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Research & Decision-Making for Business

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The Learning Business Research
Report
BX2174: Research & Decision-Making for Business

KARAN LAKHANPAL
Student Number: 12908897
QIN YANG
Student Number: 12653971
Lecturer: Dr Andre Kuah

Contents
1.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................ 2

2.

BACKGROUND TO THE BUSINESS DECISION OR PROBLEM .............................................. 3

3.

THE SPECIFIC RESEARCH OBJECTIVES TO BE ADDRESSED .............................................. 5

4.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE METHODS ...................................................................... 6

5.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ....................................................................................... 8

6.

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE BUSINESS DECISION OR PROBLEM ........................................... 10

7.

ETHICAL ISSUES .................................................................................................... 11

8.

REFERENCES......................................................................................................... 13

9.

APPENDIX ............................................................................................................ 14

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10.

1

CHECKLIST OF ASSESSMENT CRITERIA .................................................................. 18

The Learning Business Research Report
1. Executive Summary

This report discusses the rationale behind strategic decision taken by Royal bank of Scotland
(RBS) in moving its headquarters from Glasglow to Leeds, Yorkshire. The benefits of financial clustering in the UK have been analyzed and assessed on the basis of theoretical evidences collected from literature review and qualitative data collected. There is an emphasis on financial information which covers benefits and costs of clustering.

Both Quantitative and Qualitative are used to measure the variables. Most of the data is collected from the secondary data and through data provided by our lecturer in excel sheet on learnjcu.
Also, surveys and interviews are done to measure out the variables. Qualitative data is collected by doing the observations from literature reviews and journals

We’ve shown that RBS should make a strategic move to relocate the headquarters to Leeds,
Yorkshire. This could be done by introducing different investments schemes and products to the business, work force should be continuously trained in latest skills so that they don’t lack anywhere in attracting customers since RBS is a service firm and service industry has cut throat competition. The Learning Business Research Report | Campus:

retain existing customers and attract new customers. In light of macro and micro environment of

2

2. Background to the Business Decision or Problem

This section reaffirms the logic that Royal Bank of Scotland follows in moving its headquarters to Leeds, Yorkshire and provides response to the two key research questions as follows:
1) What are the benefits of financial clustering in Leeds for Royal Bank of Scotland?
2) What could be the possible cost implications of moving headquarters to Leeds,
Yorkshire?
Here, we’ve presented what is already known about issue in the form of academic literature review in articles such as:


The effect of clusters on the survival and performance of firms by Karl Wenneberg
(2010)



Benefits of industrial clustering: Insights from the British financial services industry at three locations. By Pandit, N. R., & Cook, G. (2003)



Financial agglomerations in the UK: Geographical cluster Size and Firm Performance by
Kuah, A. (2013)



Why and where do headquarters move? By Kahn, Vanessa., & Vives, Xavier. (2005)

The main benefit of being part of cluster is enjoying shared resources, huge pool of skilled
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employees, closeness to ancillary units, knowledge spill overs and already available most

3

preferred customer segment. The UK’s financial sector along with service sector generated over
£13 billion (21 billion USD) in 2010. As per forecasts by financial services authority (a regulatory body in the UK), the financial sector is projected to grow by 51% by 2022 which clearly means a stable - secure investment environment to more confident consumer base. Leeds generating 5% of UK’s gross value added (GVA) with a year on year increase of 8%.
Leeds is the UK's largest city region outside London that offer excellent, secure growth opportunities across a wide range of industries, especially financial sector. According to Leeds
City Region Enterprise Partnership business portal, Leeds has more than 30 national and international banks including Bank of England’s only note-issuing center outside London. Not

only this, Leeds is a home to several stockbroking firms including TD Waterhouse, Fortis Bank,
The Pensions Trust, Brewin Dolphi etc.
Leeds has a big pool of 250,000 skilled employees in financial sector, which means Royal Bank of Scotland could enjoy the benefit of having best talent at competitive costs. Furthermore, closeness to appropriate market segment would help increasing the company's revenue, profitability and overall performance by sharing services such as technical, professional and skilled non-professional services. Leeds has a highly integrated and affordable transport options, that offers firms based anywhere in the City Region to be tapped by large, skilled and flexible workforce to meet their changing business needs. (Kahn, Vanessa., & Vives, Xavier, 2005)
The Royal Bank of Scotland may also be benefited from reduced consumer search costs. The bank is will be in the heart of financial states and likely to be found by customers when it is located in a cluster. The possible negative implication could be of higher cost of skilled and experienced employees, poaching of employees and information leak in the form of labor pooling. The addition of more firms intensifies local competition, which drives up the prices of labor, land, services and other limited resources.
According to Karl Wenneberg (2010) in his published paper, “The effect of clusters on the survival and performance of firms”, the firm should consider moving headquarters only if

of benefits of moving headquarters to Leeds against a handful of high cost factors that still makes
Leeds a better option than Glasgow.

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economic benefits outweigh the cost of movement. As assessed from our study, there are plenty

4

3. The Specific Research Objectives to be addressed

In this section we narrow down our focus from above stated two research questions to two specific research objectives, such as Cost and Benefit Analysis of financial clustering in Leeds,
UK.
The reasoning behind doing “Cost and Benefit Analysis (CBA)” is the basis principle of accounting and financial management for a business to survive in the long run. No organization can survive without having a strong positive “Profit and Loss Statement” and positive balance sheet. The stakeholders are most interested in revenue statement and how their investment into an organization is helping them increasing their earnings per share and thereby, net worth.
Return on capital employed is considered the best measure of the company's performance. Thus, it is of ultimate importance for Royal Bank of Scotland to conduct a feasibility study to validate whether or not to move its headquarters from Glasgow to Leeds, Yorkshire.
In order to identify the factors of financial services cluster in London, we’ve investigated on intellectual capital in London. Intellectual capital is one of the important factors that affects companies in the era of globalization (Thomas Stewart, 2001). Intellectual capital provides a conceptual platform from which to view, analyze, and hopefully quantify the nontangible (but nonetheless extremely valuable) assets of a corporation. Every company depends increasingly on
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knowledge- patents, processes, management skills, technologies, information about customers,

5

suppliers and human resource.
Due to benefit from the cluster, some companies enter the market often due to the result of knowledge spillovers in the supply side of the cluster. Therefore, the measure of corporate investment is in recruiting skilled workers with specialized expertise (Pandit and Cook, 2003).
Cluster enterprises and skilled labor will increase the company's productivity and growth.
Moreover, having skilled labor means reducing costs of training and avoiding cost centric and time-consuming operations.

4. Critical Analysis of the Method s

This section provides an evaluation of the aspects of each research method used in data analysis.
This evaluation is conducted in 3 parts as set out below. We’ve briefly described what was previously done by other researchers, and then discussed the benefits and problems with our methods. Both Quantitative and Qualitative are used to measure the variables. Most of the data is collected from the secondary data and through data provided by our lecturer in excel sheet on learnjcu. Also, surveys and interviews are done to measure out the variables. Qualitative data is collected by doing the observations from literature reviews and journals.
4.1

Research Design and Data Analysis Techniques Used

To investigate the responses of above mentioned questions (stated in previous section) we had analyzed data using both quantitative and qualitative information by using a deductive approach.
Quantitative information rely on studies and surveys already done, as shown in the form of excel sheet provided on learnjcu on UK Financial Services (secondary data) and Qualitative means by inquiring, interviewing bankers, people from financial indusrty. The main point to be considered while following this form of research is reliability and validity on the data provided by

Deductive research is used in discussing clustering and it’s effects on three attributes viz, causes, costs and benefits.Existing theories, proofs and evidences are used to fund out why or why not clustering is good for financial sector in UK. Descriptive approach is followed as used secondary data from various journals and literature review. The quantitative data provided by our lecturer is used as a sample and assisted to extrapolate the outcomes that clustering is a good option for Dr.
Kuah, CEO of The Royal Bank of Scotland to consider relocation of headquarters from Glasgow to Leeds.
4.2

Sampling Process

A sample is representative subset of the population that a researcher is interested in. The sampling method used for the given research question is cluster sampling. Cluster sampling is a probability sampling technique, used for both quantitative and qualitative research. It divides the

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interviewees.

6

population of interest into clusters, in the given case it is based on geographical location,
Glasgow and Leeds. In the given spread sheet on LearnJcu, the service firms are clustered into different geographical area and the researchers had selected the cluster of LON, YORKH and
NWEST to measure its financial performance by using Return on Capital Employed (ROCE).
Sampling size, for the given research the target population is financial sector in UK, accessible population is all financial firms in the UK, approximately 20,000 but we’re interested only in firms present in Glasgow and Leeds. NWEST has 491 banks, which includes banks at Glasgow and 354 in YORKH, including Leeds. LON has 3994 banks. Therefore these banks are on our sample data.
4.3

The Final Sample

Face to face interviews with managers from different banks and data analysis from the spread sheet on UK Financial Services (on learnjcu) were major source of primary and secondary data respectively. We interviewed four managers from different banks and below listed questions were designed on clustering, and these managers were interviewed assuming the best personnel available in the cluster to answer these questions. Each individual was chosen randomly and entirely by chance, such that each individual has the same probability of being chosen at any stage during the sampling process and responses gathered are their personal opinions but extrapolated using the literature reviews and already existing journals.

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The 6 questions were as follows:

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1) Whether having a financial industry cluster will be beneficial to RBS in leads
2) Why is it beneficial to be geographically located in a cluster in a global city versus non-global city (Leeds)?
3) How difficult would it be for RBS to enter into an existing banking cluster in global city versus non-global city (Leeds)?
4) What are the causes of clustering?
5) What are the cost components for RBS to move from Glasgow to Leeds
6) How does clustering affect financial performance of a bank?

5. Results and Discussion

In this section of report, we’ve discussed what the results of our analysis are and what they mean. You should use tables and diagrams to present the results. There is no limitation on page length to this section since it will contain the results in the form of tables and charts from your analysis. The raw data collected by you (i.e. interview transcripts) must be attached as
Appendices) to support this section.
Coming to the quantitative data, YORK has an ROCE of 30.62 while NWEST’s ROCE is 6.93.
Higher ROCE of YORK is considered as a good location to invest; therefore firms will be profitable in Leeds. YORKH has a lower profit margin ratio than NWEST, but it is still more beneficial for the firm to relocate to Leeds in YORK. YORK has a larger employment size than
NWEST, resulting in positive outcomes. The interviews show that a larger cluster (employment) size will lead to better financial performance.

Costs of clustering Royal Bank of
Scotland should go ahead to moving headquarters to
Leeds

FIGURE 1:B ASIC COMPONENTS C OVERED I N REPORT AND R ESULT D RAWN

Advantages of clustering in Leeds are financial growth, development and higher returns for the business, labor pooling, knowledge spillovers, and these reasons are strong reasons to attract a more diversified group of clients. Clustering in a global city region will have lower transportation costs, client searching costs and taxes will be reduced, RBS can take good

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Benefits of clustering 8

advantage of other firms located in cluster for example Joint Venture or better SWOT analysis.
Staying close to market as one of the strategies of clustering makes it easier for firm to examine the customer’s change in taste and preference and also expectations. Firms in a cluster will experience rigid competition and congestion is bound to happen. Competition can be treated as an advantage as it contributes to improve business performance and firms tries to evolve. A highly competitive market benefits the consumers, as they have a wider range to select from.
Hence, Royal Bank of Scotland should consider moving headquarters to Leeds, Yorkshire owing to enormous benefits that could be possibly enjoyed because of clustering of financial industry in

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Leeds, Yorkshire

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6. Implications for the Business Decision or Problem

In this section, summary of conclusion and implications for the Royal Bank of Scotland is provided. Broadly speaking, this research analyzes the costs and benefits of clustering and relocating of headquarters of Royal Bank of Scotland in financial sector. This relocation is from a non-global city to a global city with higher technology, government business policies/plans and skilled manpower will be beneficial for RBS.


Suggestions

Therefore the researchers would suggest Dr. Kuah, CEO of RBS to relocate from Glasgow to
Leeds, it is worth the risk.


Recommendation

RBS should make a strategic marketing plan to succeed in a strong cluster and overcome competition in long run. Introducing different investments schemes and products to retain existing customers and attract new customers. In light of macro and micro environment of the business, work force should be continuously trained in latest skills so that they don’t lack anywhere in attracting customers since RBS is a service firm and service industry has cut throat competition. Limitation

The scope of this report was limited to quantitative data only from NWEST (Glasgow) and
YORK (Leeds) and only limited qualitative data could have been gathered due to tight time frame and limited resources and budget.


Data Analysis

Data analysis is done for NWEST (492 firms) and YORK (360 firms). The data collected from these sectors includes ROCE, employment size, profit margin ratio, and employment sector.
Comparing these figures has helped us as researchers analyzing the situation better.

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7. Ethical Issues

In this section, we’ve identified and discussed the ethical issues associated with our research design and sampling procedure that we have chosen for our proposed research. We’ve also suggested options for dealing with these issues.

Ethics are norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about our behavior and our relationships with others. The goal is to ensure that no one is harmed or suffers adverse consequences from research activities
The possible ethical issues associate with our research design could be:


Making it known that behavior is being observed/recorded/tracked?



Making sure research report is not public without prior consent of sponsor and interviewees on Social media, internet.



Confidentiality/privacy can be breached



Refrain from asking intrusive/offensive/damaging questions



Deception may occur when the participants are told only part of the truth or when the truth is fully compromised

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An important ethical consideration for a researcher is the quality of the research. By this we

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mean:

Providing an appropriate research design for research questions



Quality is the research likely to result in a valid, reliable, useful outcome



Providing appropriate data handling and reporting techniques for the data collected.

We followed below given points to deal with ethical issues in our researcher report


Brief description of the survey topic.



Educate sponsor to the purpose of research



Explain researcher’s role



Explain how distortion of the truth leads to future problems

Promise anonymity and confidentiality (when appropriate).



Tell the interviewee that participation is voluntary.



Tell the participant that item-nonresponse is acceptable.



Take informed consent

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8. References

1. Pandit Naresh R; Cook, Gary (2003) Journal of Financial Services Marketing, Volume
7, Number 3, 1 March 2003, pp. 230-245(16) ISSN 1363-0539,
2. Kuah, A. (2013). Financial agglomerations in the UK: Geographical cluster Size and
Firm Performance. Journal of Competitiveness & Strategy
3. Porter ME. 1998. Clusters and the New Economics of Competition. Harvard Business
Review 76(6): 77–90.
4. JM Shaver, F Flyer - Firm Heterogeneity (2000), Economies, Firm Heterogeneity and
Foreign Direct Investment, Strategic Management Journal, 2000, pg. 21-27
5. Kahn, V., & Vives, X. (2005). Why and where do headquarters move?. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research
6. Pandit, N., Cook, G., Parvez, N., & Beaver, S. An empirical study of service sector clustering and multinational enterprises, 23 Retrieved July 27, 2014, from wwwpublic.jcu.edu.au
7. Roger Bougie, Uma Sekaran (2013). Research Methods for Business: A Skill-Building
Approach, 6th Edition. ISBN: 978-1-119-94225-2
8. Home, Leeds City Region LEP business support and investment. Retrieved Online on
August 20, 2014, from business.leedscityregion.gov.uk/invest/sectors/financial/

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9. BA-Sociology (I to VI Sem) 80 20, Retrieved Online on August 20, 2014, from

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sociology.about.com › ... › Research and Methodology
10. Reliability & Validity in Qualitative Research Quick Revision. (2014, January 1). .
Retrieved June, 27 2014, from http://www.jcu.edu.au

9. Appendix
Responses by Interviewee No.1 (Chosen to be anonymous)
1) Whether having a financial industry cluster will be beneficial to RBS in leads?
Having a financial industry cluster, will be beneficial to RBS in leads, can be growth opportunity. Clustering is among the most significant factors of growth, financial intermediation is another clustered industry that benefit from the location amongst peers.
2) What are the causes of clustering?
The causes of clustering are, easy access to the concentration of labor, customers and professional and government institutions are among the things that firms decide on the location for clustering.
3) What are the cost components for RBS to move from Glagow to Leeds?
* The addition of more firms intensifies local competition, which drives up the prices of labor, land, services and other limited resources. Co-located firms can enjoy information and knowledge spillovers. Informal exchange of information between employees of competing firms can said be the most significant advantage of clustering.

* Clusters contribute to region and industry growth by facilitating operational efficiency and raising the returns to businesses. Geographical concentration can lead to increase in performance of a firm, due to the access to specialized labor, suppliers and manufacturers, as well as reduce transportation cost.
5) How does clustering affect financial performance of a bank?
Clustering can affect the financial performance of a firm, by increase the performance of the firm through specialized labor, reduced transaction costs and lower client searching cost, so as costs fall and sales increase, so does the profit of the firms.

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4) What are the benefits of geographical clustering?

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Responses by Interviewee No.2 (Yash,CEO, HSBC)


Whether having a financial industry cluster will be beneficial to RBS in Leeds?

Yes, personally i feel RBS would be benefitted in a financial cluster at Leeds. Clustering will further help the bank acquire new knowledge skills and grow in the long run.


What are the causes of clustering? No answer



What are the cost components for RBS to move from Glasgow to Leeds?

I don’t really want to go in too much detail for this question. But in general the costs of clustering/ moving headquarters would be: unfamiliarity with language in foreign land, no access to local assets, chances of information spill over to competitors, stiff competition.


What are the benefits of geographical clustering?

Firms are greatly benefited from the area’s airport facilities, lower tax rates and wage rates, therefore they chose to geographically cluster in a particular location. Clustering is really beneficial to growing firms since they can draw a more diverse labor, more supporting industries, and bring about better infrastructure bought about by diversity of industries in a metropolitan area. 

How does clustering affect financial performance of the bank?

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Clustering has positive effects on the financial performance; this is particularly true for the

15

smaller and growing firms. The competition and higher pool of labor with a good infrastructure help them grow and attract more customers.
This might not be the case for the already renowned banks since they might end up losing their clients to other banks and high chances of knowledge spillovers are possible.


How does employment size affect firms financial performance?

Employment size is particularly important for financial services as its output is based upon specialized labor, knowledge and new knowledge acquisition transferred through the workforce.
The number of employees in a firm should not be more than or less than the desired number.
Responses by Interviewee No3 (Kaustubh:CFO, Coutts Bank of Queen)

Whether having a financial industry cluster will be beneficial to RBS in Leeds?
This answer is really debatable. I feel it would not be a great choice, since RBS might end up losing its clients to other firms located in the cluster.
What are the causes of clustering?
What are the cost components for RBS to move from Glasgow to Leeds?
The biggest cost is that clustering only benefits younger firms with new human capital, suppliers and distributers. As firms grow, they don’t prefer staying in a cluster since it leads to congestion and they might end up losing their customers to other firms.
What are the benefits of geographical clustering?
Geographical clustering can be very useful for new firms trying to get into the market, it has more to acknowledge from skilled labor to infrastructure and also low wage rates.I feel having neighboring firms which have inter linked demands tend to increase a firm’s survival in a cluster and generate higher returns.
How does clustering affect financial performance of the bank?
Clustering can highly increase the performance of the firm through specialized labor, reduced transaction costs and lower client searching cost, so as costs fall and sales increase, so does the

Responses by Interviewee No.4 (Upasana, Bank of London)
How does employment size affect firm’s financial performance?
With increase in employment size, the firm’s probability of facilitating a pool of specialized skill set increases and technology become more efficient. Firm’s ability to train employees, their product and processes will proportionally aid the size of employment.
What are the cost components of Royal Bank of Scotland to move from Glaslow to Leeds
Talking about the costs, increase in the number of firms is one issue which can cause congestion cost in increased traffic and transportation cost. Also as more and more firms add up in a cluster,

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profit of the firms.

16

the local competition in the local competition in input market of Leeds will drive up the price of labor, land, service, and other limited resources
How does clustering affects financial performance of the firm?
From what I recall, Poter (in the year 1990) believed that there are benefits of having competitive supporting and related sectors in a cluster. Related sectors in a cluster allow the firm to draw pecuniary benefits to better its financial performance, while the competing sector promotes its

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growth prospects

17

10.Checklist of Assessment Criteria
Students should use the following to check their report before submission. Do not, however, alter this page as it will be used to mark the report.
1. Basic requirements necessary for a Pass
□ The report uses the template provided and includes all relevant sections
□ The report is properly referenced and no problems are identified through safe assignment
□ The report is free of spelling and grammatical errors (it has been carefully proof read)

2. General Assessment Criteria

General Assessment Criteria
Criteria

N

P

C

D

HD

Quality of writing (good quality writing uses clear sentences, organized into coherent paragraphs that follow a logical order)
Executive Summary (a good executive summary provides a clear summary of the most important information in the report that is easily accessible)

and logical and focused on the problem/decision)
Identification of research problems and development of research objectives and questions (good research objectives will be logically connected to the problem/decision and the choice explained in detail)
Review of relevant literature

(a good review will be

thorough, will identify and use relevant existing information, provide an accurate summary of key information, demonstrate awareness of major limitations and gaps in the available evidence and provide clear links between the summarized

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Background to business case (a good background will be clear

18

information and the research questions)
Results – choice and scope (a good section will have chosen and reported on results that are appropriate to the research objectives and provide coverage of sufficient results to meet these objectives)
Results – presentation (a good section here will provide appropriate presentations of the results that allow the reader to easily understand them)
Discussion of results (a good discussion will provide accurate interpretations of the results and clearly describe what they mean) Implications (a good section here will provide an accurate summary of the research results, make logical connections to the original decision or problem and provide detailed recommendations that are based on the evidence presented)
Further required research (a good section here will identify key gaps in the research evidence and suggest additional

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research questions to be addressed that would direct research

19

to assist the decision maker further)

Overall Mark out of 100 _________
30%____________________

Overall

percentage

out

of…...

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