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DR. ROBERT G. ECCLES JOINS OXFORD SAÏD AS VISITING PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE

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DR. ROBERT G. ECCLES JOINS OXFORD SAÏD AS VISITING PROFESSOR OF MANAGEMENT PRACTICE

Latest appointment as Oxford strengthens its expertise in corporate reporting

Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Dr. Robert G. Eccles, the founding Chairman of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), and the world’s leading academic authority on integrated reporting, has joined Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, as Visiting Professor of Management Practice.

The appointment of Eccles follows the recent recruitment to Oxford of other corporate reporting experts. Earlier this year, Amir Amel-Zadeh joined Oxford Saïd as Associate Professor in Accounting from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and Karthik Ramanna joined the Blavatnik School of Government as Professor of Business and Public Policy from Harvard Business School.

Dr. Eccles is widely recognised for his research on sustainability from both a corporate and investor perspective. He is a steering member of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), and is Chairman of Arabesque, the world’s first Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Quant fund manager.

Previously, Eccles served on the faculty at Harvard Business School, and is an award-winning author of twelve books, including The Integrated Reporting Movement: Meaning, Momentum, Motives and Materiality (with Michael P. Krzus and Sydney Ribot). In 2015, he was named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics.

Richard Barker, Professor of Accounting at Oxford Saïd, said: ‘The ‘traditional’ model of financial reporting has historically served investors and society well, but there is an urgent need for companies to also report on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, as they are key factors for investor decision making. These appointments will strengthen the accounting group here and contribute to our focus in the domain of responsible business.’

On his appointment, Eccles said: ‘I am thrilled to be joining Oxford to support their efforts to become the academic centre of excellence in corporate reporting. I believe we can make substantial contributions in understanding how better corporate reporting can improve performance by both companies and investors, while contributing to a more sustainable society.’

Amir Amel-Zadeh’s research interests include the economic effects of financial accounting and disclosure, mergers and acquisitions, and the accounting and regulatory issues at financial institutions. Currently, he is the lead investigator on a multi-year research project, The Materiality of Non-Financial Information: The Market’s Evolving View of the Relevance of ESG Disclosures, supported by the Newton Centre for Endowment Asset Management, University of Cambridge and funded by a gift from Bank of New York Mellon.

Karthik Ramanna’s scholarship explores the role of business leadership in shaping the basic rules that govern capital-market societies. His book Political Standards studies the political and economic forces that have shaped corporate financial reporting standards over the last 30 years. In his previous faculty role at Harvard Business School, Karthik taught the required MBA course Leadership & Corporate Accountability, where he helped build a curriculum to develop leaders to confront the 21st century’s most challenging problems.

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Japan’s jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures – Reuters poll

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Japan's jobless rate seen up in January due to COVID-19 emergency measures - Reuters poll 1

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s jobless rate is expected to have edged up in January as service industry businesses suffered renewed restrictions on movement to fight spread of the coronavirus in some areas, including Tokyo, a Reuters poll of economists showed on Friday.

While industrial production activity picked up in Japan, emergency curbs rolled out last month such as asking restaurants to close early and suspending the national travel campaign hurt the jobs market, analysts said.

The nation’s unemployment rate likely rose 3.0% in January, up from 2.9% in December, the poll of 15 economists found.

The jobs-to-applicants ratio, a gauge of the availability of jobs, was seen at 1.06 in January, unchanged from December, but stayed near September’s seven-year low of 1.03, the poll showed.

“As the impact from the coronavirus pandemic prolongs, it is hard for firms, especially the service sector, to expect their business profits to improve,” said Yusuke Shimoda, senior economist at Japan Research Institute.

“So, their willingness to hire employees appear to be subdued and it is difficult to see the jobs market recovering soon.”

Some analysts also said the government’s steps to support employment and existing labour shortages will likely prevent the jobless rate from worsening sharply.

The government will announce the labour market data at 8:30 a.m. Japan time on Tuesday (2330 GMT Monday).

Analysts expect the economy to contract in the current quarter due to the emergency measures to counter the spread of the disease.

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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China’s economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 – central bank adviser

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China's economy could grow 8-9% this year from low base in 2020 - central bank adviser 2

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product (GDP) could expand 8-9% in 2021 as it continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic, Liu Shijin, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China, said on Friday.

This speed of recovery would not mean China has returned to a “high-growth” period, said Liu, as it would be from a low base in 2020, when China’s economy grew 2.3%.

Analysts from HSBC this week forecast that China would grow 8.5% this year, leading the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

If 2020 and 2021’s average GDP growth is around 5%, this would be a “not bad” outcome, said Liu, speaking at an online conference.

China is set to release a government work report on March 5 which typically includes a GDP growth target for the year.

Last year’s report did not include one due to uncertainties caused by the coronavirus. Reuters previously reported that 2021’s report will also not set a target.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Muyu Xu; Editing by Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Japan’s January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop

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Japan's January factory output rises for first time in three months, retail sales drop 3

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s industrial output rose for the first time in three months in January thanks to a pickup in global demand, in a welcome sign for an economy still looking to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic.

But retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, posted their second straight month of declines in January as emergency measures taken in response to the pandemic hit consumption.

Official data released on Friday showed factory output advanced 4.2% in January, boosted by sharp rises in production of electronic parts and general-purpose machinery, as well as a smaller increase in car output.

“Manufacturers will continue to increase output over the near term as long as there won’t be any big shock,” said Taro Saito, executive research fellow at NLI Research Institute.

While economic growth will likely be negative in the first quarter, the strength in manufacturing would offset the negative impact of a state of emergency at home, which is mainly affecting the services sector, he said.

The rise in output, which followed a 1.0% fall the previous month, was largely in line with a 4.0% gain forecast in a Reuters poll of economists. Manufacturers surveyed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) expect output to grow 2.1% in February, followed by a 6.1% decline in March.

The government kept its assessment of industrial production unchanged, saying it was picking up.

Factory output fell in November and December as a rebound in car production ended on sagging global demand, but since then strong demand for tech-making equipment and electronic goods has helped turn the tide.

Still, some analysts worry that Japan’s economic recovery will remain hobbled by weaker conditions at home and as lockdown measures taken around the world to contain the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in Europe, weigh.

The government also released data on Friday showing retail sales fell 2.4% in January compared with the same month a year earlier, in a sign households tightened their purse strings as the coronavirus staged a resurgence.

The fall, which was in line with a 2.6% drop seen by economists in a Reuters poll, was largely due to sharp contractions in general merchandise and fabrics apparel spending. It followed a 0.2% fall in December.

Compared to a month earlier, retail sales in January fell 0.5% on a seasonally adjusted basis for the third straight month of declines. But the pace of decline was slower than in the previous two months.

“We think consumer spending will only fall around 1% quarter-on-quarter this quarter,” said Tom Learmouth, Japan economist at Capital Economics.

“We expect it to rise fairly strongly over the coming quarters as the recovery resumes and is soon given a shot in the arm by vaccines,” he added.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Sam Holmes and Richard Pullin)

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