The New Capital Accord (henceforth, Basel II), is expected to impose\ud dramatic changes on banks and other providers of corporate financing, as\ud well as companies. Literature indicates that small and medium sized\ud enterprises (henceforth SMEs), in general, and in particular German SMEs\ud seem to be affected: Germany has the highest SME density with SMEs\ud comprising 99.6% of all corporations (IMF, 2008), these SMEs are highly\ud dependent on banks for financing (see Jacobson et al, 2006). However, there\ud is huge controversy in the literature concerning how these changes will look,\ud right before Basel II came into effect in the years 2007 / 2008 in the\ud European Union. In order to explore this effect from a Post-Basel II\ud perspective, the objective of this research project is to establish what effect\ud Basel II will have on corporate financing of SMEs in Germany.\ud The high impact on SMEs (in Germany), combined with controversial\ud evidence from extant Pre-Basel II research, indicates a high relevance to\ud academics and practitioners for this thesis. This thesis is probably the first\ud from a Post-Basel II perspective which covers both the SMEs' as well as\ud the financiers' perspective.\ud Based on a structured literature review using the comparative method\ud (Peters, 1998) 'Most Different Systems' evidence is provided that there is no\ud consistent picture regarding the effect of Basel II. Therefore, further research\ud is needed to determine whether the effect in Germany is consistent, from a\ud Post-Basel II perspective, with regards to the conditions which trigger certain\ud mechanisms, from a 'scientific realism' (Smith, 1998) perspective, because\ud the literature indicates that 'positivist generalising' has limited validity.\ud Building on Creswell (2003), an 'exploratory sequential' design was created\ud to test three initial hypotheses (as confirmation or refutation of a theory, see Gujarati, 2003:8): a multi-method design is best suited to the author's\ud philosophical stance of 'scientific realism' by means of triangulation (Robson,\ud 2002:174). The result of the initial quantitative phase is based on the analysis\ud of questionnaire data from 125 SMEs and financiers (banks, private equity\ud companies, family offices, providers of alternative means of financing) derived\ud from a probabilistic sample frame in the fourth quarter of 2008. Mathematical\ud models for SMEs and financiers regarding the three initial hypotheses\ud were set-up and tested using the appropriate statistical tests. In order to limit\ud bias by means of a spill-over effect from the financial crises, control\ud questions were used. The subsequent qualitative phase by means of semistructured\ud elite interviews (Saunders et al, 2007:312) between March and\ud May 2009 enabled a valid triangulation and provided in-depth insights into\ud how SMEs can cope best with Basel II. The purposive sample, of 17 'important\ud cases', included company owners and top-level financier executives.\ud In a conclusive quantitative and qualitative synopsis, the three initial\ud hypotheses were acknowledged. However, the qualitative in-depth analysis\ud by means of 'causal networks' (Miles and Huberman, 1994) led to an\ud amendment of the hypotheses as follows:\ud 1. Corporate finance has become different for SMEs because the 'house\ud bank principle' has changed to a 'core bank principle' due to Basel II.\ud Shopping around regarding credits will be more difficult which makes\ud financing more difficult. This could be overcompensated by major SMEs,\ud by using non-credit corporate financing which leads to a reduction of the\ud 'house bank' principle.\ud 2. SMEs can cope best with the effect when they:\ud a) proactively engage in rating and improve the parameters, or\ud b) they adjust their strategy as stated in hypothesis 3.\ud 3. Financiers (especially non-bank financiers) will engage in SME corporate\ud finance when they have a sound financial basis / management and when\ud they adjust their strategy in terms of growth with the aim of niche market\ud leadership and when they open up for exit strategies
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