Citi India today announced a three-year programme with the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business (ISB) to study, develop and recommend measures that will promote financial inclusion and improve capital markets access for small investors and enterprises.
Citi Foundation is committed to provide a $1.5 million grant to the Centre for Analytical Finance (CAF) at the ISB, over a period of 3 years. Under the aegis of this grant, CAF will undertake projects on a range of subjects in the financial domain. The objective of this program is to support changes that will have a positive impact on emerging financial markets and participants, including small investors, SMEs and micro entrepreneurs. CAF will formulate recommendations to support regulators, practitioners, academics, and other opinion leaders to implement financial development in the country.
Announcing Citi's support for this partnership, Sanjay Nayar, CEO, Citi India, said, "While India is witnessing unprecedented levels of economic growth, two-thirds of our population is presently unconnected to the formal banking and financial system. Government, private organisations, NGOs and individuals have undertaken several initiatives recently to extend financial inclusion and to improve capital markets access for small investors and enterprises. There exists a definite need to understand the impact these initiatives are making and to identify key issues for stimulating dialogue amidst all relevant stakeholders to induce the next level of reforms to facilitate all-inclusive growth."
"With this research program, our longstanding relationship with ISB will be further strengthened. CAF is uniquely positioned to undertake this project as it has prior experience of doing quality work in this and other related areas," Mr. Nayar added.
Speaking on the need for detailed study in this area, M Rammohan Rao, Dean, ISB, said, "In spite of the Indian economy growing at a rate of 8%, the growth in rural areas is still low. We believe that there is a critical need to ramp up financial growth in rural areas to make the economic growth more robust and inclusive. We are happy to be associated with Citi for this programme which will allow ISB to contribute towards implementing inclusive financial developments in the country."
Using the grant support, CAF will organize several major projects, international conferences, workshops/lectures, and extensive dissemination of the project findings over the next three years.
"Our focus at the CAF is to research capital markets in emerging economies, especially India. We expect our project findings to provide help and support in creating a sound financial infrastructure for those markets, and facilitate reforms to increase their global competitiveness," explained Professor Sankar De, Executive Director, Centre for Analytical Finance (CAF) at the ISB.
CAF is the first research centre of its kind in India devoted exclusively to scholarly research in finance, and the second such centre in Asia. The CAF is supported by leading academicians, top executives from national and international financial institutions and acknowledged regulators and policy makers. Over the past few years, CAF has organised several high profile international conferences/workshops/lectures by leading academicians and industry leaders. It has associated with top B-Schools for collaborative research and is working on several strategic research projects.
In 2001, the Citi Foundation gave a grant of US$1 million to the Friends of the Indian School of Business Foundation to start an Endowment Fund. The Fund's earnings have been used by the ISB for scholarships to deserving students pursuing its one-year Post-Graduate Programme. This programme, known as the Citi Scholars Programme, has benefited 30 students to date.
The Indian School of Business is a premier management institution established in 2001. In a short span of seven years, the ISB has successfully pioneered several new trends in management education in India and has established itself as a leading B-school across the world. In both its Post Graduate Programme in Management and Executive Education Programmes, the ISB invites high caliber international faculty from reputed B-schools to teach and participate in collaborative research with the strong pool of research oriented, resident faculty at the ISB. The ISB has academic associations with the Kellogg School of Management, The Wharton School, and the London Business School and was recently ranked 20 among top 100 B-schools by Financial Times, London
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi's major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Nikko. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.
The Citi Foundation is committed to enhancing economic opportunities for underserved individuals and families in the communities where we work throughout the world. Globally, the Citi Foundation is focusing its giving on Microfinance and Microentrepreneurship, which helps individuals become economically self-sufficient; Small and Growing Businesses, leading to economic expansion and job creation; Education, which prepares young people for personal and professional success; Financial Education, which helps individuals make informed financial decisions; and the Environment with a focus on sustainable enterprises that generate jobs and stimulate economic growth while preserving the environment. Additional information can be found at www.citigroupfoundation.org.