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8 - Were Bankers Acting as Market Makers?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2010

Aldo Musacchio
Affiliation:
Harvard Business School
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Summary

The evidence presented thus far of relatively developed equity and debt markets in Brazil at the turn of the twentieth century, with a bonanza between 1890 and 1920 when the stock exchange's capitalization fluctuated between 40% (1895) and 20% (1920) of GDP and the stock of private bond issues amounted to 15% of GDP, has indicated that financial market development was sustained by institutional settings that afforded ample investor protections. In this context we would not expect to find intermediaries such as universal or commercial banks playing the role of market makers. That is, we would not expect bankers to have played an important role in brokering information, relations, and long-term credit. Does history meet this expectation?

In more developed economies during this period, commercial and investment banks did play the role of market makers, “replacing” shareholder and creditor protections and providing “housekeeping seals of approval” for corporations subject, through their management teams, to the banks' influence. In the United States investment bankers played the role of market makers by underwriting securities for companies that they could monitor and influence through interlocking boards of directors. German banks also played an important role as intermediaries between investors and companies, purchasing stocks (and bonds) of German corporations in blocks and then selling them to their accountholders through a system of intrabank trading.

Type
Chapter
Information
Experiments in Financial Democracy
Corporate Governance and Financial Development in Brazil, 1882–1950
, pp. 186 - 214
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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