SC State University Professor Educates Attendees on Bankruptcy Reforms

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dr. Enoch K. Beraho, professor of management at SC State University, usually teaches juniors and seniors about various aspects of business management; however, this summer he shared his distinct knowledge with thousands of others.

In July 2011, he was selected to present at the International Academy of Business and Public Administration Disciplines (IABPAD) Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.  During this annual conference, designed to promote excellence in public administration and business disciplines including accounting, economics, education, finance and marketing, Beraho enlightened attendees with his paper entitled: “A Comparative Review of Bankruptcy Reforms in USA, UK, China and Malaysia.”

“My interest was to share with them the purpose of U.S. and UK’s bankruptcy reforms and compare them with those of China and Malaysia.  Although the strategic approaches to bankruptcy management vary, the strategic purposes are similar if not the same,” shared Beraho. 

Having traveled to Hawaii on numerous occasions prior, Beraho was accustomed to the unique culture on the center island.  His prior conference experience proved to be quite different, however.  Just one month prior, Beraho’s educational and cultural journey took him to Beijing, China, a country he never visited.  It was here he presented at the Global Business and Social Science Research Conference and presented on the topic, “Strategic Focus of Bankruptcy Reform: The Cases of USA, China and Malaysia.”

“China is the No.2 economy in the world (having overtaken Japan).  I explored some of the reasons why this has been so,” stated Beraho.  “One is that major Western countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, etc., have massive outsourcing operations in China, thus depleting their own domestic industry bases.  Then, the Chinese reformed bankruptcy laws to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), whereas USA reformed its laws to favor big businesses and deprive low income people of the original purpose of bankruptcy which is ‘to give businesses and individuals under financial stress a fresh start’ and let them start over by getting rid of debt they cannot pay,” he informed.

Beraho further elaborated on the difference between the three countries’ reform laws, designed to improve their economics by reducing fraud and streamlining current laws. “In the U.S., new laws are based on the bankrupt’s ability to pay by using a complicated ‘Means Test,’ which has been described as draconian by many bankruptcy lawyers.  There is no minimum debt threshold,” he says. “In Malaysia, it is the degree of indebtedness that determines a bankrupt’s qualification.  One cannot file for bankruptcy unless one’s debt exceeds RM 90,000 (Malaysian Ringgits), which is approximately $9,900,” he added.  “In China, all that is required is that a bankrupt’s liability exceeds assets and has failed to pay.  Also in China, only enterprises (public or private) are allowed to file for bankruptcy.  In the U.S., enterprises and individuals are allowed to file.”

The experiences and information gained from these conferences allows Beraho to share with his own students. “They are able to hear from someone who has traveled and learned how things are done differently in other countries,” he says.  “I tell students that the U.S. needs to balance domestic operations and the quest for foreign investments to improve the bottom line,” a tidbit of information he stresses.

Beraho continues to study U.S. Bankruptcy Reform Laws while developing presentations to inform others.  “My data forms the basis for comparison with other reforms across the globe.  My topics are tailored to the message I wish to put across at the conferences.” 

A member of SC State University’s faculty for more than 29 years, Beraho is an avid researcher and educator.  During last year’s Global Business, Economics and Finance Research Conference in London, England, he received the Best Paper/Best Presenter Award for his presentation on bankruptcy reforms. 

Beraho is a member of the Western Academy of Management, Southeast Decision Science Institute and the Literati Club of Publishers in London, England.