Page 1: Introduction
It was the European Commission that first coined the term ‘small and medium enterprise’ (SME) to describe businesses which employ less than 500 workers.
This case study focuses upon the role of Beeson Gregory, a City based corporate adviser and stockbroker, which specialises in serving the needs of entrepreneurial and growing companies within the SME sector. The study examines the source of finance and the way SMEs find access to it.
Beeson Gregory is a service driven business providing solutions tailored to the needs of its individual clients. In recent years, it has benefited from its niche position as adviser to European small and medium sized growth companies. The firm’s objective is to inform small and medium sized European companies on all aspects of corporate advice. Beeson Gregory’s key areas of expertise are divided into:
- Corporate advice - Beeson Gregory provides advice on various forms of finance, including floating companies on the stock market through offering shares to the public, as well as secondary issues i.e. providing further finance to existing public companies. Advice is also provided on buying and selling companies through acquisitions, disposals, take-overs and mergers.
- Broking - The Beeson Gregory team provides a range of stockbroking services that includes identifying clients’ investment requirements, opportunities for investment and maintaining a regular flow of information between the company and investors.
- Market-making - Market-making involves finding buyers and sellers for corporate stocks and shares. Beeson Gregory acts as market-maker for clients on the central securities market of the London Stock Exchange (known as the official list), the Alternative Investment Market (AIM - the market for firms that are too young or too small to be quoted on the full exchange), as well as EASDAQ (the European Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation - a pan- European market for medium-sized technology companies).
The importance of SMEs is now recognised by government as the principal source of economic growth as well as employment opportunities. Access to finance is critical to the development of this sector of the economy. Recent investment trends, both in the UK and world wide, have focused on larger companies which has created obvious difficulties.