David Knight highlights the top corporate and finance websites
Almost every week a new site appears carrying something of interest to the corporate finance communities.In olden days (ie 18 months ago) one could have relied on a search engine to index and rank web pages according to the most relevant. Now, many search engines are dependent on advertising, and sites thrown up are just as likely to be those that have paid a fee to the search engine concerned.Here is a selection of the best law sites in a number of practice areas.One of the best law sites is the one produced by The Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI) (www.csfi.demon.co.uk). CSFI is a think-tank supported by many of the world’s leading banks. The organisation runs an active programme of meetings, seminars and research projects for those involved in financial markets.Upcoming events include a round-table on stamp duty with Anne Little (Association of Private Clients, Investment Managers and Stockbrokers) and Alistair Ballantyne (Morgan Stanley Dean Witter) on 23 March, 2000, and similar discussions on financial reform at the Consumer’s Association on 28 March, 2000. Minutes of these meetings are only available to members but joining is something well worth considering.The Bank of England’s site (www.bankofengland. co.uk), while first seeming a bit dry, has a useful collection of its latest press releases and transcripts of speeches given by senior officials. Information about the Bank’s work on the euro is available at www.bankofengland.co.uk/euro. This includes a ‘practical issues’ booklet and a document on preparations for possible introduction of the euro in the UK.The British Banker’s Association site (www.bba. org.uk) contains a number of useful briefing points, including submissions relating to the standardisation of PFI contracts, together with lots of information in detailed press releases and other publications. The site also includes links to a number of UK banking industry websites, including member banks’ sites.The British Venture Capitalists Association’s site (www.bvca.co.uk) gives access to the association’s publications, research and press releases. It also has links to key facts about venture capital in the UK, statistics and information.The Building Societies Association (www.bsa.org. uk) is the trade association for the UK’s building societies. There are 68 building societies in the UK with total assets of £160bn. As well as having detailed addresses of these societies and links to many of them, the site carries the full text of many useful papers.Crest (www.crestco. co.uk) is the real term settlement system for UK and Irish shares and other corporate securities. It enables participants to hold securities in uncertified form and transfer them electronically with effective delivery versus payment. The site contains a number of useful articles around its subject matter and facilities for obtaining technical bulletins by e-mail.Another good financial site is FTFA 100 (www.mon eyworld.co.uk/stocks/ftse100) which gives you access to share prices and is updated every five minutes. The DTI homepage (www.dti.gov.uk) provides access to regulatory guidance and consultation documents. The information is high quality and the site is well worth a visit. The remit of the Financial Law Panel (www. flpanel.demon.co.uk) is to identify areas of legal uncertainty affecting wholesale financial markets, to eliminate them or reduce their scope. At the site, you can access some of the panel’s regularly published practice recommendations, guidelines and other papers of the areas of legal concern.The Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) site (www.fsa.gov.uk) contains information about the FSA’s responsibilities for the regulation of investment business in the UK, the supervision of banks to the UK and listed money market institutions. The site also contains information on progress towards creating a single regulator for all financial markets in the UK.The Economist’s site (www.economist.com) and the Financial Times site (www.ft.com) contain the internet editions of these publications. You have to register for parts of these. Central Banking (www.centralbanking.co.uk) is a journal of worldwide central banking and its site includes a list of links to central banks and regulators by country. Articles from the journal are available online and you can join their mailing list for instant updates on new products and research.The HM Treasury site (www.hm-treasury.gov.uk) provides access to press releases, budget information, details of initiatives including consultation documents, recent legislation-related documents and details of the Contacts with Industry Scheme.International Project Finance Association’s site (www.ipfa.org) is a mine of information on project finance, public-private partnerships and private finance initiatives around the world. Some parts are members only, but anyone can download a quarterly newsletter.The site of the International Organisation for Compliance Professionals in the Financial Services Industry (www.compliance-register.com) is particularly useful, but is restricted to members only. The compliance digest is published on the site.The London Stock Exchange’s site (www.lon donstockex.co.uk) gives access to news, press releases and has a link to a useful glossary of terms.Mondaq Business Briefing provides a particularly useful free resource (www.mondaq.com). To use the site you have to register, but once you have done that you can monitor the legislative and regulatory framework affecting business and investment in the UK and the EU, eastern Europe, North America, Southeast Asia and China, Africa and the Middle East, and major offshore centres.Through the Private Finance Initiative (www.treasury-projects-task force.gov.uk) hosted by the Treasury Task Force site, you can access the OJECS, a useful PFI library and the latest news and press releases.David Knight heads internet consultancy Knight Consulting.
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