The EU’s growth strategy for the current decade is to facilitate access to finance for SMEs. In its “Action Plan to Improve Access to Finance for SMEs” adopted in 2011, the European Commission laid out a range of measures to provide SMEs with more alternatives for their external financing beyond bank loans. In particular, the Commission announced its intention to facilitate access to high quality information on listed SMEs.
The Commission assessed that reliable high-quality information on listed SMEs was scarce, current research lacked frequency and depth and primary and secondary market intermediation appeared unprofitable. The Commission took the view that commercial research on listed SMEs should be further incentivised. A number of framework conditions needed to be taken into account that, if adequately readjusted, could facilitate any solution. These included: market fragmentation, credibility of information providers, obstacles created by regulation and the commercial interests of market participants.
Market Structure Partners was the financial markets expert team in a consortium that was selected to provide an evidence-oriented study based on substantive field research in addition to desk research. The study analysed the industry for the provision of commercial business information services and followed the sequence of:
- Literature review
- Data collection and analysis including 5 cases studies across UK, France, Czech Republic, Australia and Sweden
- Assessment of industry competitiveness and market performance
- Analysis of regulatory and other framework conditions
- Scenario building and policy recommendations
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