Lecture 15: Investment Banking and
Glass-Steagall Act 1933
• The modern concept of “Investment Bank” was
created in the Glass-Steagall act (Banking Act of
1933). Glass Steagall separated commercial banks,
investment banks, and insurance companies.
• Carter Glass, Senator from Virginia, believed that
commercial banks securities operations had
contributed to the crash of 1929, that banks failed
because of their securities operations, and that
commercial banks used their knowledge as lenders
to do insider trading of securities.
• Bulge bracket firms: First Boston, Goldman
Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley,
Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers.
• Traditionally were often partnerships, but
partnership form is disappearing.
Controversy over Glass Steagall
• Prof. George Benston showed that
unregulated banks have lower failure rate.
• Other countries (Germany, Switzerland)
have always allowed universal banking
• In 1990s, regulators nibbled away at Glass
Steagall by allowing commercial banks to
engage in certain securities operations
Graham-Leach Act 1999
• President Clinton November 1999 signs
Graham-Leach Bill which rescinded the
Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
• Consumer groups fought repeal of GlassSteagall saying it would reduce privacy.
Graham-Leach calls for a study of the
issues of financial privacy
Mergers among Commercial
Banks, Investment Banks &
Travelers’ Group (insurance) and Citicorp
(commercial bank) 1998 to produce Citigroup, on
anticipation that Glass-Steagall would be
rescinded. Brokerage Smith Barney
• Chase Manhattan Bank (commercial bank)
acquires JP Morgan (investment bank) (2000) for
• UBS Switzerland buys Paine Webber (brokerage)
• Credit Suisse buys Donaldson Lufkin Jenrette
(investment bank) 2000
Underwriting of Securities
• Issuance of shares and corporate debt
• Seasoned issue versus IPO
• Underwriter provides advice for issuer,
distribution of securities, sharing of risks of
issue, and stabilization of aftermarket.
• Underwriter also “certifies” the issue by
putting its reputation behind the issue.
Moral Hazard Problem Mitigated
by Investment Banks
• Firms have incentive to issue shares when they
know their earnings are only temporarily high.
• This problem can be “solved” by resorting to bank
loans instead of new equity
• Problem can also be solved by issuing security
with an investment bank that has a reputation to
• Studies show that investment banks that
repeatedly underprice or overprice issues suffer a
market share loss afterwards.
Two Basic Kinds of Offerings
• Bought deal (synonym: Firm commitment
offering): The underwriter agrees to buy all
shares that are not sold
• Best efforts: the underwriter says that if the
issue is not sold, deal collapses.
The Underwriting Process I
• Prefiling period
• Advise issuers about their choices
• Agreement among underwriters, designates
• Filing of registration statement with SEC,
begins cooling-off period
• Cooling off period – distribute preliminary
prospectus (red herring), nothing else
The Underwriting Process II
• Call prospective clients for indication of interest
• Due diligence meeting between underwriter and
• Decide on offering price,
• underwriting agreement, which underwriter sells
• Dealer agreement, dealers purchase from
underwriters at a discount from public price
• Effective date
• Support the price in the aftermarket
• A form of market manipulation by the
underwriter near the time of the issue that is
permitted by the SEC
• Underwriting syndicate legally allowed to
conspire to “fix” prices in market until
entire issue is sold out
From a 1929 Textbook on
“In floating any new issues of securities,
therefore, the seller desires to have
conditions so shaped that the price of the
issue will remain stable, or perhaps it will
rise slightly, during the period in which the
securities are being absorbed by the market.
. .establishing a favorable psychological
attitude of investors. . The term manipulated
market is not altogether a misnomer.”
• Newspaper announcements of securities’ issues, listing
• Why called tombstones? Origin of term forgotten.
• The only kind of ad allowed during cooling-off period
• Cross between birth announcement and obituary.
Tombstones appear after the securities have already been
sold, but of course they are now on the market.
• Investment bankers love to read them
Variations on the Usual
• Auction Process (competitive bidding
underwriting) various syndicates bid on the issue
• Preemptive rights offering: existing shareholders
have rights to buy issue below market value
• Directly Public Offering (DPO): Company itself
sells its securities directly to public, usually over
the web. Small firms. Example: Internet Ventures,
a web service provider, raised $3.8 million in 1998
by advertising the securities to its customers on
• Sold only to “sophisticated” investors, exempt
from SEC registration.
• Regulation D: Private issues cannot be advertised,
defines sophisticated investors
• SEC has provided that privately placed securities
cannot be sold for two years after purchase.
• SEC Rule 144a April 1990 eliminates two-year
holding period for institutions with over $100
million in the security
Initial Public Offerings
• Price tends to jump up immediately after an
IPO is issued.
• Apparently leave money upon the table
Poor Long-Run Performance of
• Jay Ritter, Journal of Finance, 1991
• Although average IPO earns a +16% return
on the first day, this return tends to be offset
over the next three years.
Why This Performance of IPOs?
• Impressario Hypothesis: analogy to sellers
of tickets to concerts
Survey of IPO Investors
• “Do you think that investors expect
reputable underwriters to take some account
of true investment value in deciding the
offering price in an IPO, rather than just the
price the market will bear on the day of the
Survey of IPO Investors
• Have you done any calculations of what the
true fundamental value of a share in the
company was, and compared the price of a
share with this value?
– 80% no.