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The money makers

THE editorial team at Business News embarked on a survey of the WA corporate finance market with some trepidation.

It was not the scale of the market that had us worried, though it did turn out to be broader than we expected.

No. It was the complicated nature of the business, with so many interwoven relationships that many in this business don’t see their peers as being in the same market at all, let alone as competition.

The survey unearthed some interesting names and facts, and I invite you to visit our website for a better description and highlights of each of the players we listed in our table.

The positive thing about this list is the length of it.

The investment banking and corporate advisory scene in WA is a vigorous market with a number of smaller players ensuring it is not too easy for the big multi-nationals to muscle in.

In fact, many of the global players have tried and failed.

This sort of expertise is critical on a local scale.

These few dozen people oil the wheels of commerce, recognising deals and making sure that the money flows where it is needed.

The money WA players make in fees and commission largely stays here, helping to generate new business. Even better when the deals are completely offshore or interstate and we are still getting a cut of it!

The important thing is that the deals keep coming. That means that inventors must be able to get venture capital and growing businesses must be able to move to the next level.

On the industrial side of the spectrum, issues like stamp duty, income tax on highly skilled people and industrial relations laws have an impact on the ability of businesses to grow to a level where they can call in big capital.

Miners, too, have been hampered by legal constraints on top of a weak market.

This is where governments can help. Not picking winners, but making sure we have a good economy where those with ideas can grow them to the point where the investors come in.

Debaters in training

THE proposed southern rail line continues to spark debate, and not just in train spotting circles. Latest among the offerings is the concept of burrowing underground rather than doing the open-pit style of tunnelling.

All this talk is probably good in a mining capital where so many rely on the expertise of our diggers.

However, it is good to see one of the arguments is about cost. Not in a prohibitive way but in a way that provides that the money side is put in perspective.

It has been interesting to see the conjecture over the alternatives. Mainly about which ones will provide the best result for the future of the city.

I don’t recall anyone being as interested in the Court Government proposal, a line from Mandurah via Kenwick.

If the level of fighting over the possible options is anything to go by, the Gallop Government may have made a good decision in going for the freeway option.

Of course, there are those who believe the recently completed busway is good enough and a rail line is totally unnecessary. They have a point.

A significant amount of money has been sunk into those special bus lanes and bridges.

Some of that will serve as infrastructure for a commuter rail service, but has the full cost of the busway been factored into all the calculations?

The public should be reminded of those facts.

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