EY Spotlight on Business: Rising stars

Spotlight on Business - Issue 3, 2013

Rising stars

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A decade ago, the opening up of Myanmar’s economy was unfathomable. Today, the country is capturing the imagination of investors, who are excited about the opportunities but equally cautious of the drawbacks. Sensible and sustained policy decisions can make or break the growth promise of the country. The Indian government can attest to this with the recent fiscal measures to stem the decline in FDI. Entrepreneurs across G20 countries are calling on governments and corporates to join hands in fostering a more sustaining ecosystem to drive domestic innovation and employment.

Frankly, there is no certainty that every well-thought business plan or investment will pay off. Yet, stagnating is not an option. It takes curiosity to seek growth and upset the competition. Today, even as one feels compelled to turn to emerging economies, truly understanding the market to weigh the risks and gains of entry is a constant struggle. Perhaps that explains why even when the African economy has tripled in size since 2000, many investors remain distant - justified or not. Meanwhile, financial institutions are bullish about emerging markets with M&A talks rife in Southeast Asia.

As emerging economies add new dimensions to business agendas, the expectation of C-suite roles invariably heightens. Today’s CFOs must be both finance and corporate strategists, and internal audit chiefs must be strategic advisors that truly improve business, risk and governance alignment.

All of these are happening against a fast-changing regulatory backdrop on various fronts, including taxation. In July this year, the OECD sealed its commitment to tackle tax avoidance with recommendations that will extensively influence cross-border tax rules and compliance burdens. Already, authorities have been sending increasingly pressing signals to businesses to get their transfer pricing right. If past developments were a sign of things to come, the OECD’s move is hardly unexpected.

Talking about the unforeseen, it is never too early for family-owned businesses to plan for leadership succession. Protecting the legacy is a highly complex conversation - both in the boardroom and at the dining table.

Max Loh, EY Managing Partner, Asean and Singapore

Max Loh

Managing Partner, Asean and Singapore