08 Mar 2012

The proportion of women holding senior management roles in Europe is steadily increasing according to the latest research from Grant Thornton. However, the reverse is true in emerging markets, where businesses have historically employed more females in senior roles. This leaves an average of 25% for Canada and a global average at 21%, barely higher than the 2004 level.

The figures from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) reveal that just over one in five (22%) senior management positions in businesses surveyed in Latin America are held by women, down from 28% in 2009. Similar falls have been recorded in the Asia Pacific economies (25% in 2009 down to 19% in 2012), South East Asia (36% in 2009 down to 32% in 2012) and the BRIC economies (30% in 2009 down to 26% in 2012).
Despite rising unemployment, the proportion of women in senior management in Europe has continued to rise steadily from 17% in 2004 to 20% in 2009 to 24% in 2012, catching up with peers in emerging markets.

April Mackenzie, global head – governance and public policy at Grant Thornton International, said: “Across Europe, getting more women into senior management positions has been high on the political agenda for quite some time. Governments have been vocal about addressing the imbalance and as a result businesses have been under real scrutiny. This encouraging rise in senior women shows the effect this attention is starting to have.

“The steady drop-off we are seeing in the emerging markets is a real concern though. The worry is that we may be reaching the point where women are underrepresented in senior management the world over.”

There are a myriad of cultural, economic and social barriers which prevent women from reaching the top jobs, but rapid urbanisation, which has accompanied rapid economic growth in emerging markets, could help explain why the proportion of women in senior management is falling away.

Since 1978, China has experienced the largest internal migration in human history, with nearly 160m people moving from the countryside into cities1. The proportion of people living in urban areas passed 50% in 2011, and is projected to hit 55% by 2020. Similarly in Mexico, the proportion of the population living in urban areas is projected to rise from 74% in 2000 to 80% by 20202. This is putting a huge strain on traditional family models.

April Mackenzie explained: “The movement into cities has begun to break down traditional models of extended families. The in-built childcare infrastructure which allowed children to be raised by grandparents, enabled women to work full-time. This is being replaced by ‘Western-style’ nuclear families which rely on one parent looking after the children or the prospect of expensive childcare.

“Urbanisation presents more opportunities for more people, including women, in many different ways. But the challenges it places on the family model appear to be having a disproportionately large effect on the ability of women to break the glass ceiling and occupy senior management roles.

“Governments and business leaders in emerging markets need to start working now to address this decline. The last thing we want to see is a race to mediocrity where the proportion of women in senior roles in these countries bottoms out and stagnates for a number of years. Or indeed that these high growth economies lose talent because women in the burgeoning rising middle classes opt out of the workforce altogether.

“There needs to be a public discussion now about the policies and practices that will enable and encourage women to continue to progress in the workplace.”

The IBR suggests that offering flexible working could help reverse this trend in emerging markets. Nearly two thirds of businesses in the EU (65%), where the proportion of women in senior management roles is increasing, currently offer flexible working. This is well ahead of Latin America (49%), the BRIC economies (36%) and Asia Pacific (32%).
April Mackenzie said: “Businesses in the emerging economies are lagging behind on the flexible working front. Greater adoption of this might allow a greater proportion of women to make senior positions in the future, reversing the current decline.”

Biggest winners and losers

Of the 40 economies surveyed, businesses in Russia employ the most women in senior management (46%), ahead of Botswana, Thailand and the Philippines (all 39%), whilst Italy ranks highest in Europe (36%).
Bottom of the table is Japan, where only 5% of senior management positions are filled by women, below Germany (13%), India (14%) and Denmark (15%).

The biggest risers over the past 12 months include Turkey (25% to 31%), and the United Arab Emirates (8% to 15%), results that suggest that the wave of economic liberalisation in the Middle East as a result of the Arab Spring could have boosted the chances of women in the region reaching the top.


1  The Economist; from 25 February 2012 edition
2  United Nations’ Population Division

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For further information please contact:
Tom Yazdi/Jo Nussbaum/Keith Brookbank
Linstock Communications
T +44 207 089 2080

Notes to editors
The Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) provides insight into the views and expectations of 12,000 businesses per year across 40 economies. This unique survey draws upon 20 years of trend data for most European participants and nine years for many non-European economies. For more information or to consult the report, please visit: www.internationalbusinessreport.com.

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07 Mar 2012

On March 5, 2012, Bill 54, An Act respecting the sectoral parameters of certain fiscal measures, was ratified by the National Assembly. This new legislation will have major repercussions on the tax regime of many Quebec businesses.

New Act, New Practices

The purpose of this bill is to consolidate all non-tax parameters and fiscal measures for businesses. This will affect numerous manufacturing and service companies that obtain certificates or authorizations pertaining to the many incentives offered by Quebec government bodies.

Up until now, many Ministries and bodies, other than Revenu Québec, administered non-tax parameters independently (such as Investissement Québec or the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (SODEC), for example). Going forward, Ministries and bodies will manage these non-tax parameters within a frame.

This new provision includes a formal review process serving to limit the number of non-tax parameter interpretations based on the point of view of applicants or Ministries and bodies administering the credits.

In all, the non-tax parameters of eight Ministries and bodies are affected by this new legislation:

1. The Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation;
2. The Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation;
3. The Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport;
4. The Ministère des Finances;
5. The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune;
6. The Ministère des Transports;
7. Investissement Québec;
8. SODEC.

Changes

The bill sets out general rules concerning non-tax parameters and measures related to the issuance of documents required for the application of fiscal measures. It also gives the Ministries and bodies in question inspection and inquiry powers.

Therefore, when a Ministry or body rejects or only partially accepts an enterprise’s application, it must also provide a written explanation to the applicant of the reasons behind its decision (which was not the case in the past). Furthermore, applicants can now officially request that Ministries or bodies review an application within 60 days following notification of the decision. Each Ministry or body may develop its own review process.

Any applicant who is not satisfied with a Ministry or body’s decision may avail itself of this process. Ministries or bodies who receive such requests must be diligent in their review. Note that the original decision may be maintained or reviewed, depending on the case. Moreover, an applicant could exercise the right to appeal before the common law courts in the event of disagreement with a reviewed decision.

In this respect, it is hoped that Ministries and bodies will implement a formal review request process monitored by an independent group, other than the group having made the original decision. Such a process would ensure neutrality in decision-making.

What it Means for Businesses

This legislation has been long-awaited by certain businesses that benefit from fiscal measures or incentives since, going forward, the application process will be governed by a legal framework. Also, in the future, case law and opinions submitted by Ministries and bodies will be more detailed and will help avoid legal proceedings due to the interpretation of certain definitions. Moreover, Michel Lefebvre, Attorney, CGA and taxation partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton believes that “decision-making bodies could benefit from studying an objection process such as the one used by the Agence du revenu du Québec”.

In closing, the changes made through this bill may seem abstract, but can have major repercussions on businesses that avail themselves of such funding sources. Our experts are available to help you determine the best tax strategies to maximize the application process, and are proficient in the ins and outs of various related measures, helping you reap the greatest advantage.

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07 Mar 2012

Americas Deals of the Year Awards : The CHUM Collectif Consortium Awarded the 2011 North American Project Bond Deal of the Year and the Prestigious 2011 Overall North American Deal of the Year Awards

 “Having been involved with the project since 2006, our entire team is very proud of this distinction.”
– Emilio Imbriglio, Partner and Chairman of the Board of Directors

MONTREAL, Québec, March 7, 2012 – Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is proud to highlight the international recognition received by the Université de Montréal Hospital Centre (CHUM) financing project in New York on March 1, 2012. Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton participated in this project as a financing, procurement and process consultant for Infrastructure Québec.

They key stakeholders in the CHUM financing project were awarded the 2011 North American Project Bond Deal of the Year Award and the 2011 Overall North American Deal of the Year Awards during the 13th Annual Americas Deals of the Year Ceremony organized by Project Finance Magazine, Euromoney Publications’ flagship international infrastructure finance title.

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is very proud to share the honours with representatives from other public partners behind this large-scale project including Infrastructure Québec and Clermont Gignac, Executive Director of the CHUM, the McGill University Health Centre and the Sainte-Justine Hospital Mother-Child University Hospital Centre projects.

“Having been involved with the project since 2006, our entire team is very proud of this distinction. This project is extremely complex due to its urban morphology and various phases. Consortiums must come up with financial solutions in a situation where construction and demolition sites are one and the same. The financial risks of a package like this have never been managed on such a large scale. We are very pleased that the CHUM has received this important recognition and proud of the important role Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton played in the project, which was the largest 2011 public-private partnership project in the world,” notes Emilio Imbriglio, Chairman of RCGT’s Board of Directors, Partner in Charge of its Corporate Finance Consulting Group and President of Grant Thornton Raymond Chabot Infrastructure Inc.

Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is pleased to be associated with this prestigious international distinction that recognizes the expertise of know-how of its experts in a promising sector and to have contributed to this project.

“We are proud to have supported the Quebec government in all steps of this prestigious project. Stakeholders from both the public and private sectors played a determining role in the success of the project’s financing. I congratulate them on this major contribution and thank them for trusting us at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. We are proud of this project’s results and the international outreach gained for Quebec,” adds Samuel Pickering, Partner and finance consulting specialist at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

About Emilio Imbriglio, CA, MBA, CFE, Partner
Emilio Imbriglio is Chairman of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Board of Directors and Partner in Charge of the Firm’s Corporate Finance Consulting Group. A creative individual, he has built an enviable reputation as both a skilled negotiator and consultant. He is a key government infrastructure and financing advisor. Moreover, he has taken part in large-scale merger and acquisition, securitization and financing transactions. Mr. Imbriglio is also President of Grant Thornton Raymond Chabot Infrastructure Inc., which has operations throughout Canada and is headquartered in Montréal. His leadership and ability to build consensus and gain a quick understanding of the major issues at hand make him an essential, credible, recognized player who is highly-respected and appreciated by business decision makers and departmental and government authorities alike.

About Samuel John Pickering, CIPFA (UK), Partner
A financial consulting specialist, particularly on large-scale projects such as the university hospital centers in Quebec, Sam Pickering joined the Firm in September 2007 and has been a Partner since January 2009. Before immigrating to Canada, he held several leadership positions in the field of finance within the National Healthcare Service, and, in his role of as financial consultant, was responsible for the procurement processes in the PPP sector. He has contributed to 35 PPP projects in the hospital sector, both in the United Kingdom and Canada. The majority of these projects are ongoing or at the development phase.

About Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
Founded in 1948, today Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton is a leader in the fields of assurance, taxation, consulting services, business recovery and reorganization. Its strength is based on a team of over 2,200 people including over 230 partners in more than 90 offices in Québec, eastern Ontario and New Brunswick. The scope of its network makes it the leader in its business segment. For the past 30 years, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton has been a member of Grant Thornton International Ltd providing its clients with the expertise of the member and correspondent firms in more than 100 countries. Grant Thornton Raymond Chabot Infrastructure Inc. has operations throughout Canada and is headquartered in Montréal.

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For more information:
Marie-Eve Carignan
Senior Communications Consultant
Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton
514 668-9187
carignan.marie-eve@rcgt.com

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06 Mar 2012

Recently, Emilio Imbriglio, Chairman of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Board of Directors and Manager of the Finance Consulting Group, participated in two conferences on the Plan Nord.

At the Canadian Institute on December 7, 2011, Mr. Imbriglio spoke about how the Plan Nord will create wealth for future generations, and explained who should get involved, how they can do so, and how Plan Nord projects could be funded. On April 4 and 5, 2012, Mr. Imbriglio will be speaking again at the Canadian Institute during a conference titled, “Le développement des projets d’infrastructure du Plan Nord.”

On January 30, 2012, Mr. Imbriglio also participated in a round-table forum, “Industry and Financing”, during a conference on the Plan Nord organized by HEC Montréal where participants discussed business opportunities and funding for northern Quebec development projects.

January 30, 2012, presentation (in French)