.The fact that you do not have sufficient funds need not put you off from starting a Home Based Business because you can always apply for a loan.

Given below are 6 sources from where you could obtain loans and get your home based business up and running.

Credit Cards:
Many Home Based Business entrepreneurs looking around for finance are not aware of the fact that many small business owners partly finance their business with credit card loans. Just take a count of the number of credit card offers you receive in your e-mails every week! The credit cards are very convenient and easy to manage. The interest rates are of course high and you should act smart and obtain one with the lowest interest rate. Since the interests are generally high, unless managed properly it can be counter productive. Credit cards are certainly very useful for your Home Based Business if used carefully.

Personal Loan:
Every time someone wants a loan, he makes a bee line to the bank to take a personal loan. These loans are given to individual applicants based on their personal income and credit worthiness. Hence a good income and good credit rating will qualify you for a loan that you need for your business. So to Start a Home Based Business, you can apply for a personal loan. If you have an intention of leaving your job and starting a home based business, it is advisable to apply for a loan while you are still employed. In this manner you are assured of a loan and a higher amount as well.

Business Loan:
Another way of obtaining a loan is to apply for a business loan but it is often difficult to obtain for a new home based business. This is because the business has little or no equity and they don’t possess a track record of success. The interest rates are of course reasonable. In this instance you must have a business plan to obtain a loan.

Home Equity Loan:
This loan is similar to that of a personal loan but in this case you have to pledge your home or some property as collateral in the event you default on your loan payment.

The advantage here is that a large amount of money can be obtained for your home based business for a long term of 15 years or so. There are two choices, either you obtain a lump sum amount or draw amounts as and when you require money for your business.

SBA Loan:
This loan can be obtained easily by Home Based Business entrepreneurs. The SBA loans no money directly. In America this loan is backed by the US. Small Business Administration and it guarantees 75% of individual loans made by banks. Hence lending banks have less risk in the event of default.
More information can be obtained from http://www.sba.gov

Savings:
This is one popular place many Home Based Business entrepreneurs turn to when they need cash to start a home based business. Here you will get an immediate approval for your loan with no interest.

To Start a Home Based Business you don’t need a huge loan. Just because you can obtain a big loan it does not stand to reason that you should obtain one. The success of your home based business depends on the optimum loan obtained and how well you manage your financial commitment.

If you do not have the funds but have the passion, drive, determination and the staying power then go ahead, get a loan and Start a Home Based Business.

Fraud And Corruption – A Strategic Direction

Nobody likes to be misled, especially by people they trust or have an expectation will do the right thing, whatever that is. Fraud and corruption can be a blow to the self-image of capable managers and their confidence in their ability to deter or detect a fraudulent scheme. More so, they can have a negative impact on an organisation’s brand, image and reputation, organisational morale and where the loss is large – significantly impact the bottom line.

In a recent survey of fraud in Australian organisations, 84 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposition that fraud control is a governance issue.

Corporate governance is an entire culture that sets and monitors behavioural expectations intended to deter the fraudster. As part of the establishment of sound corporate governance, it is now clearly accepted that an organisation should formulate a fraud and corruption control strategy. Through the development and implementation of the strategy, compliance with anti-fraud and corruption control practices can be promoted, maintained and instances of fraud and corruption control non-conformance identified and dealt with quickly.

What is a fraud and corruption control strategy ?

It is a comprehensive summary of key elements that the organisation has introduced to prevent, identify, manage, investigate and deal with fraud and corruption specific to its own circumstances. According to the Australian Standard AS8001-2003 , although an organisation’s approach to its strategy will be dependent upon its size, diversity, geographical spread and the industry in which it operates, the Standard recommends that a strategy contain a number of elements. Several of these elements are discussed below:

Fraud and corruption awareness – How does the organisation educate their staff and stakeholders about how fraud and corruption occurs and what to do if it is discovered ? This is a key element as fraud surveys have clearly demonstrated over time that the majority of frauds are discovered by staff and that whistleblowers are also an important source of information.

Reporting of fraud and corruption – Is there a formal reporting process ? Does senior management and the Audit and Risk Management Committee get told of all incidences ? If all instances are not recorded centrally, how does management assess the size and breadth of the problem and effectively manage it ? Also importantly, if the instances if fraud and corruption are not reported to the Audit and Risk Management Committee, how do they monitor the performance of senior management in managing the risk ?

Fraud and corruption risk assessment – Identifying a couple of fraud risks in your business risk assessment or enterprise risk management process is far from adequate. An organisation should not rely on management alone to come up with all potential risks as there may be a knowledge gap, a reluctance to identify the existing weaknesses, inadequate allocation of time to discuss the issues or lack of a persistent inquisitor to ask the tough questions and follow up. So, consider having someone involved who thinks like a fraudster and has experienced a broad range of fraud and corruption issues who can add real value to the process. The insights regarding risks and process weaknesses can be invaluable.

Whistleblowing – How does your organisation protect whistleblowers ? Does it encourage anonymous reporting ? Whistleblower programs allow employees and others to report concerns-including those about corporate fraud-and can allow the management and/or the Board to take early corrective action. Whistleblowing lines are now becoming more prominent in the private sector.

Pre-employment screening – Is there a consistent process of screening across the organisation ? How thoroughly are background checks, such as prior employment history, tertiary qualifications and memberships of professional associations, conducted ? Does it cover only full-time employees or include contractors ?

Regular reviews of internal controls – Effective internal controls cannot be both successful and static. They should be monitored and evaluated for improvements and changes made necessary by changing conditions. The scope and frequency of evaluations of the internal control structure depend on risk assessments and the overall perceived effectiveness of internal controls. As an example, under the Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, management is charged with performing an evaluation at least annually. Anti-money-laundering procedures employed by financial institutions are a good example of a proactive process designed to deter fraudulent transactions from taking place through a financial institution.

Commonwealth Agencies have clearly led the private sector in developing fraud and corruption control strategies. This is mainly because it is mandated under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 that all budget-funded agencies, and relevant Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 funded bodies, put in place practices and procedures for effective fraud control. The Commonwealth Fraud Control Guidelines, outlines how each Agency must have a fraud control plan.

What are the trends and issues that organisations should be aware of ?

Patterns of behaviour are clearly emerging as both the cost and complexity of technology decreases and information is shared through the internet in real time. Although more traditional frauds continue to be perpetrated against organisations, there are also a number of new or increasingly prominent challenges. Some of these challenges include:

Identity fraud and theft – Criminal syndicates follow the money and as such identity fraud and theft is fast becoming a significant problem as they target individuals and organisations. The quality of recent forgeries of identification documents such as driver’s licences, birth certificates and even passports has highlighted the need for biometric identification solutions such as fingerprints, voice patterns, retinal images, facial or hand geometry to be seriously considered by organisations.

Cyber-crime – The role of ‘phishing’ and the use of ‘trojans’ to illegally penetrate computers to obtain confidential information, including banking details, shows no signs of abating. As an example, over 11,000 unique phishing attack websites were reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group in May 2006.

Cheque fraud – this continues to be one of Australia’s most prevalent frauds affecting businesses. It involves the alteration of an existing cheque to a new payee and sometimes an altered amount.

Gambling – There is an inextricable link between gambling addiction and fraud. As the opportunity to participate in various forms of gambling grows, the incidence of fraud will also continue to grow. Refer to the breakout box for some recent Australian examples.

What can your organisation do ?

Senior management tasked with governance responsibilities should undertake a review of their approach to fraud and corruption control. It is recommended that they at least benchmark your organisation against best practice recommended by the Australian Standard AS8001-2003 – ‘Fraud and Corruption Control’ in order to determine gaps that require addressing. This will be the blue print for going forward.

Key areas of the fraud and corruption control strategy that should be emphasised and undertaken should include: championing a pro-active and thorough approach to fraud risk management across the organisation; ; reviewing the organisation’s whistleblowing policy and procedures and where one does not exist, seriously consider the inclusion of an anonymous reporting line to augment the reporting structure; and educating staff about fraud, how it is detected and importantly the organisation’s reporting procedures.

Conclusion

Emerging technological trends, the globalisation of commerce as well as the growing impact of the prevalence of gambling should be of concern to Board members and senior management in all organisations, both large and small. They all create risks that need to be constantly managed.

Those who commit fraud and corruption, whether internal or external to the organisation, are often attuned to system and control weaknesses and therefore target least points of resistance.

To deal with these fraud and corruption risks, organisations must look to how they are allocating their resources and seriously consider the need for a comprehensive strategy.

Case Study – Whistleblowing

Fraud awareness training was provided to all staff in a division. Subsequent to this training, the Financial Controller was sent an e-mail with the sender’s details disguised although indicating that they had attended one of the fraud awareness sessions. The e-mail contained detailed allegations concerning anomalies with a senior manager’s use of a company credit card.

A preliminary review was undertaken of the credit card statements that revealed personal purchases of clothes, meals, accommodation, dating services and books over an eighteen-month period that were all fraudulently misrepresented on the card statements as business related expenses. Although the card statements were countersigned by another manager, the manager later admitted trusting the senior manager’s explanations for the purchases.

The senior manager was in a key governance position within the organisation and was subsequently dismissed.

Case Study – False invoicing

A Finance Director with responsibility for the Asia-Pacific region travelled regularly. An anomaly with his expenses led to a further investigation of his activities. A link was identified between the name of an Australian based company of which he was a Director and a company based in Malaysia that had received consulting fees authorised by the Finance Director.

Further investigation revealed four companies in different Asian countries that had received consulting fees based on bogus projects. As a result of the investigation, it was proven that more than 50 invoices were prepared and subsequently signed off by the Finance Director at an Australian Dollar equivalent just below his delegation limit.

International company searches revealed he was a Director and Shareholder in each company. Over AUD2 million was recovered.

It was also revealed that the annual budget for such consulting expenses was $300,000 when the Finance Director joined. In the first year, he increased the budget to $1.8 million. He therefore budgeted for his own fraud.

Examples – Gambling motivated fraud

$7.1 million – Accountant defrauded clients’ trust funds. Spent 937 days out of 7 years gambling at the Crown Casino. $4.3 million – Claims officer reopened claims files and made out 1,003 cheques to fictitious 3rd parties over a period of 10 years. Most of the money was lost through gambling. $8.3 million – Merchant Banker in an investment bank wrote out 76 cheques in erasable ink over four years, altering payee to own benefit used to gamble. $17 million – Bank Manager by unauthorised EFT’s. Racehorses. $4.57 million – Financial Adviser. $22 million – General Manager of a Transport company. Unauthorised EFT’s. Racehorses. $1.5 million – Two Managers of a Credit Union. Poker machines. $254,000 – Financial Controller of a Hotel. Roulette. $44,000 – Carer of people with a disability. Poker machines.

Debt Management – A Regiment Acts Upon Debt Strategy

Figures are just shocking of debt spiralling. And, the report published has led to call from debtors’ advice to fighter regulation of the finance industry to stop the growing debt crisis. Some say that there should be a ban on loan companies that charge ludicrous amounts of interest. Some have just lost their homes and families through debt and some have to start again. A number of people got caught up the credit trap due to banks and loan companies making it all too easy to get credit. Making people learned from their financial mistakes and they would not be making the same again, the lending authority has come up with the provisions of debt management programs and services to people.

Those who say that they have no sympathy with people like them should see the light and open their eyes to what is going on around them. They do not realise that even the most disciplined can get caught up. A debt management can be an easy answer to solve the current financial strain brought on by a large outstanding debt amount. The reason is because many borrowers obtain debt management, and correctly use it to pay off their debts.

Unfortunately, sudden feelings of good about their new found financial strength they make the mistake of using their credit cards again and again and again – essentially repeating the blunders that got them into trouble in the first place. Compound that with the fact that they now also must pay off the debt management they originally get in order to relieve them of their initial financial burdens.

Being able to save money, or should be, debt management is an important factor in deciding whether to take out a loan. Typically, people who are considering debt management have multiple debts which include one or more with high interest rates. This particularly happens when loans are taken out during a period when market interest rates are high. The borrower sees cheaper loans advertised when the market rates decline, but the rates of his loans are fixed at a high level; it is therefore an immediate temptation to switch to one cheaper rate loan and to make interest charges and monthly payments cheaper.

For all that, there is a great availability of lenders online and offline. To get an instant process at fast approval, online method of applying is considered the best applying tool. Select a lender after a little research and make your debt management plan according to your financial feasibility.