Finance - Theses

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    The corporate treasury function: risk management and performance measurement
    Sweeney, Mary Elizabeth Blundy ( 1997-05)
    The Australian financial system has changed dramatically in recent years, creating both threats and opportunities for value adding activities. Many large corporations have set up a separate treasury division or department to handle their financing requirements. This thesis derives the rationale for a separate treasury function from theory of the firm. A framework has been developed by drawing upon both the old theory of the firm (transaction cost economics) and the new theory of the firm (agency theory) to determine the appropriate governance structure to manage financial arrangements. Formal analysis of corporate treasury functions and performance measurement research has not kept pace with the growth of treasury activities. Appropriate benchmarks provide management with information to manage financial risk and to more accurately assess treasury performance. A benchmark is required for core treasury tasks, including debt portfolio management. Optimal treasury benchmarks are difficult to determine, due to the complexity involved in measuring financial exposures for firms which derive income from physical, rather than financial assets. The inter-relationships between financial risks, including maturity, interest rate and currency risk, further compounds the problem. Decomposition of financial risk into these respective elements allows identification of the firm specific factors that influence financial exposure. Appropriate benchmarks for managing repricing, refunding and foreign exchange risk depend upon the trade-off between transaction costs, agency costs and information signalling costs. Theory suggests growth options in real assets within the firm's investment opportunity set provide opportunities for natural hedges that offset financial risk. However, empirical analysis of share price sensitivity to interest rates and an analysis of debt maturity structure indicates growth options and agency factors are less important than firm specific characteristics when setting up benchmark portfolios to manage financial risk. Treasuries are often classified as either active or passive managers, but a continuum of strategies is possible when managing financial risk, rather than points at either end of a spectrum. Tolerance levels around the benchmark constrain activity within a relevant range - the more active the treasury, the broader the range. Constraints allow the degree of activity to be fine-tuned. The decision to actively manage risk depends upon whether value can be added in risk-adjusted terms. This is a function not only of whether opportunities exist, but also whether value can be added consistently, compared with a passive approach. The majority of practising treasurers describe themselves as 'active hedgers'. Subject to caveats outlined in the thesis, field experiments conducted over a three year period indicate the ability of corporate treasurers to add value to the firm through outperforming a passive benchmark portfolio of debt is limited. Respondents to an international survey on corporate treasury control and performance standards cited difficulty in setting benchmarks, particularly risk-adjusted benchmarks, as the major reason for not measuring treasury performance. Empirical determinants of benchmark structures for repricing risk, refunding risk and currency risk have been identified. A better understanding of the factors that determine financial risk will assist management when they are designing or refining benchmarks to manage financial risk and measure treasury performance.
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    Financial Corporations Act 1974: a study in business/government relations
    Taylor, Dennis W. ( 1975)
    This report will centre on the Financial Corporations Act 1974 with the aim of providing a special study in relations between private management in the Australian finance industry and various organs of Australian government. Emphasis will be on an assessment of the part of business in the making of this new law and in the developing of new and continuing relations with government organs.