Monday, March 31, 2008

A Recent Book on Investment Banking by Alan D. Morrison and William J. Wilhelm, Jr.

Investment Banking
Institutions, Politics, and Law Alan D. Morrison and William J. Wilhelm, Jr.
ISBN13: 9780199296576
ISBN10: 019929657X
Oxford University Press
Hardback, 360 pages Feb 2007,

Investment Banking: Institutions, Politics, and Law provides an economic rationale for the dominant role of investment banks in the capital markets, and uses it to explain both the historical evolution of the investment banking industry and also recent changes to its organization. Although investment decisions rely upon price-relevant information, it is impossible to establish property rights over it and hence it is very hard to coordinate its exchange. The authors argue that investment banks help to resolve this problem by managing "information marketplaces," within which extra-legal institutions support the production and dissemination of information that is important to investors. Reputations and relationships are more important in fulfilling this role than financial capital.

The authors substantiate their theory with reference to the industry's evolution during the last three centuries. They show how investment banking networks were formed, and identify the informal contracts that they supported. This historical development points to tensions between the relational contracting of investment banks and the regulatory impulses of the State, thus providing some explanation for the periodic large-scale State intervention in the operation of capital markets. Their theory also provides a technological explanation for the massive restructuring of the capital markets in recent decades, which the authors argue can be used to think about the likely future direction of the investment banking industry. Reviews
"Anyone hoping to understand investment banking must read Morrison and Wilhelm's book. Drawing up centuries of rich history, they advance a theory of investment banking that is relevant today for business people, regulators and scholars. "--Peter Tufano, Slyvan C. Coleman Professor of Financial Management, Harvard Business School

"This book fills an important gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive coverage of the investment banking industry. It is an outstanding contribution by two experts in the field."--Franklin Allen, Nippon Life Professor of Finance and Economics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

"A fascinating look at the investment banking industry from an historical and legal perspecive. It provides the reader with countless insights into the workings of one of the most powerful forces inthe global economy today."--James Harris, Founder, Seneca Financial Group

"Morrison & Wilhelm offer the most compelling explanation yet of the investment banking industry, from its unlikely emergence from the commodities market in the seventeenth century to the investment banks' recent shift from the partnership to he corporate form. Drawing on the insights of institutional economics, they show how investment banks function as information intermediaries in a wide range of market transactions. Vivid and meticulously researched, the book takes us inside the mysterious world of investment banking and shows what makes it tick. It is an intellectual masterpiece, destined to become a classic."--David Skeel, S. Samuel Arsht Professor of Corporate Law, University of Pennsylvania

"This is a good, interesting, and useful book. ...The book's wide appeal derives from how it goes about studying its subject, as well as from the interest of the subject itself. ...The authors 'develop an economic rationale for investment bankers'. In other words, they develop an economic explanation of why they exist - they discover what it is that they contribute to the functioning of a market economy. ...Every chapter is worth reading...The authors have combined economic analysis, economic history, and knowledge of law in a short and readable book. They are to be congratulated. I await their next publication with eager anticipation."--Geoffrey Wood, for Economic Affairs
Product Details
360 pages; 21 figures, 15 tables;

Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Institutional Theory
3. An Institutional Theory of Investment Banking
4. Investment Banking Origins
5. The Rise of the Investment Bank
6. Investment Banking in the Age of Laissez-Faire
7. Leviathan and the Investment Banks
8. The Modern Industrial Revolution
9. Inside the Investment Bank
10. What Next?

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