Essay Title: 

The Role of Investment Banking in the US Financial System

March 24, 2016 | Author: | Posted in finance, mathematics and economics

The Role of Investment Banking in US Financial System

Introduction to Investment Banks

The roots of investment banks are varied . Some are bankers or merchants who started guaranteeing other merchants ‘ bills , others are outgrown brokerages , but most are products of the Glass-Steagall Act Originally , the term investment bank ‘ comes from the United States of America , while some other variations include `merchant bank ‘ in the United Kingdom and `securities house ‘ in Japan . With the globalization of US investment banking , the term has become a generic concept theless , while in the USA merchant [banner_entry_middle]

bank has come to mean a bank which risks its own capital in bridge loans and position taking . Small limited-function investment banks are called `boutiques . They thrive on relationships and the quality of work rather than committing their own capital , and necessarily lose the income

From today ‘s perspective , the Glass-Steagall Act may appear a deplorable market imperfection . For the investment banks , it was a godsend for the reason that it protected their independence from the money-center banks for decades . Moreover , it also gave them the first-comer advantage internationally . They were free to underwrite equity and debt issues , trade them , arrange mergers and acquisitions provide bridge loans for buyouts (LBOs and MBOs , develop products , hone skills and gain strength domestically . By the time international capital markets opened , they were the best and , backed by a home market which still generates two-thirds of investment bank revenue worldwide went from victory to victory . Entrenched domestic banks , often much smaller but with all possible connections , could not outsmart the American banks which were selective and expensive , but got deals done

While the letter of the law separated commercial and investment banks the profound difference was and is cultural . A typical commercial bank thinks nationally , has an extensive branch network supported by largely captive customers , staffed by armies of low-paid clerks in a slow-moving bureaucracy . A world-class investment bank , by contrast , thinks globally , has branches only in major finance centers , seldom employs more than 10 ,000 people , has a steeply differentiated pay scale and mobile employees , may still a partnership rather than a corporation , and cherishes its flat and entrepreneurial organization . The bulk of business comes from the Fortune 500 or corresponding , and the activity is advising , organizing , underwriting , trading , broking and possibly fund management rather than borrowing and lending . Its greatest weakness used to be the limited capital base , even though this has changed with their acquisition by large commercial and universal banks

The entry of commercial and universal banks into the field by opening subsidiaries or acquiring investment banks has led to a difficult learning and acculturalization process . Many have failed with the leaving of disgruntled bankers who only too often take the choicest customers with them . Great flexibility and tact are needed in integrating operations . When the merging and co-existence of two cultures succeeds , the synergy effects can be considerable . Investment bankers get protection from volatile markets , they can use the placing power of the commercial banking arm , benefit… [banner_entry_footer]

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