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Global ViewPoint (February 2012)

Obstacle or Opportunity? Challenges for Corporations in Complex and Emerging Markets

Overview

There is no longer a simple distinction between mature and emerging markets. Definitions typically revolve around development and institutional maturity; geographical location; economic function; skills base; political function; and infrastructure. However, it is possible for emerging markets to exist within the boundaries of otherwise mature and stable economies, and it tends to be the complexities and challenges of getting anything done which defines whether a market is emerging or not. As a result there is great diversity in the characteristics of market opportunities around the world.

Corporations and their advisors need to be able to understand a wide range of political, legal and cultural norms in order to devise and support a variety of different governance and business process arrangements. More so now that there is an increasing move from low value operations (e.g. BPO) to more complex processes such as risk analytics and actuarial services to these markets.

Opportunities exist for those with robust capabilities and the ability to overcome significant short-term challenges, such as volatile security situations and cyber threats. Cutting corners on business standards might produce short term wins but isn’t a way of gaining lasting footholds in markets. For a variety of reasons, corporations need to be able to demonstrate compliance across all activities in all jurisdictions, which requires a position of “informed pragmatism."

With a panel of major corporate occupiers, we explore the obstacles and opportunities arising from the various shifts occurring in economies, markets and politics around the world.

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