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Thought leadership

Advancing thinking and debate


Society benefits when markets are efficient and when they deliver desired public policy outcomes. This thought leadership initiative focuses on the foundations of markets; can they can be improved to enhance market effectiveness and efficiency?

Latest reports

Future enterprise: assessing forms of business

We consider the constraints imposed by current forms of business. Do we need more flexible business forms to support future growth, perhaps modelled on the human networks we form in private life?

Evolution of British Business forms: a historical perspective

Business organisational structures have evolved in a somewhat haphazard fashion to meet the needs and character of society over the ages. While forms of business have changed, many of the underlying concerns for government and for enterprise endure.


ICAEW believes that integrity is fundamental to ethical behaviour. Ethical behaviour is not just a matter of concern and media debate but of crucial importance to individuals, organisations and markets.

Public interest

"The public interest" is used by many to justify a wide range of actions and proposals. However, it is often unclear (even to those using the term) what they mean by this, and there can be a natural suspicion that the phrase may be used as a smokescreen to garner support for something that is actually in the advocate's own interests. 

The Market Foundations initiative

Foundations of how markets work have often built up in an ad hoc fashion.

These foundations include:

  • participants (whether as principals, agents or advisers) that can trust and be trusted;
  • accepted, predictable and transparent standards of behaviour; and
  • effective and efficient mechanisms to intervene in the markets where needed to correct the behaviour.

We consider whether market foundations can be improved to enhance effectiveness and efficiency.

Ethics internationally

We look into distinguishing the difference between the two ethical concepts of independence and objectivity.

What we've done

Previous work programmes have included:

If you would like to comment on the topics covered by the Market Foundations programme, contribute to the ongoing work it refers to, or follow progress and receive copies of subsequent reports, contact us at marketfoundations@icaew.com.